Confederate Truths: Documents of the Confederate & Neo-Confederate Tradition from 1787 to the Present.

Who was Mildred Rutherford?

This website has several entries for Mildred Lewis Rutherford, so it is important to explain who she was and why her opinions can be held to be representative of neo-Confederate organizations.

Mildred Lewis Rutherford was a leading figure in Lost Cause apologetics for the Confederacy from the very late 19th century and the early 20th century. From her eulogy in the Confederate Veteran is the following:

An active member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy from its organization, she was known as a leader in the work in the Georgia Division and was honored by high office in Chapter and Division, and had been made Life Historian of that Division. For five years she served as Historian General, U.D.C., and made that office one of the most important in the general organization, by which she was later made Honorary President. She was President of the Ladies Memorial Association of Athens, Ga., from 1888 to her death, and had been Historian General, C.S.M.A., since 1921; and she was also an officer of the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Association. The University of Georgia, with which her father was long connected, some years ago conferred upon her its honorary degree, an honor proudly received. [page 368-9, Confederate Veteran, Vol. 36 No. 9, September 1928.]

C.S.M.A. stands for the Confederated Southern Memorial Associations, which was a national association of local Ladies Memorial Associations across the south, a major organization in its time, though largely defunct now.

Mildred Rutherford spoke widely defending the Confederacy, including United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) conventions, and her speeches were printed and made broadly available. Later she published a little magazines titled Miss Rutherford's Scrap Book, later changed to Miss Rutherford's Historical Notes, defending the Confederacy and the race relations of the South. Her writings were collected together and republished in a book "The Truths of History." At the request of the United Confederate Veterans she prepared for them, "A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books, and Reference Books in Schools, College and Libraries." Her apologetics for the Confederacy were adopted by the general public for generations in the defense of the Confederacy.

The UDC still considers her a hero even to this day, and there is a UDC Mildred Lewis Rutherford chapter. In 1998, a Neo-Confederate publisher, Southern Lion Books, reissued her writings, celebrating her as a great defender of the South. This republication does not edit out the racism of Rutherford, and it includes writings such as "Reconstruction Was Not Just to the South – It Made the Ku Klux Klan a Necessity." In regards to history itself, Mildred Rutherford's grasp of history, and historiography must be regarded as self-delusional at best.