Varina Anne Banks Howell Davis was the only First Lady of the Confederate States of America, and the longtime second wife of President Jefferson Davis. She moved to a house in Richmond, Virginia, in mid-1861, and lived there for the remainder of the American Civil War. Born and raised in the South and educated in Philadelphia, she had family on both sides of the conflict and unconventional views for a woman in her public role. She did not support the Confederacy's position on slavery, and was ambivalent about the war.
Davis became a writer after the American Civil War, completing her husband's memoir. She was recruited by Kate Pulitzer, a purportedly distant cousin of Varina’s husband and wife of publisher Joseph Pulitzer, to write articles and eventually a regular column for the New York World. Widowed in 1889, Davis moved to New York City with her youngest daughter Winnie in 1891 to work at writing. She enjoyed urban life. In her old age, she attempted to reconcile prominent figures of the North and South.