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A Southern Woman's Story
by Phoebe Yates Pember
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From Library Journal
This volume launches the press's new "American Civil War Classics" series. First published in 1879, the book recalls Pember's years as a matron at the Confederate Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, VA, from 1862 to the city's fall in 1865. Pember, the daughter of a Jewish merchant and a staunch supporter of the Confederacy, here offers a firsthand account of life inside a hospital during the conflict.
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Phoebe Yates Pember's A Southern Woman's Story is the inaugural volume in the University of South Carolina Press's new paperback series, American Civil War Classics. First published in 1879, the book chronicles Phoebe Pember's experiences as matron of the Confederate Chimborazo Hospital from November 1862 until the fall of Richmond in April 1865. Long an important source in Confederate history, A Southern Woman's Story is also a valuable book for students and scholars of women's history and the social history of the Civil War.
In many ways Phoebe Yates Pember (18231913) was a representative upper-class gentlewoman. Daughter of a Jewish merchant of Charleston who moved his family to Savannah in the 1850s, she sought ways to help the Southern causebut she broke all stereotypes by the character and length of her service.
Widowed and childless in 1861, Pember took the post of matron at the Confederate Army's Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She labored there throughout the war and in 1879 recorded her experiences in A Southern Woman's Story. No dilettante's romance or saccharine Lost Cause tale, it is a remarkably frank treatment of Confederate social and medical history. Pember reports on the gossip and scandals from inside the Confederacy's largest hospital and the embattled city of Richmond, presenting bureaucratic personalities and stock characters with insight and occasional flashes of humor.
Pember was honored by Confederate veterans' organizations in her later years, and in 1995 her portrait appeared on a U.S. Postal Service Civil War commemorative stamp.
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