Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Citizen, Louise W. Knight's masterful biography, reveals Addams's early development as a political activist and social philosopher. In this book we observe a powerful mind grappling with the radical ideas of her age, most notably the ever-changing meanings of democracy.
Citizen covers the first half of Addams's life, from 1860 to 1899. Knight recounts how Addams, a child of a wealthy family in rural northern Illinois, longed for a life of larger purpose. She broadened her horizons through education, reading, and travel, and, after receiving an inheritance upon her father's death, moved to Chicago in 1889 to co-found Hull House, the city's first settlement house. Citizen shows vividly what the settlement house actually was—a neighborhood center for education and social gatherings—and describes how Addams learned of the abject working conditions in American factories, the unchecked power wielded by employers, the impact of corrupt local politics on city services, and the intolerable limits placed on women by their lack of voting rights. These experiences, Knight makes clear, transformed Addams. Always a believer in democracy as an abstraction, Addams came to understand that this national ideal was also a life philosophy and a mandate for civic activism by all.
As her story unfolds, Knight astutely captures the enigmatic Addams's compassionate personality as well as her flawed human side. Written in a strong narrative voice, Citizen is an insightful portrait of the formative years of a great American leader.
“Knight’s decision to focus on Addams’s early years is a stroke of genius. We know a great deal about Jane Addams the public figure. We know relatively little about how she made the transition from the 19th century to the 20th. In Knight’s book, Jane Addams comes to life. . . . Citizen is written neither to make money nor to gain academic tenure; it is a gift, meant to enlighten and improve. Jane Addams would have understood.”—Alan Wolfe, New YorkTimes Book Review
“My only complaint about the book is that there wasn’t more of it. . . . Knight honors Addams as an American original.”—Kathleen Dalton, ChicagoTribune
Regionally distinct yet influenced by national trends, women's progressive
culture in Texas offers a valuable opportunity to analyze the evolution
of women's voluntary associations, their challenges to southern conventions
of race and class, and their quest for social change and political power.
Judith McArthur makes an important and accessible contribution to the
study of women's activism by tracing in detail how general concerns of
national progressive organizations—about pure food, prostitution,
and education reform—shaped programs at state and local levels. Southern
women differed from their Northern counterparts by devising new approaches
to settlement work and taking advantage of World War I to challenge southern
gender and racial norms. McArthur offers a unique analysis of how women
in Texas succeeded in securing partial voting rights before passage of
the Nineteenth Amendment.
Throughout her study, McArthur provides valuable comparisons between
North and South, among various southern states, and between black and
white, male and female progressives. This book will be very useful in
a wide range of courses on southern or women's history. A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Nancy A. Hewitt, and Stephanie Shaw
Elizabeth Packard's story is one of courage and accomplishment in the face of injustice and heartbreak. In 1860, her husband, a strong-willed Calvinist minister, committed her to an Illinois insane asylum in an effort to protect their six children and his church from what he considered her heretical religious ideas.
Upon her release three years later (as her husband sought to return her to an asylum), Packard obtained a jury trial and was declared sane. Before the trial ended, however, her husband sold their home and left for Massachusetts with their young children and her personal property. His actions were perfectly legal under Illinois and Massachusetts law; Packard had no legal recourse by which to recover her children and property.
This experience in the legal system, along with her experience as an asylum patient, launched Packard into a career as an advocate for the civil rights of married women and the mentally ill. She wrote numerous books and lobbied legislatures literally from coast to coast advocating more stringent commitment laws, protections for the rights of asylum patients, and laws to give married women equal rights in matters of child custody, property, and earnings. Despite strong opposition from the psychiatric community, Packard's laws were passed in state after state, with lasting impact on commitment and care of the mentally ill in the United States.
Packard's life demonstrates how dissonant streams of American social and intellectual history led to conflict between the freethinking Packard, her Calvinist husband, her asylum doctor, and America's fledgling psychiatric profession. It is this conflict--along with her personal battle to transcend the stigma of insanity and regain custody of her children--that makes Elizabeth Packard's story both forceful and compelling.
This young readers' biography showcases educator, woman's rights pioneer, and peace activist May Wright Sewall's important contributions to the history of Indianapolis, Indiana, the United States, and the world. Sewall helped to establish such Indianapolis institutions as the Girls' Classical School, the Indianapolis Woman's Club, the Contemporary Club, the Art Association of Indianapolis (today known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art) and the Indianapolis Propylaeum. She served as a valuable ally to such national suffrage leaders as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and gave the woman's movement a worldwide focus through her pioneering involvement with the American National Council of Women and the International Council of Women.
For half a century Lydia Maria Child was a household name in the United States. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Lydia Maria Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. Although best known today for having edited Harriet A. Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she pioneered almost every department of nineteenth-century American letters—the historical novel, the short story, children’s literature, the domestic advice book, women’s history, antislavery fiction, journalism, and the literature of aging. Offering a panoramic view of a nation and culture in flux, this innovative cultural biography (originally published by Duke University Press in 1994) recreates the world as well as the life of a major nineteenth-figure whose career as a writer and social reformer encompassed issues central to American history.
Mary E. Richmond (1861-1928) was a contemporary of Jane Addams and an influential leader in the American charity organization movement. In this biography--the first in-depth study of Richmond's life and work--Elizabeth N. Agnew examines the contributions of this important, if hitherto under-valued, woman to the field of charity and to its development into professional social work.
Orphaned at a young age and largely self-educated, Richmond initially entered charity work as a means of self-support, but came to play a vital role in transforming philanthropy--previously seen as a voluntary expression of individual altruism--into a valid, organized profession. Her career took her from charity organization leadership in Baltimore and Philadelphia to an executive position with the prestigious Russell Sage Foundation in New York City.
Richmond's progressive civic philosophy of social work was largely informed by the social gospel movement. She strove to find practical applications of the teachings of Christianity in response to the social problems that accompanied rapid industrialization, urbanization, and poverty. At the same time, her tireless efforts and personal example as a woman created an appealing, if ambiguous, path for other professional women. A century later her legacy continues to echo in social work and welfare reform.
Hilda Satt Polacheck's family emigrated from Poland to Chicago in 1892, bringing their old-world Jewish traditions with them into the Industrial Age. Throughout her career as a writer and activist, Polacheck (1882-1967) never forgot the immigrant neighborhoods, the markets, and the scents and sounds of Chicago's West Side. Here, in charming and colorful prose, she recounts her introduction to American life and the Hull-House community, her friendship with Jane Addams, her marriage, her support of civil rights, woman suffrage, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and her experiences as a writer for the WPA.
She went by many names—Mary Ann Keith, Ann Williams, Lauretta Williams, and more—but history knows her best as Loreta Janeta Velasquez, a woman who claimed to have posed as a man to fight for the Confederacy. In Inventing Loreta Velasquez, acclaimed historian William C. Davis delves into the life of one of America’s early celebrities, peeling back the myths she herself created to reveal a startling and even more implausible reality.
This groundbreaking biography reveals a woman quite different from the public persona she promoted. In her bestselling memoir, The Woman in Battle, Velasquez claimed she was an emphatic Confederate patriot, but in fact she never saw combat. Instead, during the war she manufactured bullets for the Union and persuaded her Confederate husband to desert the Army.
After the Civil War ended, she wore many masks, masterminding ambitious confidence schemes worth millions, such as creating a phony mining company, conning North Carolina residents to back her financially in a fake immigration scheme, and attracting investors to build a railroad across western Mexico. With various husbands, Velasquez sought her fortune both in the American West and in the Klondike, though her endeavors cost one husband his life. She also became a social reformer advocating on behalf of better prison conditions, the Cuban revolt against Spain, and the plight of Cuban refugees. Further, Velasquez was one of the first women to venture into journalism and presidential politics. Always a sensational press favorite, she displayed throughout her life an uncanny ability to manipulate popular media and to benefit from her fame in a way that prefigured celebrities of our own time, including using her testimony in a Congressional inquiry about Civil War counterfeiting as a means of promoting her latest business ventures.
So little has been known of Velasquez’s real life that some postmodern scholars have glorified her as a “woman warrior” and used her as an example in cross-gender issues and arguments concerning Hispanic nationalism. Davis firmly refutes these notions by bringing the historical Velasquez to the surface. The genuine story of Velasquez’s life is far more interesting than misguided interpretations and her own fanciful inventions.
Jane Addams: A BIOGRAPHY
James Weber LinnIntroduction by Anne Firor Scott University of Illinois Press, 1935 Library of Congress HV28.A35L5 2000 | Dewey Decimal 361.92
Jane Addams is most widely remembered as a founder of Hull House, but her social vision extended far beyond Chicago's Halsted Street. The first real adventurer in the unexplored territory of social amelioration in America, Addams worked tirelessly on behalf of a multitude of social causes, including industrial and educational reform, drug laws, sanitation, disaster relief, and food purity. In 1931 she won the Nobel Prize for Peace, a tribute to the decades of energy and eloquence she devoted to eradicating intolerance and elevating human life to a more humane standard.
