by Gordon Wolf
Actress Pippa White used a range of voices and expressions to portray women who played key roles before and during the Civil War during her performance of “Civil War Women,” at the Dow City Community Building. The program was sponsored by the Dow City Public Library.
Putting on a different hat or shawl, White took on the persona of women who were abolition speakers, nurses, a woman among the Richmond elite who was a spy for the Union, a woman who wore men’s clothing to serve in the Union Army, and Vinnie Ream, who as a young girl was recognized for her sculpture and sculpted a bust of president Lincoln while in office. After Lincoln’s assassination, Ream was also selected in 1866 to sculpt the statue of Lincoln that stands in the Capitol Rotunda. She was 18 at that the time of that commission.
White read a letter that had been written about an abolition speech given by Sojourner Truth, and she explained how Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” came to be a published writer. Friends sent in stories she had written to a magazine and she was published. She used her first paycheck to buy a feather bed. After that, whenever the family needed some money to make ends meet, she would write another story and get it published.