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The American New Woman Revisited

A Reader, 1894-1930

Edited by Martha H. Patterson

Publication Year: 2008

In North America between 1894 and 1930, the rise of the "New Woman" sparked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world. As she demanded a public voice as well as private fulfillment through work, education, and politics, American journalists debated and defined her. Who was she and where did she come from? Was she to be celebrated as the agent of progress or reviled as a traitor to the traditional family? Over time, the dominant version of the American New Woman became typified as white, educated, and middle class: the suffragist, progressive reformer, and bloomer-wearing bicyclist. By the 1920s, the jazz-dancing flapper epitomized her. Yet she also had many other faces. Bringing together a diverse range of essays from the periodical press of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Martha H. Patterson shows how the New Woman differed according to region, class, politics, race, ethnicity, and historical circumstance. In addition to the New Woman's prevailing incarnations, she appears here as a gun-wielding heroine, imperialist symbol, assimilationist icon, entrepreneur, socialist, anarchist, thief, vamp, and eugenicist. Together, these readings redefine our understanding of the New Woman and her cultural impact.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii-xi


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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. 1-25

Although scholars disagree as to when the phrase New Woman was coined, the 1894 exchange between British writers Sarah Grand and Ouida in the North American Review certainly brought it into general circulation. Immediately, the New Woman sparked debate on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world. Who was she and where did she come from? What did she represent? Would she last? Was she to...

Part 1: Defining the New Woman in the Periodical Press

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“The New Aspect of the Woman Question," Sarah Grand

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pp. 29-34

The literary exchange between British New Woman novelist Sarah Grand (1854–1943) and Ouida, a popular antifeminist novelist, made the New Woman into a cultural phenomena. Born with the name Frances Bellenden-Clarke, married at sixteen, and soon thereafter a mother, Grand, after twenty years of marriage, made a startling life change. With the proceeds she earned from sales of her first...

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“The New Woman,” Ouida

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pp. 35-42

Born to an English mother and French father, Marie Louise de La Ramée (1839–1908) adopted the pen name Ouida with her first published story in 1859. Most of Ouida’s extensive body of short stories and romantic novels, including Under Two Flags (1867), her most popular, were published in Britain and the United States. Later in life she published a series of essays critical of women’s...

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“The Campaign Girl,” Kate Masterson

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pp. 43-45

Journalist Kate Masterson (1871?–1927) was raised in Brooklyn and began her career by writing poems for Judge and Puck. She published under a number of sobriquets, including Kittie Kelly, Lady Kate, and Little Kate, and was known for her poetry and humor pieces, which circulated in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Smart Set, Life, and Lippincott’s Magazine. In 1894 she...

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“Here Is the New Woman”

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pp. 46-48

In 1860, Philadelphia journalist Alexander Cummings founded the New York World as a religious Republican penny paper. When in 1883 Joseph Pulitzer purchased the paper, which included a valuable Associate Press franchise, the paper was struggling. With staffers he brought from St. Louis, Pulitzer immediately revamped the style and sensationalized the content of the paper to focus on...

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“Bloomers at the Bar”

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pp. 49-51

By the late nineteenth century, the National Police Gazette was the most popular tabloid of its day. Begun by George Wilkes in 1845, it profiled New York’s most wanted criminals and exposed their methods. In 1878 an Irish journalist, Richard K. Fox, with borrowed money, turned the debt-burdened paper into a sixteen-page quarto printed on pale pink paper and aggressively expanded its distribution. ...

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“The New-Woman Santa Claus”

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pp. 52-53

Hoping to capitalize on the success of the comic magazine Puck, a group of artists lead by James Albert Wales left Puck and formed Judge in 1881, a weekly, sixteen-page quarto satirical magazine filled with chromolithographs—brightly colored, inexpensive illustrations—and selling for a dime. Shortly thereafter, Philadelphia author Albert H. Smyth and Harry Hart took over the magazine. William J.Arkell...

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“The New Negro Woman," Mrs. Booker T. Washington

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pp. 54-59

Born in Macon, Mississippi, Margaret James Murray (1865–1925) earned her college degree from Fisk University in 1889. Upon graduation, she began teaching at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, where she was employed as lady principal and director of the Department of Domestic Service. She married Booker T. Washington in 1892. As an educator, clubwoman, and essayist, Washington...

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“Woman in Another New Role”

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pp. 60-61

Frank A. Munsey, the son of a poor farmer-carpenter, grew up to become a leader in the field of low-cost, high-profit American magazine publishing at the turn of the century. His publication Munsey’s Weekly, begun in 1889 as a ten-cent, thirty-sixpage magazine modeled on the satirical Life, changed its size, price, and periodicity in 1891 to become the twenty-five-cent, ninety-six-page monthly titled Munsey’s...

