Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Margaret Mulrooney

Philip Herrington

Kristen McCleary


In the past forty years, scholars and members of the public alike have obsessed over the complex legacy of the American Civil War (1861-1865). As debates over Confederate monuments and the United States’ racial past have frequently emerged in politics, many Americans have disagreed as to how the Civil War should be remembered. In examining the evolution of Civil War memory in American society, numerous scholars have noted the important role that women’s organizations played in influencing the Civil War’s collective memory in the fifty years following the conflict. However, while scholars have noted the significance of these organizations for Civil War memory, they have been less likely to explore the significance that these organizations had for women.

This thesis fills a gap in contemporary scholarship by examining three women’s organizations that commemorated the Civil War in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rather than just exploring the impacts that these organizations had on Civil War memory, this thesis examines the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC), the National Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War (NAAN), and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) as influential organizations that worked for the benefit of white women and contributed to their advancement by ultimately expanding their opportunities and influence. From lobbying the federal government for pensions for former Union army nurses to supporting the higher education of southern women through scholarships and college funding, the WRC, the NAAN, and the UDC worked for the direct benefit and advancement of white women in a time when many women were still bound by traditional gender roles.

Available for download on Friday, May 03, 2024