The Plantation Mistress

The Plantation Mistress This pioneering study of the much mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War D

  • Title: The Plantation Mistress
  • Author: Catherine Clinton
  • ISBN: 9780394722535
  • Page: 124
  • Format: Paperback
  • This pioneering study of the much mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War Drawing on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of hundreds of planter wives and daughters, Clinton sets before us in vivid detail the daily life of the plantation mistress and hThis pioneering study of the much mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War Drawing on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of hundreds of planter wives and daughters, Clinton sets before us in vivid detail the daily life of the plantation mistress and her ambiguous intermediary position in the hierarchy between slave and master The Plantation Mistress challenges and reinterprets a host of issues related to the Old South The result is a book that forces us to rethink some of our basic assumptions about two peculiar institutions the slave plantation and the nineteenth century family It approaches a familiar subject from a new angle, and as a result, permanently alters our understanding of the Old South and women s place in it.

    • The Plantation Mistress - Catherine Clinton
      124 Catherine Clinton
    • thumbnail Title: The Plantation Mistress - Catherine Clinton
      Posted by:Catherine Clinton
      Published :2019-07-19T01:20:51+00:00

    About " Catherine Clinton "

  • Catherine Clinton

    Professor of history at Queen s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland Specializes in American history, African American history, the Civil War, and women s history Previously taught at Brandeis and Harvard universities Born in 1952, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri Studied sociology and history at Harvard, earned a master s degree from Sussex and a doctorate from Princeton.

  • 722 Comments

  • It's good. 3.5 star and it's best aspect is that after reading all this you truly get "the feel" of where the Mistress fit into the system, the family, the law, the larger economic class society, and where/what she did with most of her hours.And detailing for the levels of physical work! I can certainly understand that being an invalid was often a reality, not some pretentious state. This is especially true of the child-bearing years as large, large families were norm coupled with the reality th [...]


  • More like a 4.5. I found this book very informative. Most importantly, I appreciated that the author made it clear throughout the entire book that plantation mistresses/slaveowning women were just as responsible for the horrors of slavery as the male planters/slaveowners. However, their experiences were very different from that of white men so although I personally have little to no sympathy for them as a collective, it was interesting to learn about that. I would recommend it for anyone who has [...]


  • As Catherine Clinton states in this fascinating insight into plantation life, "the plantation mistress continues to be a prisoner of myth", as much bound and constrained by history as she was in life. Whilst the life of a plantation wife was and remains in no way comparable to slavery, as Clinton makes all too clear, white planter women in the Old South were in their own way restricted, hemmed in, constrained. Their life was very far from the Gone with the Wind stereotype of graceful belles and [...]


  • This book is a fascinating study about the prescriptive roles of women in the antebellum South. I purchased it as part of the research for a historical novel I'm writing, and it has proven invaluable already.While this is a scholarly work, it is far from dry and pedantic. The author employs excerpts from correspondence (letter writing was practically de riguer during this time period) but also plantation records to provide a look at the challenges faced by plantation mistresses. Their lives were [...]


  • A fascinating study on women's role on Southern plantations. I appreciated all the primary source quotes and references and how the author emphasized that this study focused only on the plantation mistresses - not on *all* Southern women.Thorough in the examination of tasks, life challenges, and plantation morals, this books is an eye-opening study into the realities of plantation life during the antebellum period. Let's just say it's far from the ideal portrait from the "Gone With The Wind" mov [...]



  • Since the publication of The Plantation Mistress in 1982, scholars have turned their attention to the women of the Old South. While much of Clinton’s argument has been refined or debunked, the books central argument holds merit. Contrary to popular imagination, the plantation mistress did not lead a life of leisure. In many ways her life was circumscribed as a direct result of the patriarchal slave society. Clinton is at her best when she discusses the varying ways planter society created and [...]


  • Being a daughter of the South, born and raised, I found "The Plantation Mistress" by Catherine Clinton to be informative and spot on. She was accurate and educating. Although, for me the book was boring because I had heard and read and been taught much of what she reported. I was not surprised at her reports, and feel the book was very well written and researched. For anyone wanting to get to know the history of southern women, I do recommend this book.


  • This is an eye opening book. Southern women have been portrayed by Hollywood of having an easy life. Not so according to this book.


  • I already like the writing style and have only just started. Recommended by PhD student/park ranger in Fredericksburg.


  • I normally do not read a lot of fiction,unless it is based on an era of history I am interested in. I purchased this book after viewing an old plantation home in the south. I found it so far from the fiction, that books show, and movies describe, it was amazing. Gone was the world of Tara ,with the beautiful Scarlett, and her dances, and neighbors. the truth was much like seen ,after the war. Wives worked very hard, and had little enjoyment ,or even close neighbors. They held the full responsibi [...]


  • I look forward to rereading Catherine Clinton's book, "The Plantation Mistress." It flows like a novel yet is so full of interesting facts that I know I do not remember everything that is important to help in understanding American women. women of the south during the antebellum era were trapped in a chauvinistic world yet contributed to our society in enduring ways. They were the unacknowledged managers of the southern agricultural economy. Raising families and managing plantations yet not bein [...]


  • I really enjoyed this book because the life of the southern women was told through letters that still exist from that time in history. I was especially intrigued by the ideas of slavery often being different from their plantation owning husbands. I also was very touched by their real fear of childbirth in those days and how they had very little support system and lived rather lonely, hard working, difficult lives. Didn't sound much like the "Gone With the Wind" southern belles we always hear abo [...]


  • This book was interesting and well written, but denigrated by other scholars for "reading second-wave feminism back onto the early nineteenth century" and playing fast and loose with the historical evidence. "The Plantation Mistress" a great primer to the subject of Southern women and antebellum gender roles, but its best service is as an impetus for other historians to address the topic. tl;dr It's a good read for laypeople who know nothing about Southern history, but those who seek more in-dep [...]


  • This book was forced upon me in the wonderful world of college! It's a book full of historical facts on the women of the Plantation age, and it's dreadfully boring. The only good thing I can say about this book is that it broadened my knowledge of how bad women had it in that day and age Which is the point I suppose. If you're the scholarly type then you will love this. I however, do not enjoy books like this.


  • Really interesting to read some of the truths behind that romantic South we have in our minds. I enjoyed the section on the master of the plantation and the children that miraculously would appear that would be lighter skinned and noticeably similar to the master or his white children.Great read!


  • Interesting book of the role of white women on plantations in the ante-bellum south. This book was written in 1982, and is well researched. I think it gives a better understanding of what women's lives were like, and it was not all parties at Twelve Oaks. I have read only a little about womens lives during that time. period, and now feel that i have a much more thorough understanding.


  • Eyeopener. The plantation mistress was Scarlett AFTER her hands got rough and Rhett was no longer impressed. It does seem like the mistress' daughters had it made UNTIL they got married. Then they were little more than slaves themselves.


  • An interesting book that sheds light on the often misunderstood role of the Southern women in the antebellum south. The myth of the plantation belle is definitely shattered with all the meticulous research inside.


  • * Understanding Oppression: African American Rights (Then and Now)* Understanding Oppression: Women's Rights (Then and Now)



  • Not fun. Too scholarly - this was clearly a dissertation that was published.Too bad they didn't encourage her to re-write.




  • "The Plantation Mistress" remains a classic. The mothers of Scarlett didn't have it easy. No wonder she learned to say, "I'll think about that tomorrow."



  • Tons of history, lots of quotes from primary source documents. Very illuminating to a period that we think we know, but don't know much about, in reality.


  • I've barely begun this book, and already I've learned many things; and I grew up in the South! Fascinating sociological info.


  • Post Your Comment Here

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *