Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Jason Phillips

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa Bingmann

Committee Member

Brian Luskey


This thesis explores marriage in the American South through textiles during the Civil War. Chapter One investigates the use of textiles by women to express political support and affection for their loved ones at the start of the war. Chapter Two examines the textiles couples circulated during the war and emphasizes that through the exchange of items, couples maintained an emotional connection. Chapter Three analyzes the textiles utilized for mourning and the lack of textiles that occurred in the South as production materials became more difficult to procure. Civil War couples utilized textiles to continue their marriages when separated. This thesis also focuses on the textile labor women performed in the home. This thesis attempts to illustrate the meaning that can be taken from material objects when studying the Civil War and their use in larger narratives. This thesis also evaluates how white women's labor in the home was valued during the Civil War: their labor was both an important patriotic effort but also a "labor of love."