Each summer between 1790 and 1860, hundreds and eventually thousands of southern men and women left the diseases and boredom of their plantation homes and journeyed to the springs of western Virginia for entertainment and for reasons of health. While some came in search of a cure, most traveled over the mountains to enjoy the fashionable society and to participate in an array of social activities.
In Ladies and Gentlement on Display, Charlene M. Boyer Lewis argues that the Virginia Springs provided a theater of sorts, where contests for power between men and women, fashionables and evangelicals, blacks and whites, old and young, and even northerners and southerners played out - away from the traditional roles of the plantation. In their pursuit of health and pleasure, white southerners created a truly regional community at the springs. At this edge of the South, elite southern society shaped itself, defining what it meant to be a southerner and redefining social roles and relations.
With images and index.