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Letitia M. Burwell, William A. McCullough, and Jules Turcas
A Girl's Life in Virginia Before the War
New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, c1895.


Letitia M. Burwell was born on a plantation in Virginia and spent most of her life in the rural regions of that state. Her book, A Girl's life in Virginia Before the War (1895), records her memories of the antebellum South. Burwell's descriptions of life on the plantation are filled with pastoral scenes of a wealthy Virginia family engaged in the daily pleasures of their time. Burwell recalls tales and stories passed down from neighbors and family members that she feels epitomize the quality of life in the South. She tells of social dances, food, the relationships that her family had with their slaves, and life among family members. She also recounts housing conditions in other regions of Virginia. She defends the South against the criticisms by outside observers. Burwell also observes that in some ways life in the antebellum South, even for slaves, was better than life in many parts of England, France, and the rest of the world.

Harris Henderson

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