My Ever Dear Daughter, My Own Dear Mother
“Captivating and compelling, this collection of letters chronicles the relationship between a mother and daughter by providing detailed descriptions of their daily activities and insights into their attitudes toward themselves, one another, and others. Katherine Morgan's comments about her own responses to the letters add substantially to the book's content.”—Suzanne L. Bunkers, author of In Search of Susanna
“…a remarkable chronicle of the extraordinary correspondence between a mother and daughter during the American Civil War. In recovering these letters, Morgan has provided a valuable resource from which to reassess women's participation in the public as well as private spheres of nineteenth-century American culture. Her introduction and notes effectively situate the letters within their historical context and offer particularly insightful commentary on the rich detail of the correspondence. My Ever Dear Daughter, My Own Dear Mother is an important contribution to scholarship on the emergence of the teaching profession and urban public schools in the United States. It should be read by students and scholars of American social and educational history and by all those interested in understanding the multifaceted lives of women in the nineteenth century.”—Susan Douglas Franzosa, University of New Hampshire
In 1868 twenty-two-year-old Mary Julia Towne left her farm in Topsfield, Massachusetts, for Chicago in search of better health and an opportunity to support herself. Soon she was teaching, first in night school and then in grammar schools, finding satisfaction and independence in this profession. Over the next fourteen years she wrote home to her mother, Julia Stone Towne; these letters and Julia's letters back to her—the only published collection of sustained correspondence between a nineteenth-century American mother and daughter—create a deep and rich world filled with the ideas, affection, advice, and comfort that each woman gave to the other. Now, more than a hundred years later, Julia and Mary Towne give us new insights into the complexities of life of women in the nineteenth century, into both the interdependence and the autonomy of mothers and daughters, and into the links between their lives and ours.