May 31 GISSIG meeting: “American Civil War, Marriage, Widowhood”

Our next GISSIG event will be May 31, 12:00-1:00 p.m. at the Stanford Humanities Center. Historian Libra Hilde (San Jose State University) and Anthropologist James Holland Jones (Stanford University) will co-present on a cross-disciplinary analysis of The Impact of the American Civil War on Post-War Marriage and Subsequent Widowhood, with a focus on spatial methodologies, a paper co-authored with J. David Hacker (Binghamton University, State University of New York SUNY).


Over 600,000 men died in the American Civil War–roughly equal to the number of deaths suffered in all other American wars through the Korean War combined. In this paper, we investigate the impact of wartime mortality on subsequent nuptiality through a microsimulation coupled with an empirical investigation of age at marriage and proportions ever marrying in the 1850-1880 IPUMS samples. We construct microsimulations, indices of the intensity of the postwar marriage squeeze (including the marital sex ratio and Schoen’s index), and nuptiality estimates for each census region. We focus our discussion, however, on the postwar South, which lost an estimated 1-in-4 white men of military age in the conflict–three times the rate of death in the North. Diaries, letters, and memoirs of nurses, soldiers, and people on the home front supplement the analysis and confirm the presence of a developing marriage squeeze on southern white women.

Libra Hilde

Libra Hilde is an Assistant Professor of History at San Jose State University. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in History and in Native American Studies, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. She is a social and political historian of 19 th century America, and her research and teaching interests include the history of slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, Reconstruction, race, gender, citizenship, and democracy, and Native American and Women’s history. Her current book project, “Worth a Dozen Men”: Union and Confederate Nurses during the Civil War, explores the role of white southern women in the creation of Lost-Cause mythology. Her work compares the struggle of white and black female war veterans over the memory and meaning of the war and its impact on post-war race relations.

James Holland Jones

James Holland Jones is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford. His current substantive research interests fall into four general headings: The interaction of infectious diseases with demography, the ecology of infectious disease, particularly in multi-host communities, biodemography, and life history theory. He also maintains a number of methodological research interests in formal demography, demographic microsimulation and statistical methods, including Bayesian statistics and spatial methods. He was awarded a K01 Career Development Grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study the consequences for infectious disease dynamics of changing demography (i.e., age-specific schedules of mortality, fertility, migration).

David Hacker

David Hacker is Assistant Professor at the Department of History at the State University of New York at Binghamton. His current project investigates the Decline of American Fertility, 1790-2000. He was instrumental in the creation of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Samples (IPUMS).

What Others Are Saying

  1. jhj1 May 31, 2007 at 8:45 am

    By coincidence, Dave Hacker also has a K01 from NICHD to develop his work on American historical demography.

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