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This Day in Georgia History

July 16, 1851

Mildred Lewis Rutherford Born

To read a publication by Mildred Lewis Rutherford, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Mildred Lewis Rutherford was born in Athens, Georgia. Niece of T.R.R. Cobb, she attended the Lucy Cobb Institute, a school for girls founded by Cobb in 1859. Age age 29, she returned to the institute as president, principal, and teacher. Never marrying, “Miss Millie” devoted the next 40 years of her life to giving young ladies a proper and “genteel” education. Rutherford developed a second passion - vindicating the cause for which the Confederacy fought and telling the “truths” of history - she wrote a book by that title in 1920. One of her cardinal truths was that the War Between the States (as she insisted it must be called) was fought not over slavery but interference with states rights. As she explained, “slavery happened to be one of the state rights most interfered with.” Rutherford became historian-general of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was active in forty-nine different historic, patriotic, and other women’s organizations. A dynamic speaker, she went on a crusade across the nation giving speeches to women’s groups in 45 of the 48 states in the nation with titles such as “The Wrongs of History Righted” and “The Civilization of the Old South” Often for her speeches, she dressed in an antebellum-type dress she bought in Paris and powdered her hair. Rutherford died on Aug. 15, 1928, in Athens and was buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery.