The intricate personal relationships of a notable Alabama family. Known respectively as the chief of the Confederate Ordnance Bureau and as the university librarian, Josiah and Amelia Gorgas were important members of the University of Alabama and regional communities. Their marriage spanned the Civil War and its aftermath and epitomized the Victorian concept of separate spheres for husband and wife. They were two strong personalities who deeply respected and complemented each other. Love and Duty focuses on the couple's relationship as well as their relationships with other Gorgas family members. Because the large but close-knit family was highly literate and often separated, they produced an extraordinary quantity and quality of correspondence and related manuscripts that span three generations. Family members corresponded with each other almost daily. In these letters and in journals, they commented on contemporary events, gave advice, philosophized about life, death, love, marriage, parenting, war, and defeat. These thousands of documents provide a remarkable window into the private world of a 19th-century southern family. Wiggins examines Josiah's and Amelia's attitudes toward a vast range of topics, but most notably family, which was everything to the couple.
Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Alabama and author/editor of The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881; From Civil War to Civil Rights, Alabama 1860-1960: An Anthology from ""The Alabama Review""; and The Journals of Josiah Gorgas, 1857-1878.