J. Matthew Gallman

in America's Joan of Arc

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195161458
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199788798 | DOI:

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This introduction looks at the life of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, known as “America's Joan of Arc” for her youth and fiery passion in the midst of the Civil War. Dickinson successfully stormed the male-dominated bastion of partisan politics, became a star of the lyceum circuit and one of the country's most widely recognized and oft-photographed celebrities, and then turned to the stage as both playwright and actress, eventually trying her hand at a series of male roles. All of these exploits appeared in the scrapbooks that surrounded Dickinson on February 25, 1891, when she was forcibly taken and confined against her will to Pennsylvania's State Hospital for the Insane at Danville. Dickinson's scrapbooks and clippings comprised the narrative of a distinctly public life, or — to be more precise — they represented her life story as told by the men and women of the press.

Keywords: Anna Elizabeth Dickinson; American Civil War; scrapbooks; United States; Danville

Chapter.  2810 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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