Lois Leveen


February 27, 2014

Mary Richards Bowser Tell All

You'd think that if something happened 150 years ago, historians would know all about it by now.

You'd be wrong about that.

There's still much we don't know about the Civil War, and especially about Mary Bowser. In fact, I've grown so frustrated over the number of "non-fiction" sources, from the Wikipedia to the African American National Biography edited by Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Higginbotham and co-published by Harvard and Oxford University Presses, which repeat falsehoods about her and/or make unproven claims about her, that I wrote this entry for the Encyclopedia of Virginia detailing every documented aspect of her life, and discounting all those false or unproven claims.

But I think there's still a lot more to be learned about her, and I'm hoping that students and scholars will take the challenge. So I've also posted a list of opportunities for further research on the EVA blog.

Ready to dig into some historical research of your own? I hope so.
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