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Columbia Business Monthly

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum Lunch and Learn
Topic is pioneering educator Anna Bracket

Categorized as: Museums & Exhibits
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Anna Callendar Brackett was an early feminist philosopher, and a pioneer in higher education for women in South Carolina.

She also found herself, a Bostonian, in Charleston at the time of the firing on Fort Sumter that began the Civil War, and wrote about it for Harper’s magazine.

On Friday, Dec. 15, Debbie Bloom will talk at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room about Anna Brackett and her impact on South Carolina. Bloom is the manager of Richland Library’s Walker Local and Family History Center.

“Anna C. Brackett belonged to a group of teachers who opened the Charleston Normal School a year before the start of the Civil War,” says Bloom. “Created to train South Carolina women to be teachers in the new public school system, the school was the first of its kind in South Carolina. My presentation explores Brackett and the lives of the inaugural class of women after the war.”

The Normal School was Brackett’s first teaching job and it only lasted a year, but she had a great impact on the young women she taught. Part of the lecture will trace the subsequent lives of some of her students. “It’s also just about, you know, how women are lost through time,” in this case a time in which the roles of men have been much documented, a time of war.

Brackett’s students were the daughters of Charleston’s burgeoning middle class – merchants, lawyers, doctors and such. “They went on to have very meaningful lives and some knew tragedy,” said Bloom. “They were born in the 1840s, and if they’d been men they’d have served in the army.”

The outbreak of war led to an adventure for Brackett, as a Yankee who wanted to get home. She had come south by steamboat, but couldn’t go back that way. She had to take a circuitous route back to the Union, traveling in a long arc that first took her westward.

The lecture is part of the museum’s monthly Lunch and Learn series, and is free and open to the public.

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