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Women & the American Civil War

A guide to primary and secondary sources on the topic of Women and the American Civil War, with a focus on women in Maryland.

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are usually defind as first hand information or data that is generated by witnesses or participants in past events.  Primary sources are characterized not by their format but rather by the information they convey and their relationship to the research question.  They include letters, diaries, journals, newspapers, photos and other immediate accounts. The interpretation and evaluation of these sources becomes the basis for research.  These materials are often located in the Special Collections of a library, rather than in the general collection. On this page, you will find some primary sources available to you about Women and the Civil War.

To learn more about primary sources, including how to cite sources, visit the tutorial, Research Using Primary Sources.

Examples of Relevant Primary Sources

Archives and Manuscripts

Archives and manuscripts include unpublished diaries, correspondence, financial records, and other materials "created or received by a person, family, or ogranization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs." (SAA glossary)  Click the link above to learn more about the specific Civil War-related archives and manuscripts sources available at the University of Maryland. 

Personal Narratives

Published personal narratives can also be considered primary sources.  To find personal narratives of the Civil War available at the University of Maryland, go to the library catalog, select "Subject Beginning With..." in the drop-down menu, and type in:

  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives

Historical newspapers are a rich primary source that can be used to investigate social and political information about the past. Click the link above to learn more about the specific Civil War-related historical newspapers and periodicials available at the University of Maryland. 

    For assistance locating other primary sources related to women and the Civil War, please visit the Maryland Room, or contact us with your specific questions.