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Using Women's History Sources in the Archives at the Library of Virginia
Women comprised the majority of church members in Virginia, and proved to be energetic volunteers and able fundraisers. Women raised money for orphanages, organized Sunday school picnics, and supported female missionaries. Minutes kept by the Dorcas Society at Court Street Methodist Church in Lynchburg, for example, detail home missionary work, listing members, contributions, and the names of poor children clothed by the group. At Beulah Baptist Church in King William County, members of the Ladies Missionary Society plied their needles to clothe the poor, and also outfitted the church’s preachers and the county’s Confederate soldiers, being careful (at their pastor’s warning) not to overstep “the bounds allotted to our sex.” Other churches with active women’s groups include First Baptist Church (Hillsville), the Ladies’ Foreign Missionary Union (Richmond City), Liberty Baptist Church (Appomattox County), and the Seventh Street Christian Church (Richmond City). Additional records, including those for Monthly Meetings of Women Friends, are listed in A Guide to Church Records in the Library of Virginia (Richmond, 2001).