James Weber Linn's life of this forceful public figure offers a rare glimpse of the private Addams, from her childhood and schooling through her first efforts in public service and her rise to a position of national influence. Linn's biography is based on Addams's personal papers, which she turned over to him before she died: files of her manuscripts, published and unpublished, along with all of her letters and papers, from her first valentine to her last speech. Out of this treasure trove, in combination with Addams's substantial published works, he has written a unique life of his aunt, beautifully illuminating her private reflections and inner strength as well as her formidable public persona.
Jane Addams, a Writer's Life
Katherine Joslin University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress HV40.32.A33J67 2004 | Dewey Decimal 361.92
Jane Addams, a Writer's Life is an expansive, revealing, and refreshing reexamination of the renowned reformer as an imaginative writer. Jane Addams is best known for her groundbreaking social work at Hull-House, the force of her efforts toward Progressive political and social reform, and the bravery of her commitment to pacifism, for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize. Katherine Joslin moves beyond this history to present Addams as a literary figure, one whose writing employed a synthesis of fictional and analytical prose that appealed to a wide audience.
Joslin traces Addams's style from her early works, Philanthropy and Social Progress and her contributions to Hull House Maps and Papers, influenced by Florence Kelley, to her modernist and experimental last books, The Second Twenty Years at Hull-House and My Friend, Julia Lathrop, placing Addams in the context of other Chicago writers including Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, Harriet Monroe, Frank Norris and James T. Farrell. Joslin's close readings showcase Addams's distinguishing literary devices, such as using stories about people rather than sociological argument to make moral points. As Joslin pursues the argument that Addams's power as a public figure stemmed from the success of her books and essays, Addams herself emerges as a literary woman.
Using a rich array of newly available sources and contemporary methodologies from many disciplines, the ten original essays in this volume give a fresh appraisal of Addams as a theorist and practitioner of democracy. In an increasingly interdependent world, Addams's life work offers resources for activists, scholars, policy makers, and theorists alike. This volume demonstrates how scholars continue to interpret Addams as a model for transcending disciplinary boundaries, generating theory out of concrete experience, and keeping theory and practice in close and fruitful dialogue.
Contributors are Harriet Hyman Alonso, Victoria Bissell Brown, Wendy Chmielewski, Marilyn Fischer, Shannon Jackson, Louise W. Knight, Carol Nackenoff, Karen Pastorello, Wendy Sarvasay, Charlene Haddock Seigfried, and Camilla Stivers.
This volume contains inspiring memoirs from sixteen women active in the civil rights movement, anti-war campaigns, and the rise of feminism in the Cold War era. It places religious activism at the center of social movements previously thought of as largely secular.
For thousands of young women in the 1950s and 1960s, involvement with the student Christian movement (SCM) changed their worldviews. Religious organizations fostered women’s leadership at a time when secular groups like Students for a Democratic Society, and the Left in general, relegated most female participants to stereotypical roles.
The SCM introduced young women to activism in other parts of the country and around the world. As leaders, thinkers, and organizers, they encountered the social realities of poverty and racial prejudice and worked to combat them. The SCM took women to Selma and Montgomery, to Africa and Latin America, and to a lifelong commitment to work for social justice.
In Kindred Nature, Barbara T. Gates highlights the contributions of Victorian and Edwardian women to the study, protection, and writing of nature. Recovering their works from the misrepresentation they often faced at the time of their composition, Gates discusses not just well-known women like Beatrix Potter but also others—scientists, writers, gardeners, and illustrators—who are little known today.
Some of these women discovered previously unknown species, others wrote and illustrated natural histories or animal stories, and still others educated women, the working classes, and children about recent scientific advances. A number of women also played pivotal roles in the defense of animal rights by protesting overhunting, vivisection, and habitat destruction, even as they demanded their own rights to vote, work, and enter universities.
Kindred Nature shows the enormous impact Victorian and Edwardian women had on the natural sciences and the environmental movement, and on our own attitudes toward nature and human nature.
