Advocate for the Soldiers' Home for Civil War Veterans

For several years before the Civil War, Delphine Baker devoted herself to the advancement of women. She had no connection with the Women's Rights Movement, but advocated for better education for women. To that end, she traveled in many of the western states, giving lectures and influencing the public mind.

Delphine Baker was born in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, in 1828, and she lived in New England during her early youth. Her …Read More...

Civil War Nurse from Pennsylvania

At the outbreak of hostilities, Lydia Parrish was living at Media, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. Her husband, Dr. Joseph Parrish, was in charge of an institution for mental patients there. Lydia was one of the first women to volunteer her services on behalf of sick and wounded Union soldiers. She visited Washington, DC while the army was still in the area. Dr. Parrish had become connected with the newly organized U.S. Sanitary Commission, and Lydia worked …Read More...

Civil War Nurse

Helen Louise Gilson was a native of Boston, but moved in childhood to Chelsea, Massachusetts. She was the niece of the Honorable Frank B. Fay, former Mayor of Chelsea, and she was his ward. Mr. Fay took an active interest in the Union cause during the Civil War, devoting his time, his wealth and his personal efforts to the welfare of the soldiers.

Image: Civil War Field Hospital

Beginning in the autumn of 1861, Gilson's uncle Frank …Read More...

African American Abolitionist and Teacher

Sarah Mapps Douglass was born in Philadelphia on September 9, 1806, the daughter of renowned abolitionists Robert Douglass, Sr. and Grace Bustill Douglass. Like many prosperous families, the Douglasses educated Sarah and her brother Robert at home with private tutors.

Image: Sarah Mapps Douglass: Faithful Attender of Quaker Meeting: View from the Back Bench by Margaret Hope Bacon

Sarah's grandfather, Cyrus Bustill, was a member of the Free African Society, the first African American charity …Read More...

Civil War Nurse in Virginia

Susan and Charles Blackford agreed when Charles went to war that they would keep all letters that passed between them. Charles wrote home as often as possible, eager to preserve as much of his experiences as he could, realizing that impressions faded quickly. Susan recorded the events on the Virginia home front.

Susan Leigh Colston was born in 1835 to one of Virginia's first families, and she married the distinguished Charles Minor Blackford, a Virginia …Read More...

Civil War Nurse in Virginia

Phoebe Yates Levy was born on August 18, 1823. She was the fourth of six daughters of a prosperous and socially prominent Jewish family in Charleston, South Carolina. Her father was a successful merchant and her mother was a popular actress.

Members of Phoebe's family were quite active in public life during the war. Her sister Eugenia Levy Phillips, a Confederate spy, was banished to an island. Her brother Samuel was the highest ranking Jewish …Read More...