Born in 1868, Ina Dillard grew up in rural Georgia during Reconstruction. After Ina married Richard Brevard Russell, an Athens lawyer and future chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, in 1891, the simple life she had imagined was transformed. Russell became the matriarch of a large and influential family and raised thirteen children, including future Georgia governor and U.S. Senator Richard Russell. This energetic and talented woman balanced her household, family, and social responsibilities with extraordinary skill, reinventing traditional roles to accommodate her active life.
The letters presented in this volume are selections from the estimated three thousand that Russell wrote to her children and husband during her lifetime. Ranging from the turn of the century to the early years of the Great Depression, they provide an intimate view of what life was like for many women in the South during a time of great political and social upheaval. From guidelines on manners, nutrition, and fashion to instructions on education, motherhood, and home health remedies, she offers insights into the numerous roles women were expected to fill. Not limited to family matters, Russell's letters record her views on politics, football, the World Wars, music, and life in various Georgia towns. A frequent traveler, she also offers entertaining anecdotes of her excursions and descriptions of the people she met. This intimate, detailed portrait of one woman's life chronicles a critical period of change in the roles and ambitions of women in the South and in the United States.
Read more about Ina Dillard Russell at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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