Over the past twenty-five years, nongovernment organizations (NGOs) run by women and devoted to advancing women’s well-being have proliferated in Mexico and along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. In this sociological analysis of grassroots activism, Milagros Peña compares women’s NGOs in two regions—the state of Michoacán in central Mexico and the border region encompassing El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. In both Michoacán and the border region, women have organized to confront a variety of concerns, including domestic violence, the growing number of single women who are heads of households, and exploitive labor conditions. By comparing women’s activism in two distinct areas, Peña illuminates their different motivations, alliances, and organizational strategies in relation to local conditions and national and international activist networks.
Drawing on interviews with the leaders of more than two dozen women’s NGOs in Michoacán and El Paso/Ciudad Juárez, Peña examines the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and liberation theology on Latina activism, and she describes how activist affiliations increasingly cross ethnic, racial, and class lines. Women’s NGOs in Michoacán put an enormous amount of energy into preparations for the 1995 United Nations–sponsored World Conference on Women in Beijing, and they developed extensive activist networks as a result. As Peña demonstrates, activists in El Paso/Ciudad Juárez were less interested in the Beijing conference; they were intensely focused on issues related to immigration and to the murders and disappearances of scores of women in Ciudad Juárez. Ultimately, Peña’s study highlights the consciousness-raising work done by NGOs run by and for Mexican and Mexican American women: they encourage Latinas to connect their personal lives to the broader political, economic, social, and cultural issues affecting them.
Celebrated prison reformer Miriam Van Waters made history for her sensational battle to retain the superintendency of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women in 1949. Maternal Justice provides a compelling biography of this early lesbian activist by moving beyond the controversy to tell the story of a remarkable woman whose success rested upon the power of her own charismatic leadership.
Estelle B. Freedman draws from Van Waters's diaries, letters, and personal papers to recreate her complex personal life, unveiling the disparity between Van Waters's public persona and her agonized private soul. With the power and elegance of a novel, Maternal Justice illuminates this historical context, casting light on the social welfare tradition, on women's history, on the American feminist movement, and on the history of sexuality.
"Maternal Justice is as much a work of history as it is biography, bringing to life not only a remarkable woman but also the complex political and social milieu within which she worked and lived."—Kelleher Jewett, The Nation
"This sympathetic biography reclaims Van Waters for history."—Publishers Weekly
"The Van Waters legacy, as Freedman gracefully presents, is that she cared about the lives of women behind bars. It is a strikingly unfashionable sentiment today."—Jane Meredith Adams, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Editor's Recommended Selection
"This finely crafted biography is both an engrossing read and a richly complicated account of a reformer whose work . . . bridged the eras of voluntarist charitable activism and professional social service."—Sherri Broder, Women's Review of Books
"This is a sympathetic, highly personal biography, revealing of both the author's responses to her subject's life and, in considerable detail, Van Waters's family traumas, illnesses, and love affairs."—Elizabeth Israels Perry, Journal of American History
Wife, mother, schoolteacher, and politician, Meta Schlichting Berger became an activist at a time when women's role in public life -- indeed, evne their right to vote -- was hotly contested. Telling her story in her own words, Meta Berger reveals her transformation from a traditional wife and mother to an activist who held elective office for thirty years.
In the early 1970s construction began on a nuclear power plant at Laguna Verde in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Initially, most local citizens were largely unconcerned with the prospect of having the nuclear plant in their community. With the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, however, residents' complacency toward the power plant soon turned to opposition. Protest groups such as the Madres Veracruzanas emerged to join existing environmental groups in a fight to close down the facility. In Mothers and the Mexican Antinuclear Power Movement, Velma García-Gorena traces the protest movement against the Mexican government's Laguna Verde nuclear plant, outlining the movement's formation, development, and decline. Documenting the movement's key players and turning points in superb detail, she interweaves important historical narrative with a deft examination of the events, framing her analysis in terms of social movement literature. In a departure from the more conventional New Social Movements approach to analyzing antinuclear movements, García-Gorena demonstrates how, in many ways, movements of this kind are not so new and how a modified "political process" approach fits much better. With a sophisticated application of various social movements' paradigms, García-Gorena incorporates perspectives such as resource mobilization, political process paradigms, and feminist theory. Timely, well written, and thoroughly researched, Mothers and the Mexican Antinuclear Power Movement fills a major gap in the literature on grassroots environmental movements in Latin America. Both rich in empirical detail and convincing in its conclusions, this study provides a broader understanding of Mexican social movements and the quest for democracy in developing countries.
