Women and Gender Seminar: Caroline Janney, Purdue University

Women and Gender Seminar
Friday, May 9, 2008

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

“ ‘One of the Best Loved, North and South’: The Appropriation of National Reconciliation by LaSalle Corbell Pickett”
Caroline Janney, Purdue University
In recent years, scholars have acknowledged that LaSalle Pickett was largely responsible for transforming her husband’s reputation from that of an incompetent officer into that of a Confederate hero. This perspective, however, has led many to overlook LaSalle’s most important role: as a central figure in the larger narrative of national reconciliation in the years after the Civil War. In straddling the worlds of the federal bureaucracy, literature, stage performances, and veteran reunion culture, Pickett simultaneously contributed to both national reconciliation and the Lost Cause. She did so, however, primarily to maintain her own financial and social independence. She thus served as a rare and perhaps the only female example of a middle-ground between Lost Cause advocates and reconciliationists.