The Library of Virginia >> Exhibitions >> Working Out Her Destiny
  Working Out Her Destiny
Service to Country


Shaping Public Opinion

Women's Organizations



Service to Country

Votes for Women


Where are the Women:
Examples from the LVA Collections



Related Resources

Image of cover of Southern Lady, Yankee Spy book Varon, Southern Lady, Yankee Spy

Images and Documents

Throughout Virginia history, wars and revolutions have not been the exclusive preserve of men. In 1676, both rebel and loyalist women were embroiled in Baconís Rebellion. Women who found it impossible to support their families alone during the American Revolution followed their husbands to war, offering the army their services as cooks, nurses, laundresses, and seamstresses. Others camouflaged their sex and enlisted. Although the Union and Confederate armies forbade the enlistment of women, some disguised themselves as men and went to war. Across Virginia, women formed voluntary associations and soldierís aid societies, raised money, procured supplies and delivered them to the army, and organized and staffed hospitals.

This activism continued in the twentieth century. During the World Wars, women enlisted in the military to fill clerical roles, served as nurses at the front, and worked in war industries. Throughout Virginiaís history, the efforts of women in the public sphere have paved the way for change.