The Sea Captain's Wife

A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century

By Martha Hodes
(W. W. Norton & Company, Paperback, 9780393330298, 384pp.)

Publication Date: September 2007

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Description
Award-winning historian Martha Hodes brings us into the extraordinary world of Eunice Connolly. Born white and poor in New England, Eunice moved from countryside to factory city, worked in the mills, then followed her husband to the Deep South. When the Civil War came, Eunice's brothers joined the Union army while her husband fought and died for the Confederacy. Back in New England, a widow and the mother of two, Eunice barely got by as a washerwoman, struggling with crushing depression. Four years later, she fell in love with a black sea captain, married him, and moved to his home in the West Indies. Following every lead in a collection of 500 family letters, Hodes traced Eunice's footsteps and met descendants along the way. This story of misfortune and defiance takes up grand themes of American history opportunity and racism, war and freedom and illuminates the lives of ordinary people in the past.



About the Author
Martha Hodes is Assistant Professor of History at New York University and author of "White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century American South."


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CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. In what ways can Eunice be described as an unconventional woman ahead of her time? In what ways can she be described as a conventional woman caught up in her own time?

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