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A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time: Julia Wilbur’s Struggle for Purpose

Jan 28, 2018

A book talk and signing by Paula Tarnapol Whitacre
4:00pm-6:00pm in The Barn.

Free and open to the public!

Books available for sale and signing after the talk.

In the fall of 1862, at 47, Quaker abolitionist Julia Wilbur left a stable life in Rochester, New York, and headed for Alexandria, Virginia, and the chaos of the Civil War. A Southern town captured by the Union early in the war, Alexandria was a turbulent hub of activity, serving as a refuge for African Americans escaping slavery and site of hospitals for wounded Union soldiers. Julia Wilbur spent much of the war devising ways to aid the newly emancipated and the wounded. A Civil War in an Uncivil Time shapes Wilbur’s diaries and other primary sources into a captivating story of a woman who remade herself at midlife during a period of massive social upheaval and change.

About the Author

Paula Tarnapol WhitacrePaula Tarnapol Whitacre has been a freelance writer and editor for over 20 years, usually on projects for national nonprofits and government agencies. She has lived in Alexandria, VA since the mid-1980s, where she is active in many local organizations. About 10 years ago, she began to volunteer for the city’s Local History programs. This led her to Julia Wilbur’s diaries and, ultimately, the book that she just published. She is on the boards of Friends of Alexandria Archaeology and the Civil War Roundtable of Washington, DC. Visit

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