Book Review presents reviews of recent publications on Pennsylvania subjects by noted scholars, historians and journalists.

Emilie Davis’s Civil War: The Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863-1865
edited by Judith Giesberg, transcribed and annotated by the Memorable Days Project
Penn State Press, 240 pp., cloth $59.95, paper $16.95Emilie Davis's Civil War

Free African American servant and seamstress Emilie Davis lived in Philadelphia during the Civil War and recorded her daily experiences and thoughts in a diary from January 1863 to December 1865. Among her entries about friends, church and attending the Institute for Colored Youth are notations on the recruitment of black men in the United States Colored Troops, attending a lecture by Frederick Douglass and news of the war’s big events – from Emancipation Proclamation (“we had quite a Jubiliee in the evenin”) to Lincoln’s assassination (“The President Was assassinated by Som Confederate villain”). Villanova University history professor Judith Giesberg and a group of her graduate students formed the Memorable Days Project to transcribe the diary and set it in context with helpful annotations. In an astute introduction, Giesberg points out that the diary “allows us to see how the Civil War was lived as a part of everyday life,” noting that “we generally study the war as a series of big events … but it was lived as a periodic and oftentimes unwelcome visitor.”