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Janet Lee Coryell
Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5200)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 8/31/2011

"I Could Tell You Much": The Letters of Anna and Emily Howe, 1836-1885

This grant will help me finish an edition of correspondence between Emily Howe, her sisters Anna and Sarah, and her mother Lucinda. These letters provide a wealth of material for scholars in three areas. They shed light on women's private lives, particularly in antebellum Virginia. They illuminate the nature of slaveholding households, as Emily married a Virginia planter. The letters exemplify the crisis in sectionalism that led to the Civil War, as slavery, race relations, education, political matters, and family issues share space in these missives. The letters provide a distinctive view of life in Virginia during the antebellum period, in part because the sisters were outsiders from New England at a time when political and cultural sectionalism began to solidify; one can trace the evolution in their opinions on Southern life. These letters shed light on how these sisters bridged two very different cultures, maintaining contact while elucidating the nature of planter society.