Robyn Mundy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Robert C. Kenzer


This thesis examines the role of white Virginia businesswomen during the Civil War era, focusing on the three specific communities of Norfolk, Lynchburg, and Staunton. The primary questions addressed are: who were these women; why did they own their own businesses; and how successful were they? After searching the available business directories for each city, the R. G. Dun & Company credit ledgers provide descriptions of business owners, including some of these women, which, along with the manuscript census, give a socio-economic profile of Virginia businesswomen. After the conflict, the numbers of businesswomen increased and the firms they owned became more diversified. Most female entrepreneurs during the Civil War era were unmarried and comprised a very small percentage of the business market when competing against men. While some women were successful in their business ventures, most were not.

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