October 19, 2010 Book About "Forgotten Women" at Valley Forge Is Subject of Discussion
“Following the Drum” Is Story of Encampment During Winter of 1777-78
Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
“Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment" (Potomac Books, 2009) is the untold story of the women – from those on society’s lowest rungs to the women of the upper class – who spent the winter of 1777-78 with the Continental Army at Valley Forge, Pa.
Author Nancy K. Loane will discuss and sign her book on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at noon in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, a Books & Beyond program sponsored by the Center for the Book, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
Many of the camp women were soldiers’ wives who worked as the army’s washerwomen, nurses, cooks or seamstresses. Though these women’s written correspondence is scarce, author Loane uses sources such as issued military orders, pension depositions after the war and soldiers’ descriptions to bring these women to life.
Other women were part of the “numerous and splendid” audience who enjoyed the camp theater and had their portraits painted by Charles Willson Peale. They were not subject to the harsh conditions of camp life, and they came and went as they and their husbands, George Washington’s generals and advisers, saw fit.
Nancy K. Loane, who lives in Valley Forge, is a former seasonal ranger at the Valley Forge National Historical Park and has studied more than 500 Revolutionary War-era diaries, journals, letters, orderly books and records, many of them at the Library of Congress.
Her book is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The new Books & Beyond Book Club is available at www.facebook.com/booksandbeyond/. Here readers can discuss books, the authors of which have appeared or will appear in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.
Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.