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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Cornelia Phillips Spencer (1826-1908)

James Phillips's daughter was Cornelia Phillips Spencer, a widow with a sharp pen, a keen intellect, and a talent for political combat. Her book, The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina (1866), defended the conduct of President Swain and Governor Vance during the Confederacy's collapse. Spencer denounced the Republicans for alleged corruption, incompetence, and support for a new racial order. In a stream of articles, she called Pool "a little formal arrogant prig," dismissed the new faculty as "ex-negro teachers and scalawags," and attacked black suffrage. While lambasting Republicans, Spencer also championed public education, particularly for poor whites and women.