restricted access Stamping the Coin of Character: Elsie Dinsmore and the Power of Christian Wealth

With the 1867 novel Elsie Dinsmore (and seven of its many sequels), author Martha Finley explores the power wielded by Christian women who have access to money, the capability of controlling that money, and the charitable impulse to spread it around to those in need. Through Christian largesse tempered by the rational handling of money that she is taught as a child, Elsie has a powerful impact in the post-–Civil War rebuilding of the South. With Elsie’s distribution of her vast wealth, Finley suggests that Christian women could re-unite the states.