Meeting of November 29, 2022

Martha Conway on “Women in the American Civil War: Nurses, Doctors, and Soldiers”

Martha says: “As a writer of historical fiction, I am often surprised at the research I uncover. When I conducted research for my novel The Physician’s Daughter—focusing on 19th century medicine, women’s lives, and the American Civil War—I discovered the many ways women contributed to the war effort. I was also intrigued to find out how many of our now-common medical practices came about during the Civil War. This presentation will be a blend of Civil War medical advances, and the women who found ways to “help the cause”—and not just from the sidelines.”

Martha Conway is the author of several historical novels, including The Underground River, which was a New York Times Book Editor’s Choice in 2017. Her latest novel, The Physician’s Daughter, takes place immediately after the American Civil War, as young Vita Tenney strives to become the doctor that her brother, had he survived the war, would have been. The Physician’s Daughter recounts one woman’s fight to follow her dream, and explores the Civil War’s effects on Vita, her family, and war veteran Jacob Culhane. Martha lives in San Francisco and is a creative writing instructor for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program.