Wayward Daughter

By Kellye Crocker

During a series of Confederate Civil War successes, Southerners greeted news of Winnie Davis’ birth as a sign of impending victory. Des Moines author and historian Heath Hardage Lee profiles Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ controversial youngest daughter in a new biography, “Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause.”

Relying on 20 years of research from letters, diaries, newspapers and interviews with relatives, Lee portrays an unwitting icon, idolized as the “Daughter of the Confederacy” but struggling with conflicting personal views. Davis’ 1890 engagement to a Northerner—the grandson of a famous abolitionist—enraged her community, and she never married. But as an author and newspaper reporter in New York City, Davis eventually found the personal and artistic freedom she craved.

Lee will discuss her debut book April 17 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the History Series at Salisbury House & Gardens. The Virginia native, who coordinates the History Series, has worked for several Southern museums and written for newspapers, magazines and blogs. Tickets are $10, and seating is limited. For reservations, call 274-1777.

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