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"The New Woman": An Address by Emma Goldman before the Liberal Progressive Society

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pp. 62-63

Born in Lithuania, a part of the Russian Empire, Emma Goldman (1869–1940) arrived in the United States in 1885 and took a number of jobs in the garment industry before meeting Alexander Berkman, who would become a lifelong comrade and mentor, and growing committed to the anarchist cause. As an anarchist, Goldman espoused a political philosophy that advocated individual freedom and...

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“Women in the Territories: Some of Their Achievements in Fields of Energy Generally Filled By Men—Typical Examples, Including a Mining Speculator and a Cowboy”

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pp. 64-68

The New York Times was founded in 1851 as a penny daily, but after Adolph S. Ochs took it over in 1896, he sought to make it the gold standard of American newspapers. While Pulitzer’s New York World and Hearst’s New York Journal pursued sensational topics to boost their already thriving circulations, the Times, Ochs announced, would take a different path. It would be a “high-standard...

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“The ‘New Woman’ Got the Drop on Him”

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pp. 69-70

When in 1886 Harrison Gray Otis became the president, general manager, and editor in chief of the Los Angeles Daily Times, he immediately dropped the “Daily” from its title and built a four-story brick and granite headquarters, called the Fortress, replete with castle-looking stone turrets and containing the most technologically advanced printing presses of the day. Otis sought to make the paper...

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“The Negro Woman—Social and Moral Decadence,” Eleanor Tayleur

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pp. 71-77

In New York in 1867, Henry E. Childs began a Baptist newspaper called the Church Union, but soon thereafter the famous Congregationalist minister and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher took over editorship and renamed the newspaper the Christian Union to signify a broader religious stance. By 1893, the periodical under the editorship of Lawrence F. Abbott had evolved once again...

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“Bicycle Number”

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pp. 78-79

This cover from Judge appeared shortly after the United States declared war with Spain on April 20, 1898. By the end of the war, the United States had annexed the Hawaiian Islands, gained control of the Panamanian isthmus, and had acquired Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, while making Cuba a virtual protectorate. In the pages of Judge, the bicycle became a symbol of both the New Woman and...

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“Ise Gwine ter Give You Gals What Straddle,” Edward Kemble

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pp. 80-81

Compared with the humor magazines Puck and Judge, which were larger, color filled, and raucous, John Ames Mitchell’s Life offered Americans a more genteel chuckle. Despite a shaky beginning in 1883, Mitchell’s Life became “the most influential cartoon and literary humor magazine of its time,” largely because of the popularity of its black-and-white illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson and...

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“St. Valentine’s Number,” Charles Dana Gibson

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pp. 82-83

Tall, distant, elegant, and white, with a pert nose, voluminous upswept hair, corseted waist, and large bust, the Gibson Girl, as rendered by Charles Dana Gibson in his pen-and-ink drawings of the American girl, offered a popular version of the New Woman that both sanctioned and undermined women’s desires for progressive sociopolitical change and personal freedom at the turn of the century. Although...

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“The Flapper,” H.L. Mencken

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pp. 84-86

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956) became known as the Great Iconoclast for his sardonic journalism and literary criticism. In one of his many book reviews for the Smart Set, which he began co-editing with George Jean Nathan in 1914, Mencken described himself as “a mocker of all sweet and lovely things, a professional snickerer, a saucy fellow by trade.” Commuting from Baltimore to “Sodom and Gomorrah” twice...

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“The New Negro Woman”

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pp. 87-88

When in November 1917 A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen began the Messenger, they marketed it as “the Only Radical Negro Magazine in America.” As a critic of World War I and champion of socialism in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the magazine faced harassment and surveillance throughout more than half of its ten-year history. Although Randolph and Owen criticized...

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“A Bit of Life,” Russell

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pp. 89-90

In 1879, African American journalists T. Thomas Fortune and Walter Sampson came to New York and invested in George Parker’s struggling tabloid the Rumor. Fortune immediately called for a name change to the Globe, which subsequently became the Freeman, and then the New York Age in 1887. For his long career in journalism, including his work at the Age, Fortune became known as the “dean of...

Part II: Women’s Suffrage and Political Participation

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“The New Woman of the New South,” Josephine K. Henry

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pp. 93-97

Kentucky-born Josephine Kirby Williamson Henry (1846–1928) seized the new women’s rights discourse to demonstrate that southern women wanted the vote. By 1890 Kentucky had still not granted married women the right to own or inherit property, make a will, or receive wages, making them, according to Henry, virtual nonentities.1 Working in conjunction with the Kentucky Equal Rights...

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“Foibles of the New Woman,” Ella W. Winston

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pp. 98-102

In 1886 Isaac Leopold Rice organized the Forum Publishing Company in New York and hired Lorettus Sutton Metcalf to act as editor. Under Metcalf, the Forum became recognized for its meticulous editing and its editorial policy, which emphasized the importance of including the opinions of experts on the most timely issues of the day. The monthly magazine offered both sides of controversial...

