Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wendy Venet

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Young


The topic of the American Civil War is one that has long been studied by historians. This thesis looks to the often forgotten home front and explores the dynamic changes the elite women of the Lower South faced from the antebellum to the post bellum era. Through the exploration of diaries, journals, memoirs, and newspapers from the mid to late nineteenth century, the changing roles and responsibilities of the elite women during this time period are further explored. The stories of the elite women add to the overall history of the nineteenth century Lower South and allow the reader to understand these women through a different lens. While considered wealthy and unaffected by the Civil War, the primary accounts of these women illustrate just how much their lives were changed because of the war and how they continued to change once the war was over.