Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Massachusetts Women's Home Front Letters, 1863-1864

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: Massachusetts Women's Home Front letters
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1863-1864
Extent: 12 items
Abstract:
This collection contains 12 letters that a woman named Emma received from female friends and family members during the Civil War. Emma's correspondents commented on their social lives on the home front and discussed the increasing toll the war began to take on their male acquaintances, particularly with regard to conscription.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2010. M-4821.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Massachusetts Women's Home Front Letters, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


History

Though most of the fighting during the Civil War took place on Confederate soil, residents throughout both the Union and the Confederacy were touched by the conflict. Women saw brothers and other male acquaintances go off to war, most notably after the introduction of conscription in the North in 1862. Renewed calls for a draft appeared in 1863 and 1864, though service could often be evaded by purchasing a substitute or by paying a $300 commutation fee. Despite facing hardships and the absence of many men of fighting age, women continued their social engagements and lived their daily lives with as much normalcy as possible in the circumstances.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 12 letters that a woman named Emma received from female friends and family members during the Civil War. Emma's correspondents commented on their social lives on the home front and discussed the increasing toll the war began to take on their male acquaintances, particularly with regard to conscription.

Nettie Hodgkins of Lock's Village, Massachusetts, was Emma's most frequently correspondent, a childhood friend who often addressed Emma as "Amy." Other writers included a cousin and sister. The letters sometimes have lists of mutual acquaintances who were drafted or otherwise involved with the military, including Emma's brothers, and occasionally refer to soldiers' deaths. One writer lamented the draft's "sad work" (July 21, 1863), and a woman named Esther described the death of her friend Sarah from a fever (December 17, 1864).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Draft--United States.
    • Massachusetts--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women.
    • United States--Social life and customs--1783-1865.
    Contributors:
    • Hodgkins, Nettie.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   94, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Massachusetts Women's Home Front letters [series]
    Folder   7  
     January 26, 1863-April 22, 1864
    Folder   8  
     July 10, 1864-December 17, 1864, and  undated