Sanitary Concerns: Portlander Harriet Eaton, State Relief Work, and the Fight over Federal Benevolence during the Civil War

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Speaker: Jane Schultz, Professor of English and the Medical Humanities, and Director of Literature, at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Maine state relief workers like Harriet Eaton and Isabella Fogg were less certain than Frederick Law Olmsted—who, thanks to his administrative skill overseeing the creation of Central Park, was asked to head the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War—that federal benevolence was the best way to care for Maine's boys in blue. For the 2014 Olmsted Lecture, Professor Jane Schultz shows how and why Mainers resisted the sweep of a national relief structure, preferring instead to put the interests of the state ahead of federal bureaucracy.

Schultz is the author of Women at the Front (University of North Carolina, 2004), a study of gender and relief work in American Civil War military hospitals; it was a finalist for the 2005 Lincoln Prize. In 2010 Professor Schultz published This Birth Place of Souls (Oxford), an annotated edition of the diary of Portlander Harriet Bacon Eaton, one of the last extant Civil War nursing diaries.