Newspaper Excerpts

Period Thoughts on the Feminine Topic From the Local Newspapers

From the Monroe Monitor, Wednesday. January 28, 1863

Place her among flowers, foster her as a tender plant, and she is a thing of fancy, waywardness and sometimes folly- annoyed by a dewdrop, fretted by the touch of a butterfly’s wing, and ready to faint at the rustle of a beatle; the zephyrs are too rough, the showers too heavy, and she is overpowered by the perfumed (sic) of a rosebud. But let real calamity come rouse her affections, enkindle the fires of her heart, and mark her then; how her heart strengthens itself- how strong is her purpose (sic). Place her in the heat of battle- give her a child, a bird- anything she loves or pities, to protect- and see her in a relative instance, raising her white arms as a shield, as her own blood crimsons her upturned forehead, praying for life to protect the helpless.

Transplant her in the dark places of earth awaken her energies to action, and her breath becomes a healing, her presence a blessing. She disputes, inch by inch, the stride of the pestilence, when man, the strong and brave, shrinks away pale and a frighted, Misfortune haunts her not; she wears away a life of silent endurance, and goes forward with less timidity than to her bridal.

In prosperity she is a bud full of odors, waiting but for the winds of adversity to scatter them abroad- pure gold, valuable, but untried in the furnace. In short, woman is a miracle- a mystery the center from which radistes (sic) the great charm of existence.

From the Monroe Monitor, Wednesday. September 23, 1863

While the newspapers of the day have been filled to overflowing with paeans sung over the brave deeds of men, on the battle-field and elsewhere, little has been said or sung of woman, her self sacrifices, her devotion to the Union, and the losses she has been compelled to undergo.

Man upon the battle-field dies like the flash of the gun, and is immortalized. Woman remains at home to watch and wait and weep. It is a sharp, short pang, and all is over with man. He goes to claim his reward.

It is a life-time for mournful remembrance with woman, a ceaseless lament over the fate against which she is helpless.

No one ever blamed Venus for loving Mars, and we take it, it comes as natural for a woman to love a soldier as to breathe. Consequently, we hear of woman in vivandieres, or woman accompanying their husbands, of maids arraying themselves in the rough, masculine garb of war that they may follow their lovers, of women hovering, like ministering angels about the cots of dying soldiers, of Sisters of Charity and Florence Nightengales.

Difference of Entail?

When I lost my wife,” says a French writer, “every family in the town offered me another; but when I lost my horse, no one offered to make him good.”

From the Monroe Monitor, September 30, 1863

Effects of Tight Lacing

By this practice the lungs and heart are forced up toward the throat; the stomach, liver and other organs, jammed down far into the abdomen; labored respiration and numerous abdominal abnormalities are the consequence. But, the votaries of fashion declare, that notwithstanding these shocking deformities and sufferings, that they regard the female form in the hourglass shape as really beautiful.

A few years ago this monstrous perversion of taste was well nigh universal. With sincere gratitude, we observe it is now gradually disappearing. This contraction of the middle of the body, by changing the position of the lungs, heart, liver, stomach, and every other organ within the body, not only seriously interferes with their functional integrity but almost invariably produces a distortion of the spine. It is impossible to reduce the size of the waist by pressure to any considerable extent, and not draw the shoulders forward and downward, producing, of course, a change in the spine. I believe that among the thousands of wasp-waists that have fallen under by observation, I have not seen ten who did not habitually carry the spine and head in an unnatural attitude. Besides this, the influence upon the organs in the lower part of the abdomen furnishes the medical profession nearly half its business.

Comments on Christmas a Few Years After the War

From the Monroe Commercial, December 31, 1868

Christmas and New Year- We hope and presume also that the usual number of turkeys were eaten, a greater number than ever of little tokens or remembrance presented to friends, and a still greater number of children made glad and happy.

The Christmas time, of all seasons of the year, is and ought to be looked forward to by all as a time of peace, harmony, tranquility and general enjoyment. By the children it is looked forward to with eager delight as a time when they are to be made happy in possession of much-coveted toys, and in a general feast of the Christmas goodies. By persons of mature years it is regarded as an appropriate time for the exchange of little tokens of friendship and affection, as well as a time to make the children happy. It is well that we have a National Festival, and it should be a time, also to lay aside all enmity and ill will, to banish from the heart all hatred and animosity. What better time for this than the Christmas time, which we celebrate as the time of the birth of our Savior, and just before entering upon the untried scenes of a new year- a year which will bring you, you know not what. Possibly it may bring trials, suffering, or death to some of us, but let us hope its days will be filled with peace, prosperity and happiness. What better time to be at peace with all the World, as we review the waning year and make our resolves for the new one about to be ushered in. Perhaps some of us accomplished much that is good in the year just closing, but if we have, let us resolve to accomplish still more in the year to come- more that is noble and praiseworthy- for all that we can do seems far too little, and time flies with tireless wing, soon carrying us beyond the possibility of doing either good or ill in this world. And, whatever we have or have not accomplished in the past, let us all resolve that the year 1869 shall not pass without our doing some genuine good to such of our fellow beings as opportunity and circumstances may enable us to do, and let us be up and doing without delay, for another Christmas and another New Year will be upon us in little more than a twinkle.