My Friend, Julia Lathrop
Jane Addams University of Illinois Press, 1935 Library of Congress HV28.L35A5 2004 | Dewey Decimal 362.7092
As one of the four members of the inner circle at Hull-House, Julia Lathrop played an instrumental role in the field of social reform for more than fifty years. Working tirelessly for women, children, immigrants and workers, she was the first head of the federal Children's Bureau, an ardent advocate of woman suffrage, and a cultural leader. She was also one of Jane Addams's best friends. My Friend, Julia Lathrop is Addams' lovingly rendered biography of a memorable colleague and confidant.
The memoir reveals a great deal about the influence of Hull-House on the social and political history of the early twentieth century. An introduction by long-time Addams scholar Anne Firor Scott provides a broader account of women's work in voluntary associations.
Author Stephanie Bayless examines why this Southern aristocratic matron, the daughter of a Confederate soldier, tirelessly devoted herself to improving the lives of others and, in so doing, became a model for activism across the South. It is the first work of its kind to consider Terry's lifelong commitment to social causes and is written for both traditional scholars and all those interested in history, civil rights, and the ability of women to create change within the gender limits of the time. Adolphine Fletcher Terry died in Little Rock, Arkansas, in July of 1976, at the age of ninety-three. Her life was a monument to progress in the South, particularly in her native state of Arkansas, a place she once described as "holy ground."
Political Woman: Florence
Sharon Strom Temple University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HQ1413.L87S77 2001 | Dewey Decimal 303.484092
Florence Hope Luscomb's life spanned nearly all of the twentieth century. Born into a remarkable family of abolitionists and progressive thinkers, the young Florence accompanied her feminist mother to lectures and political rallies, soon choosing a course of political engagement and social activism from which she never retreated.
Politcal Women counters the traditional narratives that place men at the center of political thinking and history. Showing how three generations of Luscomb's family had set the stage for her activism, this biography presents her story against the backdrop of Boston's politics and larger struggles for social justice. Luscomb participated in every significant social reform movement of her time -- from securing women's right to vote and supporting trade unionism to advocating an end to the war in Vietnam. Luscomb also ran for public office; she was narrowly defeated when she ran for Boston's city council in 1922. Although unsuccessful as a third-party candidate for Congress (in 1936 and 1950) and for Governor of Massachusetts (in 1952), she was one of the few women of her time to seek office. Independent, athletic, and spirited, she apparently never thought that traditional gender prescriptions applied to her. A practicing architect before the First World War, an exuberant hiker all her life, and a member in collective-living arrangements, Luscomb enjoyed a life of rich experiences and sustaining relationships.
In Florence Luscomb's biography, Sharon Hartman Strom suggests that although women were excluded from the activities and sites associated with conventional politics until recently, they did political work that gave purpose to their lives and affected political thinking in their communities, states, and ultimately the nation.
Susan Lynn explores women's progressive social reform efforts in the 1940s and 1950s, an era when women activists promoted a postwar vision of a society based on an expanded welfare state, a powerful labor movement, a strong tradition of civil liberties, racial equality, and a peaceful international order. Lynn focuses on two organizations, the YWCA and the American Friends Service Committee, to explore this agenda.
In the early twentieth century, shifting attitudes and new public health standards brought an unprecedented interest in and effort to regulate issues affecting reproduction and maternity. Maternal and infant health, nutrition, and medical care came under scrutiny, as did the issue of birth control. While the prior gained public support, the latter remained controversial. Though some reformers saw birth control as an important part of maternal welfare, others sought to separate it from more popular reforms. The careers of the four prominent but usually neglected reformers (Elizabeth Lowell Putnam, Ethel Sturges Dummer, Mary Ware Dennett, and Blanche Ames) examined in this book embody the struggle to define and resolve these tensions.
The study of these reformers offers a new perspective on more recognized leaders in the arena of reproductive health and rights, especially the U.S. Children's Bureau and Margaret Sanger. Putnam's elitism contextualizes the class politics of the Bureau, underscoring its sensitivity to the vulnerable and its innovative approach to public health. Dummer reminds us of roads not taken by policy makers in the Bureau, accentuating the differences between a child-centered and a woman-centered agenda. Dennett highlights the obstacles to women reformers in the formal political sphere, while Ames's penchant toward maternalism and compromise also led to difficulties. Together, they illustrate the complexities of formulating an effective approach to securing reproductive rights and health.
Among the great figures of Progressive Era reform, Edith and Grace Abbott are perhaps the least sung. Peers, companions, and coworkers of legendary figures such as Jane Addams and Sophonisba Breckinridge, the Abbott sisters were nearly omnipresent in turn-of-the-century struggles to improve the lives of the poor and the working-class people who fed the industrial engines and crowded into diverse city neighborhoods. Grace’s innovative role as a leading champion for the rights of children, immigrants, and women earned her a key place in the history of the social justice movement. As her friend and colleague Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, Grace was “one of the great women of our day . . . a definite strength which we could count on for use in battle.”
A Sister’s Memories is the inspiring story of Grace Abbott (1878–1939), as told by her sister and social justice comrade, Edith Abbott (1876–1957). Edith recalls in vivid detail the Nebraska childhood, impressive achievements, and struggles of her sister who, as head of the Immigrants’ Protective League and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, championed children’s rights from the slums of Chicago to the villages of Appalachia. Grace’s crusade can perhaps be best summed up in her well-known credo: “Justice for all children is the high ideal in a democracy.” Her efforts saved the lives of thousands of children and immigrants and improved those of millions more. These trailblazing social service works led the way to the creation of the Social Security Act and UNICEF and caused the press to nickname her “The Mother of America’s 43 Million Children.” She was the first woman in American history to be nominated to the presidential cabinet and the first person to represent the United States at a committee of the League of Nations.
Edited by Abbott scholar John Sorensen, A Sister’s Memories is destined to become a classic. It shapes the diverse writings of Edith Abbott into a cohesive narrative for the first time and fills in the gaps of our understanding of Progressive Era reforms. Readers of all backgrounds will find themselves engrossed by this history of the unstoppable, pioneer feminist Abbott sisters.
Although there has been a resurgence of scholarly interest in Jane Addams, much of the recent literature has dwelt more on her extraordinary and pioneering life than on the philosophical contribution of her twelve books and hundreds of published articles. This study is the first book-length work to focus entirely on Addams as a philosopher, a moral and political theorist who was steeped in the classic American Pragmatist tradition but who transcended that tradition to emphasize the significance of gender, race, and class.
Exploring Addams's contribution to epistemology, ethics, and feminist theory, Maurice Hamington sets the intellectual framework for Addams's social philosophy by discussing her influences, her particular brand of feminism, and finally her unique analytical perspective, which she described as "sympathetic knowledge." The book also investigates how Addams applied her social philosophy to issues of politics, women's rights, prostitution, business ethics, education, and religion.
Addams's philosophical work remains relevant to current feminist ethical discourse, and The Social Philosophy of Jane Addams leads to an understanding of a cosmopolitan theorist who eschewed ideological stances in favor of intermediary steps toward social progress.
Sophonisba Breckinridge's remarkable career stretched from the Civil War to the Cold War. She took part in virtually every reform campaign of the Progressive and New Deal eras and became a nationally and internationally renowned figure. Her work informed women’s activism for decades and continues to shape progressive politics today. Anya Jabour's biography rediscovers this groundbreaking American figure. After earning advanced degrees in politics, economics, and law, Breckinridge established the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, which became a feminist think tank that promoted public welfare policy and propelled women into leadership positions. In 1935, Breckinridge’s unremitting efforts to provide government aid to the dispossessed culminated in her appointment as an advisor on programs for the new Social Security Act. A longtime activist in international movements for peace and justice, Breckinridge also influenced the formation of the United Nations and advanced the idea that "women’s rights are human rights." Her lifelong commitment to social justice created a lasting legacy for generations of progressive activists.
"A very dangerous woman" is what Martha Coffin Wright’s conservative neighbors considered her, because of her work in the women’s rights and abolition movements. In 1848, Wright and her older sister Lucretia Mott were among the five brave women who organized the historic Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention. Wright remained a prominent figure in the women’s movement until her death in 1875 at age sixty-eight, when she was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. At age twenty-six, she attended the 1833 founding of the American Anti-Slavery Society and later presided over numerous antislavery meetings, including two in 1861 that were disrupted by angry antiabolitionist mobs. Active in the Underground Railroad, she sheltered fugitive slaves and was a close friend and supporter of Harriet Tubman. In telling Wright’s story, the authors make good use of her lively letters to her family, friends, and colleagues, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These letters reveal Wright’s engaging wit and offer an insider’s view of nineteenth-century reform and family life. Her correspondence with slaveholding relatives in the South grew increasingly contentious with the approach of the Civil War. One nephew became a hero of the Confederacy with his exploits at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and her son in the Union artillery was seriously wounded at Gettysburg while repelling Pickett’s Charge. Wright’s life never lacked for drama. She survived a shipwreck, spent time at a frontier fort, experienced the trauma of the deaths of a fiancé, her first husband, and three of her seven children, and navigated intense conflicts within the women’s rights and abolition movements. Throughout her tumultuous career, she drew on a reservoir of humor to promote her ideas and overcome the many challenges she faced. This accessible biography, written with the general reader in mind, does justice to her remarkable life.
