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Virginia Wesleyan College
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Student Research Projects

An Examination of the Gendered Relationships between Matron Hannah Ropes and the Men of the Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, D.C. June 26, 1862 - January 11, 1863

Student Jennifer Brown
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History


This paper describes how and why the fulfillment and transgression of gender ideals shaped the conflicts between Matron Hannah Ropes and the men of the Union Hotel Hospital as they occurred, climaxed, and concluded. Ropes treated the Union Hotel Hospital as a domestic space in which she acted as a mother-like figure in relation to her soldier-patients. She acted upon the ideal that held that women were superior to men in matters of morality and nurturing. However, the Union Hotel Hospital’s male administration saw the hospital as a part of the competitive, public business world where status and wealth were connected to manhood (and where a woman’s influence was traditionally absent). While Ropes felt that the well being of the soldiers should be of utmost importance, the male administrators often did not mind putting the well being of the soldiers second to their own interests in maintaining their ability to gain or preserve status within the Hospital.


Phi Alpha Theta - March 31, 2012


2nd Place - Undergraduate Presentation at the 2012 Phi Alpha Theta conference.

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