Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Mary Niall Mitchell

Second Advisor

Dr. Connie Atkinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Mizell-Nelson


Margaret Haughery (1813-1882), a widowed, illiterate Irish immigrant who became known as “the Bread Woman” of New Orleans and the “Angel of the Delta” had grossed over $40,000 by the time of her death. She owned and ran a dairy farm and nationally-known bakery, donated to orphanages, leased property, owned slaves, joined with business partners and brought lawsuits. Although Haughery accomplished much in her life, she is commonly remembered only for her benevolent work with orphans and the poor. In 1884, a statue of her, posed with orphans, was erected by the city’s elite, one of the earliest statues of a woman in the nation. This thesis argues that it was Haughery’s willingness to engage in the mundane business practices of the day, including slaveholding, that made her veneration as a benefactress possible. Using acts of sale, property records, wills, newspaper articles, advertisements, and representations of Haughery, this thesis explores the life behind the image of the “Bread Woman.”


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.