Ceniza provides a dramatic rereading of Walt Whitman's poetry through the lens of 19th-century feminist culture.
Walt Whitman and 19th-Century Women Reformers documents Whitman's friendships with women during the 1850s, the decade of Whitman's most creative period. The book reveals startling connections between the Þrst three editions of Leaves of Grass and the texts generated by the women he knew during this period, many of whom were radical activists in the women's rights movement.
Sherry Ceniza argues that Whitman's editions of Leaves became progressively more radically 'feminist' as he followed the women's rights movement during the 1850s and that he was influenced by what he called the 'true woman of the new aggressive type . . . woman under the new dispensation.' Ceniza documents the progression of the National Woman's Rights movement through the lives and writings of three of its leaders- Abby Hills Price, Paulina Wright Davis, and Ernestine L. Rose. By juxtaposing the texts written by these women with Leaves, Ceniza shows that Whitman used many of the same arguments and rhetorical gestures as his female activist friends.
The book also discusses the influence of women engaged in women's rights outside the National Woman's Rights organization. And Ceniza's opening chapter is devoted to a fresh interpretation of the life and thought of another strong-minded woman who influenced the poet's writing-Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, Walt Whitman's mother.
Sabine N. Meyer eschews the generalities of other temperance histories to provide a close-grained story about the connections between alcohol consumption and identity in the upper Midwest.
Meyer examines the ever-shifting ways that ethnicity, gender, class, religion, and place interacted with each other during the long temperance battle in Minnesota. Her deconstruction of Irish and German ethnic positioning with respect to temperance activism provides a rare interethnic history of the movement. At the same time, she shows how women engaged in temperance work as a way to form public identities and reforges the largely neglected, yet vital link between female temperance and suffrage activism. Relatedly, Meyer reflects on the continuities and changes between how the movement functioned to construct identity in the heartland versus the movement's more often studied roles in the East. She also gives a nuanced portrait of the culture clash between a comparatively reform-minded Minneapolis and dynamic anti-temperance forces in whiskey-soaked St. Paul--forces supported by government, community, and business institutions heavily invested in keeping the city wet.
In this richly illustrated study, Carol Mattingly examines the rhetoric of the temperance movement, the largest political movement of women in the nineteenth century.
Tapping previously unexplored sources, Mattingly uncovers new voices and different perspectives, thus greatly expanding our knowledge of temperance women in particular and of nineteenth-century women and women's rhetoric in general. Her scope is broad: she looks at temperance fiction, newspaper accounts of meetings and speeches, autobiographical and biographical accounts, and minutes of national and state temperance meetings.
The women's temperance movement was first and foremost an effort by women to improve the lives of women. Twentieth-centuty scholars often dismiss temperance women as conservative and complicit in their own oppression. As Mattingly demonstrate, however, the opposite is true: temperance women made purposeful rhetorical choices in their efforts to improve the lives of women. They carefully considered the life circumstances of all women and sought to raise consciousness and achieve reform in an effective manner. And they were effective, gaining legal, political, and social improvements for women as they became the most influential and most successful group of women reformers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Mattingly finds that, for a large number of women who were unhappy with their status in the nineteenth century, the temperance movement provided an avenue for change. Examining the choices these women made in their efforts to better conditions for women, Mattingly looks first at oral rhetoric among nineteenth-century temperance women. She examines the early temperance speeches of activists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who later chose to concentrate their effort in the suffrage organizations, and those who continued to work on behalf of women primarily through the temperance topic, such as Amelia Bloomer and Clarina Howard Nichols. Finally, she examines the rhetoric of members of the Woman’ s Christian Temperance Union— the largest organization of women in the nineteenth century.
Mattingly then turns to the rhetoric from perspectives outside those of mainstream, middle-class women. She focuses on racial conflicts and alliances as an increasingly diverse membership threatened the unity and harmony in the WCTU. Her primary source for this discussion is contemporary newspaper accounts of temperance speeches.
Fiction by temperance writers also proves to be a fertile source for Mattingly's investigation. Insisting on greater equality between men and women, this fiction candidly portrayed injustice toward women. Through the temperance issue, Mattingly discovers, women could broach otherwise clandestine topics openly. She also finds that many of the concerns of nineteenth-century temperance women are remarkably similar to concerns of today’ s feminists.
