Friday, June 11, 2010

Here I am with a life-sized mannequin of Malvina Gist, a very important lady to the history of Columbia, SC, and of the Relic Room.
During the war, as a young widow (her husband had been killed in battle), Malvina took a job proofreading and hand-signing Confederate currency. Each bill needed two signatures: Malvina signed more than 3000 a day. It was boring, repetitive work, but it helped her survive the war.
Malvina fled Columbia before Sherman's army arrived and burned the city down. She was a strong and resourceful lady. After the war, she slowly rebuilt her life, eventually writing two novels and helping start the museum. During WWI, she formed a group composed of former Confederate ladies, to help the American soldiers and sailors who were fighting in France.
Curator of History Joe Long says that one of the great untold stories of American history, is how ladies of the South followed General Lee's instructions, as they helped raise the next generation of young Southern men. Ladies like Miss Malvina taught that revenge was the wrong response to losing the war; that Southern honor should be shown in American patriotism instead. South Carolinians took this to heart, as they signed up for World War One in even greater numbers than their grandfathers had for the Confederate Army.
General Lee said, "Forget your animosities" (which means, "forget your bitterness, anger, hatred," things like that!) "and make your sons Americans". It's great that Preston and Johann are both American bears!

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