Marion Harland’s Autobiography: The Story of a Long Life
Marion Harland's Autobiography was published when the author was eighty years old and had lived in New Jersey for more than half a century; yet its foreword demonstrates her continuing preoccupation with the South and the American Civil War (1861–1865). The idea for her book, she wrote, came with the realization that "of all the authors still on active professional duty in our country, I am the only one whose memory runs back to the stage of national history that preceded the Civil War by a quarter-century. I, alone, am left to tell, of my own knowledge and experience, what the Old South was in deed and in truth … It was my lot to know the Old South in her prime, and to see her downfall. Mine to witness the throes that racked her during four black and bitter years. Mine to watch the dawn of a new and vigorous life and the full glory of a restored Union."