A pathbreaking contribution to Latin American testimonial literature, When a Flower Is Reborn is activist Rosa Isolde Reuque Paillalef’s chronicle of her leadership within the Mapuche indigenous rights movement in Chile. Part personal reflection and part political autobiography, it is also the story of Reuque’s rediscovery of her own Mapuche identity through her political and human rights activism over the past quarter century. The questions posed to Reuque by her editor and translator, the distinguished historian Florencia Mallon, are included in the text, revealing both a lively exchange between two feminist intellectuals and much about the crafting of the testimonial itself. In addition, several conversations involving Reuque’s family members provide a counterpoint to her story, illustrating the variety of ways identity is created and understood.
A leading activist during the Pinochet dictatorship, Reuque—a woman, a Catholic, and a Christian Democrat—often felt like an outsider within the male-dominated, leftist Mapuche movement. This sense of herself as both participant and observer allows for Reuque’s trenchant, yet empathetic, critique of the Mapuche ethnic movement and of the policies regarding indigenous people implemented by Chile’s post-authoritarian government. After the 1990 transition to democratic rule, Reuque collaborated with the government in the creation of the Indigenous Development Corporation (CONADI) and the passage of the Indigenous Law of 1993. At the same time, her deepening critiques of sexism in Chilean society in general, and the Mapuche movement in particular, inspired her to found the first Mapuche feminist organization and participate in the 1996 International Women’s Conference in Beijing. Critical of the democratic government’s inability to effectively address indigenous demands, Reuque reflects on the history of Mapuche activism, including its disarray in the early 1990s and resurgence toward the end of the decade, and relates her hopes for the future.
An important reinvention of the testimonial genre for Latin America’s post-authoritarian, post-revolutionary era, When a Flower Is Reborn will appeal to those interested in Latin America, race and ethnicity, indigenous people’s movements, women and gender, and oral history and ethnography.
This is the first comprehensive history of the Women's Joint Congressional Committee (WJCC), a large umbrella organization founded by former suffrage leaders in 1920 in order to coordinate organized women's reform. Encompassing nearly every major national women's organization of its time, the WJCC evolved into a powerful lobbying force for the legislative agendas of twelve million women, and was recognized by critics and supporters alike as "the most powerful lobby in Washington."
Through a close examination of the WJCC's most consequential and contentious campaigns, Jan Doolittle Wilson demonstrates organized women's strategies and initial success in generating congressional and grassroots support for their far-reaching, progressive reforms. By using the WJCC as a lens through which to analyze women's political culture during the 1920s, the book also sheds new light on the initially successful ways women lobbied for social legislation, the inherent limitations of that process for pursuing class-based reforms, and the enormous difficulties faced by women trying to expand public responsibility for social welfare in the years following the Nineteenth Amendment's passage.
A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Susan Armitage, Susan K. Cahn, and Deborah Gray White
The journal of Frances E. Willard nineteenth-century America's most renowned and influential
Woman had been hidden away in a cupboard at the National WCTU headquarters,
and its importance eluded Willard's biographers. Writing Out My Heart
publishes for the first time substantial portions of the forty-nine volumes
rediscovered in 1982. They open a window on the remarkable inner life
of this great public figure and cast her in a new light. No other female
political leader of the period left a private record like this.
Best known for her powerful
leadership of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), at that time
the nation's largest organized body of women, Willard was a world-class
reform leader and feminist. How she achieved this stature has been
documented. This compelling journal reveals why.
Written during her teens,
twenties, and fifties, the journal documents the creation of Frances Willard's self. At the same time, it often reads like a good novel. It stands
as one of the most explicit and painful records in the nineteenth century
of one woman's coming to terms with her love for women in a heterosexual
Other sections reveal what
impelled Willard to reform the nature and depth of the religious
dimension of her life a dimension not yet adequately explored by
any biographer. Here we see her growing commitment to the "cause
The volumes written in her
late middle age give insight into the years when, world famous, she was
part of the transatlantic network of reform, battling ill health, dealing
with controversy in the WCTU, and grieving for her mother, a lifelong
figure of emotional support. This finale concludes one of the most fascinating
of the journal's themes: the nineteenth-century confrontation with sickness
Drawn from one of the richest
sources in documentary history, knowledgeably introduced and annotated, Writing Out My Heart is a biographical goldmine, rich in the themes
and institutions central to women's lives in nineteenth-century America.