The Bereaved Family

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The Bereaved Family
Unknown Artist
Page 67
Caroline O. Hiscox, ed. The Mother's Journal and Family Visitant. New York: Sheldon & Co.
A5. 6079 Volume 30
Newberry Library

What do you think has happened to this family? A young mother comforts her four children--one clings to her skirt, two others seek their mother's embrace, and one closely leans toward his mother. They have just learned that their husband and father was killed in the war. This image of a family mourning the loss of a father and husband must have been very meaningful for the readers of The Mothers' Journal and Family Visitant in 1865. Many of the magazine’s readers would have had the same experience. Over 752,000 men died in the Civil War, but we do not know how many children were left fatherless as a result. What is clear is that the loss of husbands and fathers made it far more likely that families would have financial problems, and they often had to turn to local charity organzations or the government and its new pension system for the money to make ends meet.

Prior to the Civil War, this magazine gave women advice on family, home, and children.  During the war, in addition to these articles, the magazine offered religious guidance and advice to women who had to handle the impact of economic stress and the horror of war on their families.

Further reading:
Hiscox, Carolina Orme, ed. The Mothers’ Journal and Family Visitant. Vol. 30. New York: Sheldon & Co., Publishers, 1865.

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 1850-1865. Harvard University Press, 1938.

Courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago