Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-xvi

While in the throes of doing research for a previous book on the Oregon trade-union movement’s changing relationship with nature, I spent what seemed like an eternity scrolling through microfilm in a small, windowless room at the Oregon Historical Society Library. The tedium was broken one afternoon when a younger patron noticed that we were both reading issues of the Oregon Labor Press from the Progressive Era. While talking about our reasons for interest in the source, I learned that she was...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Eleanor Florence Baldwin was a writer, though nothing she wrote has stood the test of time. Nor did any of her writings bring her much fame in her own day. Yet, however obscure she remains historically, she was not ignored. She wrote constantly, and most of her writings were published and read by others. Baldwin was a journalist, one of the few but growing number of women who gained employment writing newspaper copy during the Progressive Era, and who for three years wrote a daily...

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Chapter 1. The Spreading of Abolitionist Roots: The Baldwin Family’s Moral Economy

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pp. 19-54

On a Saturday in early February 1907, the old and venerable play Uncle Tom’s Cabin was twice performed at the Helig Theater in downtown Portland before crowded houses, once in the afternoon and then again in the evening. The leading Republican Party daily newspaper, the Oregonian, treated the performance as a trifle, albeit a popular one, noting the demand for tickets suggested that “All the children (including many old ones) in the city are going to see Uncle Tom and Little Eva.” Even...

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Chapter 2. A Vision of Progressive Womanhood

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pp. 55-96

By the time Eleanor Baldwin arrived in Portland, the women’s page had already been established as a staple of the urban newspaper. It was not unrelated to the Gilded Age rise of department stores, which by the 1890s had come to dominate retailing, and in so doing had created a new female commercial space in the middle of cities where female clerks sold a huge array of goods to female customers. These department stores became regular advertisers in the newspapers, and editors...

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Chapter 3. The Radical Assault on Capitalism

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pp. 97-130

Though the fashion industry’s relationship with its female customers served as an obvious subject for a column addressed to women readers, those installments in which Baldwin attacked its profit seeking at the expense of women’s health and nature’s balance were hardly exceptional. It was the impact on women that made the industry unique, and for that reason many women writers, especially feminists, understood dress reform as a means of establishing female independence. Yet Baldwin handled the...

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Chapter 4. The Certainty of Progress: New Thought and the New Age

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pp. 131-160

That Baldwin urged women to study political economy, that she suggested that thinking mattered, was nothing extraordinary for the era. While industrialization might have been the most apparent transformation that remade the Gilded Age landscape, tremendous changes in the development of the mind were occurring at roughly the same time. Universities and advanced study created specialized fields of knowledge, and the practitioners of these newly created disciplines often understood...

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Chapter 5. The World of War, Bolsheviks, and the Klan

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pp. 161-198

In “The Woman’s Point of View,” Eleanor Baldwin had articulated a progressive vision of the future predicated on the prior experience of abolition of slavery as an indicator of the potential of social improvement. The revolution of Southern social relations became a source of optimism about a future eradication of capitalist exploitation that she believed was equally bound for extinction. Her departure from the harsh moralism of her father’s Methodism for the optimistic New Thought world...

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Epilogue

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pp. 199-208

After three years of illness, Eleanor Baldwin died on December 26, 1928, having been attended to during her long decline by friends. She was remembered in local obituaries in ways that were consistent with the manner in which she had written about herself. Local newspapers noted that her father had been a minister and “active abolitionist,” and the Oregonian explained that she had “acquired her father’s love for freedom and devoted a considerable [part] of her life to writing for the...

Notes

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pp. 209-236

Bibliography

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pp. 237-248

Index

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pp. 249-253