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Abstract

In poignant remembrance of the last Christmas in the Confederate White House, Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy, reflected upon that special event in an extended article for the New York Sunday World, some thirty-two years after the Confederacy’s final Christmas. Davis recounted the event fondly and praised the transformation of her female peers into perfect models of Confederate endurance under the extreme duress of civil war. In re-creating the dramaturgy of the three-part event, which was organized and hosted in large part by the Confederacy’s First Lady, Davis opened a critical window into southern sensibilities and the cultural rituals which helped to sustain the Confederacy through four long years of civil war. Though Davis’s article was clearly a reflective and nostalgic piece concerning an event which occurred thirtytwo years prior, it was not written merely as a glorification of southern society, but rather to demonstrate the perpetuation of cherished southern ideals and rituals during the closing months of the war. [excerpt]

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