Wilbur left her family’s farm near Rochester, New York in 1862 and boarded a train to Washington, DC. As an ardent abolitionist, the forty-seven year old Wilbur entered the chaos of the Civil War and spent the next several years in Alexandria, Virginia, devising ways to aid recently escaped slaves and hospitalized Union soldiers. Whitacre’s presentation will focus on Wilbur’s various experiences against the backdrop of Union-occupied Alexandria, the travails of the civilian population there, and her efforts to comfort sick and wounded Federal soldiers and runaway slaves.
Paula Tarnapol Whitacre is a professional writer and editor for organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she is a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer and staff writer for the Washington Post.