Dear Diary, Lucy Virginia Smith French

Acrylic on illustration board mounted on wood
33 ¼ x 25 ½ inches
Credit Line:
Collection of Lysiane Luong Grooms and the artist

Grooms paints Lucy French holding her wartime diary and literally walking out of the frame, and the past, while soldiers in blue and gray stroll through the garden behind her. Some of the most immediate narratives of the Civil War are memoirs by women, whether they were helping with the war effort or simply caught up in the disruption and danger of everyday life. French was a newspaper and magazine editor who lived on a plantation in McMinnville in central Tennessee. By 1862 the state was largely Union-occupied territory, and she recorded encounters with officers from both sides.