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Caroline Howard Gilman, 1794-1888
Recollections of a Southern Matron
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1838.


Caroline Howard was born in Boston in 1794. After both parents died, Caroline went to live with relatives in various towns across Massachusetts. She married Reverend Samuel Gilman in 1819, and the newlyweds moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where Mr. Gilman had accepted the pastorate of the Unitarian Church. In 1832, Caroline Gilman began publishing the Rose-Bud, a children's magazine. The Rose- Bud grew to national prominence and soon became an adult publication renamed the Southern Rose, which included works by prominent authors such as Harriet Martineau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In addition to her work as an editor, she authored novels, poetry, and memoirs. She died in Washington, D.C. in 1888.

Recollections of a Southern Matron (1836) is a companion to Gilman's earlier novel, Recollections of a Housekeeper (1835). In each work, Gilman fictionalizes her observations about a region's culture and women's daily life. Gilman insists Recollections of a Southern Matron is based on fact, with the exception of the love story between Anna and Arthur. Each chapter focuses on some important aspect of southern family life: the slaves' faithfulness, white perceptions of slave superstitions, southern education, religion and funerals, and the courtship of southern gentry.

Works Consulted: Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999; Jones, Katherine M., Heroines of Dixie: Confederate Women Tell Their Story of the War, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1955.

Harris Henderson

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