Adult Education in Civil War Richmond January 1861- April 1865
Dwyer, John L.
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This study examines adult education in Civil War Richmond from January 1861 to April 1865. Drawing on a range of sources (including newspapers, magazines, letters and diaries, reports, school catalogs, and published and unpublished personal narratives), it explores the types and availability of adult education activities and the impact that these activities had on influencing the mind, emotions, and attitudes of the residents. The analysis reveals that for four years, Richmond, the Capital of the Confederacy, endured severe hardships and tragedies of war: overcrowdedness, disease, wounded and sick soldiers, food shortages, high inflationary rates, crime, sanitation deficiencies, and weakened socio-educational institutions. Despite these deplorable conditions, the examination reveals that educative systems of organizations, groups, and individuals offered the opportunity and means for personal development and growth. The study presents and tracks the educational activities of organizations like churches, amusement centers, colleges, evening schools, military, and voluntary groups to determine the type and theme of their activities for educational purposes, such as personal development, leisure, and recreation. The study examines and tracks such activities as higher education, industrial training, religious education, college-preparatory education, military training, informal education, and educational leisure and recreation, such as reading and listening to and singing music. The study concludes that wartime conditions had minimal affect on the type and availability of adult education. Based on the number and types of educational activities and participants engaged in such activities, the study concludes that adult education had influenced and contributed to the lives of the majority of Richmonders, including the thousands of soldiers convalescing in the city's hospitals. Whatever the educative system, the study finds that the people of Richmond, under tremendous stress and despondency improved themselves individually and collectively. Thus, Civil War Richmond's adult education experience is about educative systems that gave people knowledge, comfort, and hope under extreme deprivation and deplorable conditions.
- Doctoral Dissertations