Women in the American Civil War

by Lisa Tendrich Frank, Editor


Except for those named Harriet—Tubman and Beecher Stowe, to be precise—women are invisible in Civil War history. The traditional treatment focuses on the men who directed and fought the war. This encyclopedia lifts the curtain on the untold stories of women as warriors, spies, fundraisers, and propagandists—the whole range of war-related activity.

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Cover image for Women in the American Civil War

December 2007


Pages 631
Volumes 2
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Women's Studies/General

This fascinating work tells the untold story of the role of women in the Civil War, from battlefield to home front.

Most Americans can name famous generals and notable battles from the Civil War. With rare exception, they know neither the women of that war nor their part in it. Yet, as this encyclopedia demonstrates, women played a critical role. The book's 400 A–Z entries focus on specific people, organizations, issues, and battles, and a dozen contextual essays provide detailed information about the social, political, and family issues that shaped women's lives during the Civil War era.

Women in the American Civil War satisfies a growing interest in this topic. Readers will learn how the Civil War became a vehicle for expanding the role of women in society. Representing the work of more than 100 scholars, this book treats in depth all aspects of the previously untold story of women in the Civil War.


  • 400 A–Z entries provide details on individuals, organizations, battles, and women's roles in events of the Civil War
  • 12 contextual essays cover all aspects of life for women, North and South, slave and free, in the years immediately before, during, and after the Civil War
  • Original documents, including letters and diaries, personalize and bring to life historical information
  • A detailed chronology of Civil War events highlights those particularly affecting women
  • Includes an exhaustive bibliography of primary and secondary sources


  • By far the most comprehensive resource in an area of growing interest at all academic levels
  • Explores issues of the home front and battlefield, and demonstrates the interconnectedness of the two
  • Focuses on the study of women in the Civil War, a field long considered as belonging to military men and elected male politicians
  • Demonstrates how women were an integral component of every aspect of the Civil War
Author Info

Lisa Tendrich Frank, PhD, is an independent scholar in Coral Springs, FL. Her published works include numerous articles on Southern women during the American Civil War.



"Thoroughly 'user friendly', Women in the American Civil War is a seminal and important contribution to the growing library of Civil War reference literature and an important, core addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library collections."Midwest Book Review

"An accessible and easy to use reference work that should find a welcome home in both academic and larger public libraries."Against the Grain

"Recommended for academic libraries, especially those specializing in women's studies and Civil War history, and for larger public libraries."Booklist

"Recommended. Academic and public library collections; lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers."Choice

"Recommended for high school, public, and academic libraries."ARBA

"For schools with research projects on women during this time period, this is a solid reference with information beyond most resources on this topic."Library Media Connection

"Lisa Tendrich Frank's ambitious Women in the American Civil War is a well-conceived, richly illustrated encyclopedia, written in clear and concise prose, that I can imagine being put to many uses, from reference source to gift. The work achieves its goals, which are, first, to 'detail the experiences of women during the American Civil War without necessarily glorifying them' -- although there is still a little glorification -- and second, to reveal 'the centrality of the Civil War to the lives of American women and American Society.' [...] The primary source collection is a slam dunk. Here, Frank carefully balances her sources, alternating between South and North, standards and surprises."Journal of Southern History

"One of the most impressive features is the encyclopedia's extensive 28-page bibliography of scholarly books, journal articles, and published primary resources, like diaries and journals. This bibliography is certain to be a useful tool for students, researchers, and educators. While certainly developed with an academic audience in mind, the encyclopedia entries are approachable and are enhanced with many interesting illustrations. Along with the additional features this set offers (e.g., chronology, primary documents), this set may appeal to a wider audience, including general and high school users."ARBA

"Books with substantial content relating to women's roles in our history are hard to come by. Women in the American Civil War is a most welcome addition . . . The text is extremely friendly to the high school reader and I wish I had this set years ago! An important addition to any high school collection with a strong history focus."Pennsylvania School Librarians Association

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