"I had a visit from Bishop Quintard": The Life of Kate Cumming and the Creation of the 'Episcopal Woman' Archetype
Burns, Devin Dufey
Kate Cumming(1835-1909) was an Confederate woman who lived in Alabama from 1840 until 1909. During her life she was a nurse, teacher, author, and was very devoted to the Episcopal Church. Through research into her private papers and published works, the archetype of the ‘Episcopal Woman’ emerges. The Episcopal Woman is a woman in the American South in the 19th century who was socially elite, comfortable with Episcopal liturgy and traditions, and who worked to define herself through a hierarchical and regimented lens by the unofficial gendered roles she inhabited within that environment. The archetype of the ‘Episcopal Woman’ is the epitome of the normative gendered expectation of women in this denomination as crafted by the patriarchal structure and the women of the denomination. By applying the ‘Episcopal Woman’ archetype to Kate Cumming’s life, the archetype and its functions in Southern society become central to Cumming’s narrative, as well as providing an initial case study for further research into other women in the region. Prior to this, there has not been a study on Episcopal women in the South during and after the Civil War. This research aids in the study of Kate Cumming, the society she existed in, and the way she defined herself through an Episcopal lens in the wake of the Civil War.