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An Identity in Transit: From “True Woman” to “Southern Lady”

  • Rebecca J. Fraser
Chapter
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Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Raised in a household immersed in the nineteenth century world of gentility and refinement in the Northeast, Sarah’s gendered identity had been shaped by the social and cultural changes after the Revolutionary period in this region. Her relocation to Clifton Grove, however, implied a cultural reimagining of her sense of self as a woman. Yet this was not so much about sectional differences in relation to understandings of the feminine ideal. The shift of identity in Sarah Hicks Williams’ life from young woman to that of wife occasioned a period of transition as she adjusted to new roles, responsibilities and expectations, implicit in understandings of what it meant to be a married woman drawn from the higher echelons of society in the antebellum world. As Sarah adjusted to life as a married woman she shared many of the concerns common to young women from her class on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. The two regions shared a common language over what constituted archetypal womanhood for married women in this period, and yet the existence of two very different economic systems meant that subtle nuances marked the shape and nature of such ideals.

Keywords

Nineteenth Century Married Woman Domestic Economy Female Education Negro Girl 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Rebecca J. Fraser 2013

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  • Rebecca J. Fraser

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