The Neglected Thread: A Journal from the Calhoun Community
The Neglected Thread: An Antebellum Journal from the Calhoun Community was originally edited by Delle Mullen Craven and published by USC in 1951. Historians and genealogists discovered The Neglected Thread as a resource, as did general readers. The celebrated book has been out of print for a generation. The new edition will be welcome because it continues to make this classic available to a readership that has a growing awareness of its value. Mary Moragné's journal is one of those rare books that should never go out of print.
Mary Moragné, granddaughter of Huguenot refugee Pierre Moragné, kept a journal of her family life and travels, her literary aspirations, and her own psychological attitudes in the 1830s and 1840s. The diarist lived at Oakwood, the family plantation in Bordeaux, and spent time in Willington, Mt. Carmel, and Abbeville, South Carolina in a community noted for the homes of the Calhoun family, most notable among its members, John C. Calhoun, of Senator George McDuffie, of Governor Patrick Noble, and of Dr. Moses Waddel.
The story presented by Mary Elizabeth Moragné occupies a quiet, yet often not so quiet corner of the antebellum South. She re-creates the story of lives experienced not only by ordinary men and women but also by famous people acting within their particular time and place in a fashion that provides drama and insights way beyond fictionalized sagas. Her journal, which she called “The Neglected Thread,” offers a unique understanding of the evolution of life during a period of the nineteenth century and its impact on the emerging nation’s social, religious, racial, political, and feminist issues.
Mary Moragné's journal readily reflects her intellect and keen perception of “place in time” of the South in which she lived. For example she wrote on September 21, 1841, “I was sitting in the piazza late at night & had my feelings very much lifted up in humble adoration by hearing a negro at the quarter singing ‘Come humble sinner in whose breast’ &c. He was evidently singing from the book, as he would stop when he came to a hard word – & begin again when he had mastered it. He has taught himself to read; & though he is considered the worst negro on the plantation, he may be yet a chosen vessel of grace. Every day of my life do I inly weep & mourn that I am able to do nothing for the souls of these poor creatures! They are so separated from us by the forms of society that it seems impossible for me to get at the opportunity of instructing them – & then Alas! We have such a difference in speaking of these things that it requires much preparation thereto. Unfortunately our religion is not sufficiently practical; it does not mingle with our daily affairs – it does not shine before our domestic associations; but seems to be rather an abstract principle than a familiar spirit.”
The new edition of The Neglected Thread is now brought back, with a new preface and added photographs, by Bobby F. Edmonds.
The Neglected Thread - $23
Softcover, edited by Delle Mullen Craven, with a new preface and added photographs by Bobby F. Edmonds, 310 pages, 6"x9", 32 photographs and illustrations, notes, appendices, index, ISBN 978-0-9749976-4-3