Abstract

In 1884–85, the city of New Orleans hosted a world’s fair, meant to show a New South that was unified within the whole of the United States. One facet of this welcoming vision was a Woman’s Department, where Julia Ward Howe and daughter Maud Howe gathered a literary exhibition, a library of books by women. Maud Howe left the books to the city of New Orleans, but she and her mother also left a legacy of the library’s contents in a shelf list naming the some 1,400 books. This is the story of that list, its survival set within archival theory, its survival dependent on the recordkeeping of the Howes, its affordance today of a digital recreation of the library, and its reinsertion as a once obscured placeholder within the timeline of women’s libraries.

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