My Story of the War


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(CIVIL WAR) LIVERMORE, Mary. My Story of the War: A Woman's Narrative of Four Years of Personal Experience as Nurse in the Union Army. Hartford, Connecticut: A.D. Worthington, 1888. Thick octavo, original red gilt-stamped cloth, decorative endpapers.

First edition of Livermore's influential history of the life-saving efforts of women volunteers and army nurses in the Civil War, with 18 full-page steel-engraved illustrations, including eight striking chromolithographs of Civil War flags, a handsome copy in original gilt-stamped cloth.

"The Civil War marked a milestone in the transformation of nursing from a menial service to a genuine profession" (McPherson, 482-84). Activist, suffragette and abolitionist Mary Livermore brought her experience as a journalist and Union Army nurse to document the work of nurses in My Story of the War. Livermore saw the war as pivotal in convincing her "that women should have legal and political rights for themselves. 'It was not Lucy Stone who converted me to woman suffrage,' she told an audience of woman's rights activists in 1870… 'It was the war… knowing, then, the qualities of woman and her courage and bravery under trials, I can never cease to demand that she shall have just as large as sphere as man has'" (Venet, "Emergence of a Suffragist").

At war's end, Livermore was "elected president of the Illinois Woman Suffrage Association in 1868… [and] launched the Agitator, a suffragist paper, in January 1869. Later in the year she attended the founding convention of the American Woman Suffrage Association in Cleveland, Ohio, and was elected a vice president. In the same year, she moved back east to Melrose to become editor of the Woman's Journal, a new Boston periodical, with which the Agitator merged… She remained active in the suffrage movement, serving as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association from 1875 to 1878 and succeeding Lucy Stone as president of the Massachusetts association from 1893 to 1903" (Encyclopedia Britannica). My Story is a seminal work of "valuable reminiscences" (Nevins II:130). With steel-engraved frontispiece and nine full-page engraved illustrations, along with eight full-page chromolithographs of Civil War flags. Frontispiece with facsimile inscription below portrait. Faint contemporary gift inscription dated year of publication.

Interior quite fresh and bright, only tiny bit of rubbing to very bright cloth, front inner hinge expertly reinforced.

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