Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South: Southern Jewish Women and Identity in the Antebellum and Civil War South

Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South: Southern Jewish Women and Identity in the Antebellum and Civil War South


Jennifer A. Stollman

ISBN: 9781618112064 (hardcover)
Pages: 220 pp.
Publication Date: May 2013

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Daughters of Israel, Daughters of the South: Southern Jewish Women and Identity in the Antebellum and Civil War South examines southern Jewish womanhood during the Antebellum and Civil War Eras. This study finds that in the Protestant South southern Jewish women created and maintained unique American Jewish identities through their efforts in education, writing, religious observance, paid and unpaid labor, and relationships with whites and African-American slaves This book examines how these women creatively fought proselytization, challenged anti-Semitism, maintained a distinctive southern Judaism, promoted their own status and legitimacy as southerners, and worked diligently as Confederate ambassadors.

Jennifer A. Stollman  (PhD Michigan State University) is an associate professor in the Department of History and the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Her recent publications include “The Civil War and Immigration” in The Civil War in American Life and Culture: A Social History with Documents, edited by Zoe Trodd and Alex Kent Williamson and “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword: Southern Jewish Female Writers Contest Anti-Semitism and Promote Domestic Judaism” in Jewish Roots in Southern Soil: A New History of Jewish Life in the American South, edited by Marcie Ferris and Mark Greenberg.

Stollman has written what may be the first monograph exclusively focused on Jewish women in the antebellum South. Arguing that Jewish women in this region encountered particular pressures, including a powerful undercurrent of anti-Semitism that she contends other historians have underplayed, Stollman focuses on their efforts to defend and advance their identities as Jews and as Southerners. The author challenges what she describes as the regnant declension narrative that emphasizes religious and cultural assimilation among Southern Jewish women. . . . two chapters in particular present fresh perspectives: one on the relationship between Jewish women and slaves, and another on their voluntarism during the Civil War.
— A. Mendelsohn, College of Charleston, in CHOICE, November 2013
. . . Stollman’s impressive command of the existing primary sources and secondary literature. . . offer[s] an intriguing addition to the historiography of the (upper-class) Jewish American experience before 1865. Stollman clearly shows that Judaism remained a part of her subjects’ private—and sometimes public—lives in the antebellum South.
— Anders Bo Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark, in American Studies, Vol. 53, no. 2

Table of Contents


Partially Hidden, Muffled, and Caricatured: Antebellum Southern Jewish Women’s History

Chapter One
“In the Eye of the Storm”: Fighting Proselytization through Religious Conviction
Chapter Two
A Race Between Education and Catastrophe: Antebellum Southern Jewish Female Education
Chapter Three
“The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”: Southern Jewish Female Writers Question Anti-Semitism and Promote Domestic Judaism
Chapter Four
“Relationships in Bondage”: Antebellum Southern Jewish Women and their Relationships with Enslaved African-Americans
Chapter Five
“An Ardent Attachment to my Birth”: Civil War-era Southern Jewish Women as Confederate Ambassadors