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Elite Whites

For discussion

How can we define elite whites?

How did elite whites define themselves?

Were elites the same across the South?

What were the trapping of elite lifestyle?

What were the most important things to elite whites?

Did the lives of elite whites change during the antebellum era?


There are various written sources by elite whites in the library including:
  • Melanie Pavich-Lindsay, Anna, the letters of a St Simon's Island plantation mistress, 1817-1859
  • R. Meyers, Children of Pride
  • Susan Sedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter
  • Fanny Kemble, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian plantation
  • T. Rosengarten, Tombee.

You could also look at the Documenting the American South website which has many other sources online –


There is a vast amount of literature on the antebellum south in the library – look especially at the F section in the library for individual southern states, and the E44x section for slavery. These books in particular should be read:
  • Eugene D. Genovese, The world the slaveholders made: two essays in interpretation
  • James Oakes, The Ruling Race
  • Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor
  • Susan J Tracy, In the master's eye: representations of women, blacks and poor whites in antebellum southern literature.

Johnson, Michael P., 'Planters and patriarchy: Charleston, 1800-1860', JSH, XLVI, (1980), 45-72. [online at jstor]