This article examines the Confederate Memorial Literary Society (CMLS), an organization of elite white women in Richmond, Virginia who founded the Confederate Museum in the 1890s. Faced with the plunder of Civil War relics and cultural homogenization on northern terms, the CMLS founded the Confederate Museum to document and defend the Confederate cause and to uphold the antebellum mores that the New South's business ethos threatened to erode. In the end, however, the museum's version of the Lost Cause served the New South. By focusing on military sacrifice, the Confederate Museum aided the process of sectional reconciliation. By depicting slavery as benevolent, the museum's exhibits reinforced the notion that Jim Crow was a just and effective means of managing postwar southern society. Lastly, by glorifying the common soldier and portraying the South as “solid,” the museum promoted obedience to the mandates of industrial capitalism. Thus, the Confederate Museum both critiqued and eased the economic transformations of the New South.
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