Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Booknotes: Soap Suds Row

New Arrival:
Soap Suds Row: The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802-1876 by Jennifer J. Lawrence (High Plains Press, 2016).

Soap Suds Row respectfully tells the story of army laundresses, mainly during the Civil War and Frontier Army periods. It explores in detail their official position, duties, and lifestyle (including having to manage family obligations in addition to the laundress job). Chapters also cover issues related to travel, romantic attachments, motherhood, as well as the more sordid aspects of the profession like prostitution (the last unfortunately comprising a disproportionate part of the popular reputation of the army laundress). Many individuals are profiled, and the appendix provides a list of known official army laundresses. The book is well stocked with maps and photographs.

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