From: Dennis Lloyd [mailto:Dlloyd@...
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 2:39 PM
To: Amos J Wright
Subject: New book from the University of Alabama Press
Just wanted to let you know that this Sunday, December 4, will be the
official publication date for a new book from the University of Alabama
LOVE AND DUTY: AMELIA AND JOSIAH GORGAS AND THEIR FAMILY by Sarah
Woolfolk Wiggins explores the intricate personal relationships of a
notable Alabama family.
Known respectively as the chief of the Confederate Ordnance Bureau and
as the university librarian, Josiah and Amelia Gorgas were important
members of the University of Alabama and regional communities. Their
marriage spanned the Civil War and its aftermath and epitomized the
Victorian concept of separate spheres for husband and wife. They were
two strong personalities who deeply respected and complemented each
Love and Duty focuses on the couple's relationship as well as their
relationships with other Gorgas family members. Because the large but
close-knit family was highly literate and often separated, they produced
an extraordinary quantity and quality of correspondence and related
manuscripts that span three generations. Family members corresponded
with each other almost daily. In these letters and in journals, they
commented on contemporary events, gave advice, philosophized about life,
death, love, marriage, parenting, war, and defeat. These thousands of
documents provide a remarkable window into the private world of a
19th-century southern family. Wiggins examines Josiah's and Amelia's
attitudes toward a vast range of topics, but most notably family, which
was everything to the couple.
Frank E. Vandiver, author of Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and
Confederate Ordnance, says, "Sarah Wiggins's Love and Duty is an
important contribution to southern history. Splendid research in the
scattered and extensive Gorgas papers allows Wiggins to blend Civil War,
Reconstruction, family and gender analysis into a history of the
19th-century south. The Gorgases lived full and poignant lives before,
during, and after 'the war.' Wiggins tells deftly how they lived, loved,
parented, and coped with war and desolation and so presents social
history at its comprehensive best."
Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins is Professor Emerita of History at the University
of Alabama and author/editor of The Scalawag in Alabama Politics,
1865-1881; From Civil War to Civil Rights, Alabama 1860-1960: An
Anthology from "The Alabama Review;" and The Journals of Josiah Gorgas,
The book retails for $19.95 in paperback (ISBN 0817352945) or $40.00 in
an unjacketed hardcover edition (ISBN 0817314806). It is available
directly from the University of Alabama Press, or any online or
bricks-and-mortar retail outlet. To view a cover image, visit the
webpage for this book at
Here are some excerpts from the Introduction:
"Family was everything to the Gorgas couple whom we generally know as
the chief of the Confederate Ordnance Bureau and the University of
". . . Amelia and Josiah were each other's best friend before and
throughout their marriage until his death. They found their greatest
satisfaction and joy in each other's company, often in the simplest
". . . The impression persists that Victorians were uninterested in sex.
Nothing could be further from the truth in the case of Amelia and
Josiah. Their letters--especially his--make clear the strength of the
passion that existed in their marriage.
". . . The story of Amelia and Josiah is also the story of their
successful and famous son, William Crawford, whose efforts to improve
sanitation made possible the building of the Panama Canal.
". . . Amelia and Josiah understood that life is not fair, that what
happened to them was less important than how they coped. This couple was
unafraid to play the hand they were dealt, to make the best of what fate
gave them, and they did so without whining or complain. In so doing they
epitomized their generation in the South-as survivors."
Assistant Marketing Manager/Publicist
The University of Alabama Press