The Hanover County Historical Society's quarterly meeting took place on Sunday, May 26, at the Mechanicsville branch of the Pamunkey Regional Library. The speaker was National Park Service Ranger and historian Ashley Luskey, Ph. D., who presented The Last Confederate Christmas: Richmond Ladies and the Social Crisis of Civil War.

Ashley Whitehead Luskey,
Ph. D
Using as a focus the last Christmas celebrations at the Confederate White House and associated events, Dr. Luskey described long-term holiday practices and temporary gaiety with the background of an increasingly failing nationhood.

"Starvation Parties," celebrations by the Davis family with the orphans of St. Paul's Church, the Christmas-Day promenade of well-dressed ladies from the White House to Capitol Square, the previous Bread Riot, and charity and benevolence for the poor were juxtaposed to provide sharp contrasts of living among "the quality" of Richmond. All this with the fear of an uprising of slaves, and the lower classes "making the nights hideous" as social order decayed.

Some 28 people attended the event. The Hanover County Historical Society's Vice President of Programs Joe O'Connor thanked Dr. Luskey for her presentation, and presented her several Society publications.