Seizing Freedom

Every day and in every way, enslaved people sought freedom - often times seizing it as opportunities arose.  Yet, their flight was neither impulsive nor improbable but deliberate and purposefully planned. They made decisions that would have a lasting impact not only on themselves but the loved ones left to languish in slavery.

Read More
“Youth and Beauty” in the Confederate White House: Margaret Graham (“Maggie”) Howell

Confederate “First Lady” Varina Howell Davis and her circle of friends were not the only upper-class women to grace the White House of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  Although young by First Lady standards (Varina was 35 when she moved into the Richmond executive mansion), she was no “belle.” And, as novelist Thomas Nelson Page observed after the war, “the key” of antebellum southern social life was set to young women.

Read More
The Architecture of 1201 E. Clay Street

The White House of the Confederacy turns 200 this year, so what better time to take a look back at the design and architecture of the house? In two posts below, Museum historian John Coski shares research findings by Museum employees and graduate students from the 1990s, and architectural historian Edwin Slipek suggests a brand new theory. 

Read More
From the Attic - Mutual Assurance Records

The first photos and detailed descriptions of the building known to history as the White House of the Confederacy come from the days immediately following the end of Confederate Richmond, and owe to its “Yankee” conquerors. The handful of exterior photos and the judgmental descriptions of the public rooms, used in conjunction with Varina Davis’ postwar recollections of the floor and room arrangements provided the broad outline for restoring the home to its wartime appearance.

Read More