On April 27, join HSP and author Cokie Roberts to discuss her new book, Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868, as she explores the wives, sisters, and female friends of the men leading America into, and through, the Civil War.
As a result of the conflict, these “belles” of Washington society blossomed into suffragists, journalists, social activists, and philanthropists, engaging with the issues of the day on their own terms and transforming a sleepy Southern city into a place of power and action.
Books will be available for sale after the lecture.
Tickets are FREE for members of HSP and The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, $15 for nonmembers.
About Capital Dames: Roberts commemorates these remarkable women and their achievements in a riveting narrative that, drawing heavily on their intimate and professional correspondence, brings them to life in their own words, and tracks them through the newspaper accounts at the time. Against the dramatic backdrop of the Douglas–Lincoln debates, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and costly battlefield confrontations, she delves deeper into the contributions and legacies of familiar figures like nurse Clara Barton, the seamstress and social activist, former slave Elizabeth Keckley, and First Ladies Harriet Lane and Mary Todd Lincoln, painting a colorful portrait of their time in rapidly changing Washington.
Into this compelling cast of characters she introduces equally captivating, but lesser-known, women such as fearless propagandist and Constitutional theorist Anna Ella Carroll; the First Lady of the Confederacy, Varina Howell Davis, whose ambivalence towards the war drove her efforts to reconcile leaders of the North and South; and Confederate spy Rose Greenhow, to whom Jefferson Davis credited his success at the First Battle of Bull Run.
With a lifetime of experience in the thick of Washington politics and a deep and abiding interest in the role women have played in American history, Roberts has a singular perspective and is perfectly placed to reassess the importance of women in shaping our country. In her unfailingly erudite yet conversational and lively style, she celebrates her cast—some two dozen strong—of “sometimes fierce, sometimes funny, and almost always formidable women.
About Cokie Roberts: Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming, as well as for NPR. From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting.
In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Ms. Roberts, along with her husband, Steve Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country. Together they wrote From This Day Forward, an account of their more than forty year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto the New York Times Bestseller list, following Cokie Roberts’ number one bestseller, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, an account of women’s roles and relationships throughout American history. Her later books, Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty (published in 2004 and 2008 respectively), also became instant bestsellers.
Cokie Roberts holds more than twenty honorary degrees, serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions, and on the President’s Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008, the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.
This program is sponsored by The Museum of the American Revolution, National Constitution Center, and The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.