Book features women’s perspectives on slavery, the Civil War, pioneering
Students in the department of English at Missouri State University have partnered with The History Museum for Springfield-Greene County to publish “Confederate Girlhoods: A Women’s History of Early Springfield, Missouri.” With the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War approaching, this 480-page book is a timely piece that features the memoirs, creative writing and correspondence of four generations of Campbell women, one of Springfield’s founding families.
“‘Confederate Girlhoods’ began as a modest classroom project that grew steadily over four years,” said Dr. James Baumlin, professor of English and editor of Moon City Press, the publisher of the book. Distributed nationally in consortium with the University of Arkansas Press, Moon City is a collaboration of work from the Missouri State University departments of English and art and design.
The book’s chief editor, Craig Meyer, is a recent graduate of the Missouri State English master’s program, as are fellow editors Amber Luce, Adam Veile and Casey White. Contributors include Missouri State graduates Janell Derryberry, Sarah Detzel, L. L. Fronterhouse, Duane Gilson, Justin Kingery, Annabeth Minx, Daniel Newell, Elspeth Rowley, Liam Watts, Priscilla Wilson and Leah Wright. The book’s layout-designer, Jesse Nickles, is a recent graduate of the Missouri State art and design program. He was assisted by fellow graduate, Ashley Kelsey.
“Moon City Press offers students opportunities to collaborate with faculty over all aspects of publication: research, writing, editing, layout/design, promotion and marketing,” said Baumlin. “This book shows the quality of work our students can produce.”
The book presents women’s experiences of early pioneering, slavery, the Civil War and the war’s aftermath. “‘Confederate Girlhoods’ gathers materials from the Campbell-McCammon Collection, one of the museum’s archival crown jewels,” said Joan Hampton-Porter, curator of The History Museum for Springfield-Greene County. More than a deepened understanding of local history, “readers will gain new insights,” said Hampton-Porter. “This book aims to raise questions and change people’s minds,” particularly regarding race relations and women’s roles in Springfield’s early history.
Hampton-Porter; Cynthia Moore; Jacqueline Bonsee; Robert Neumann, archives coordinator at Greene County Records and Archives; and John P. Campbell, a descendant of the Springfield Campbells, also contributed to the research.
“Confederate Girldhoods” will be featured in a series of public readings beginning Oct. 28. An author signing party will be held Dec. 7 at Missouri State, and a public reading at the Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Ave., is tentatively scheduled for December. The book is also recommended by the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
“Confederate Girlhoods” will be sold locally at the Missouri State University Bookstore, The History Museum for Springfield-Greene County, and Borders Books and Music. It is priced at $24.95 and will be available in mid-November.