Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



In high school and college most of my study in the Civil War period centered in the great battles, generals, political figures, and national events that marked the American scene between 1861 and 1865. Because the courses were of a broad survey type, it would have been presumptuous to expect any special attention to such issues as the role of women in the war. However, a probe of the more common or personal aspects of the "era of conflict" provides a deeper insight of the era as well as more knowledge. For this reason I have examined the work of the women of New York City during the Civil War. In collecting materials for my study, I found little available on the activity of women during the war. Even those groups closely associated with Civil War research have not yet synthesized their collections relating to women's efforts. For example, James I. Robertson, executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission, answered my query for information by saying that his group is just now in the process of formulating a booklet commemorating women's war work. Enoch Squires, research associate for the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission, replied that the facets of Civil War history his organization has investigated do not include the role of New York women in the war. A thorough review of the files of the New York Daily Times from 1861 to 1864 furnished the bulk of the information about women's relief efforts. Diary of a Union Lady 1861-1865, edited by Harold Hammond and published in 1962, helped me set the stage for New York women's activity. The author, Maria Lydig Daly, was the wife of Judge Charles Daly of New York City. Mrs. Daly wrote about life in New York City, the activities of its upper class, _and the impact of the war on the city. The diary contains references to the work of New York women in the war, the Sanitary Commission, and the celebrated Sanitary Fair.

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