Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Kelly Richardson

Committee Member

Dr. Gloria Jones

Committee Member

Dr. Gregg Hecimovich


Through the examination of primary texts, along with appropriate secondary criticism, I argue that Southern women during the Civil War were not the mythological “Southern Belle” that they have often been portrayed as, but that they were intelligent, strong, and passionate writers. I examine the farm journal of Emily Jane Liles Harris and contrast it to the private journal kept by Mary Boykin Chesnut, to explore the role that education and literacy, writing, and authorial voice played in women’s lives during the War. Close attention to the role education and background played in the lives of these women, the uniqueness of their writing, and the level of agency of each woman will help scholars better understand life during this difficult time period. Finally, readers are given an insight (through the examination of primary texts) into the important role that journals, as a genre, play in the literary canon.