This first biography of Selina Campbell opens a window onto the experience of women in one of the most dynamic religious groups of 19th-century America.
Loretta M. Long examines the life and influence of Selina Campbell, one of the most visible women in the 19th-century Disciples of Christ movement. Best known as the wife of Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples, Selina Campbell both shaped and exemplified the role
of women in this dynamic religious group (also known as the Stone-Campbell movement). Her story demonstrates the importance of faith in the lives of many women during this era and adds a new dimension to the concept of the "separate spheres" of men and women, which women like Campbell interpreted in the context of their religious beliefs.
A household manager, mother, writer, and friend, Campbell held sway primarily in the domestic sphere, but she was not held captive by it. Her relationship with her husband was founded on a deep sense of partnership conditioned by their strong faith in an all-powerful God. Each
of them took on complementary roles according to the perceived natural abilities of their genders: Alexander depended on Selina to manage his property and raise the children while he traveled the country preaching. Campbell outlived her husband by 30 years, and during that time published several newspaper articles and supported new causes, such as women in missions.
In the end, as Long amply demonstrates, Selina Campbell was neither her husband's shadow nor solely a domestic worker. She was, in her husband's eyes, a full partner and a "fellow soldier" in the cause of Restoration.
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“Long’s gracefully written biography of Selina Campbell . . . contributes significantly to knowledge about this woman, whom scholars have frequently mentioned only in passing. . . . Noting the impact of feminist assumptions on modern scholarship, Long stresses the priority of Christian faith in understanding Selina Campbell’s view of the family and the world.” —Stone-Campbell Journal
“This elegantly written and clearly organized biography celebrates the intensity of Selina Campbell’s devotion even as it attempts to place her life within the larger context of American women’s history. . . . This book will help to diversify and enliven the literature on nineteenth-century American women.”—Journal of the Early Republic
"Long's biography of Selina Campbell tells the intriguing and important life story of Alexander Campbell's noted and influential wife. Based on impressive research and written with grace and clarity, this book throws a bright new light on both the 19th-century history of the Disciples of Christ and on the critical religious role of women."—David Edwin Harrell Jr., Auburn University
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