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“In the Public Eye”

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pp. 103-104

In 1889 Frank A. Munsey began the periodical that would become the leader in low-cost, high-profit American monthlies. By 1893 he charged ten cents for Munsey’s Magazine, which included extensive advertisements, heavily illustrated articles on famous public figures and performers, as well as serial fiction and poetry. Borrowing an eye-catcher from lowbrow entertainment, he also initially...

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“Suffragette [to the Bearded Lady]: How Do You Manage It?” Augustus Smith Daggy

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pp. 105-106

Augustus Smith Daggy (1858–1942) was a Connecticut artist who illustrated for Harper’s Weekly as well as Life. By the 1910s, as the suffrage debate intensified, Life’s satiric attacks on suffragists and women seeking careers outside the home became sharper. In September 1910, the humor magazine launched a series of essays from “Miss Priscilla Jawbones as Suffragette Editor.” Concurrently, it ran “Life’s Suffrage Contest” and offered $300 to...

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“Women’s Rights: and the Duties of Both Men and Women,” Theodore Roosevelt

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pp. 107-113

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) served as the police commissioner of New York City, assistant secretary to the navy, governor of New York, vice president of the United States, and the twenty-sixth president of the United States (1901–1909) after the assassination of President William McKinley. A progressive reformer, Roosevelt devoted much of his presidency on the home front to breaking up...

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“Movie of a Woman on Election Day”

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pp. 114-116

With the exception of the Philadelphia Tribune founded in 1884, the Baltimore Afro-American has been in print longer than any other black newspaper in the United States. It was founded in 1892 by the Reverend William Alexander and bought in 1897 by a former slave, John H. Murphy Sr., who ran the paper until his death in 1922. In 1905 the Afro-American defined its mission as “first to present to...

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“Squaws Demand ‘Rights’: Penobscot Indian Women Want Vote: Privilege in Tribal Elections”

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pp. 117-118

In 1877 Stilson Hutchins founded the Washington Post in the nation’s capital as a Democratic daily paper. In 1889, Frank Hatton and Beriah Wilkins purchased the paper and made it officially nonpartisan; under their leadership, the Post grew steadily more influential and successful. World War I provided a boost to the paper when thousands flocked to the capital to work in jobs related to the war...

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“The New Woman: What She Wanted and What She Got,” Frederick L. Collins

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pp. 119-123

A “dynamo who never seemed to tire,” Frederick Lewis Collins (1882–1950) was a leading voice in magazine publishing and editing in the early twentieth century. From 1906 to 1911, Collins edited the Woman’s Home Companion. From 1911 to 1921, he served as president of McClure Publications, and from 1915 to 1920 he worked as managing editor of McClure’s Magazine, a journal famous for its...

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“La Mujer Nueva” [The New Woman], Clotilde Betances Jaeger

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pp. 124-126

Clotilde Betances Jaeger (1890–197?), grandniece of Puerto Rico’s foremost nineteenth-century independence leader Ramón Emeterio Betances, wrote articles on a wide range of issues, including the Puerto Rican independence movement, feminism, music, literature, and socialism. Born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, she moved to the United States in 1912 to attend Cornell University, from which she...

Part III: Temperance, Social Purity, and Maternalism

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“At Home with the Editor,” Edward Bok

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pp. 129-131

Born in the Netherlands in 1863, Edward Bok immigrated to the United States with his family in 1870. In 1886 he syndicated a weekly gossip column directed to women in the New York Star called “Bab’s Babble,” and later he expanded it to include commentary from the famous poet and New Thought advocate Ella Wheeler Wilcox. In 1889 Bok became editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal, and like...

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“The New Woman,” Rev. Ella E. Bartlett

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pp. 132-134

Ella E. Bartlett (1849–?), an ordained minister in the Universalist society, was born in Connecticut and lectured throughout the East Coast and upper Midwest promoting women’s suffrage, prohibition, and labor reform. Bartlett’s article “The New Woman,” reprinted here, originally was illustrated with line drawings of journalist and lecturer Kate Field, Jane Addams, Frances Willard, and Susan B. ...

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“The New Woman,” Lillian W. Betts

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pp. 135-136

The “new woman” has been the subject for illustration and description more or less in earnest. She is described as smoking, drinking, and demanding what she calls liberty. This seems to be not the liberty of law, but of license; the right to live without restraint. So vivid have the descriptions become, the artists, the writers, the speakers are so terribly in earnest, that we must accept the fact that they believe that...

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“Miss Willard on the ‘New Woman’ ”

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pp. 137-139

Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839–1898) was born in Churchville, New York, but grew up in the rural Midwest and graduated from North Western Female College in Evanston, Illinois, in 1860. After teaching in Methodist schools in the Midwest, Willard became dean of women at the Woman’s College of Northwestern University. Shortly thereafter she resigned her post as dean and...

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“The Chinese Woman in America,” Sui Seen Far [Edith Eaton]

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pp. 140-144

Born in Cheshire, England, to an English father, Edward Eaton, and a Chinese mother, Grace Trepesis (or Trefusious), Edith Maud Eaton (1865–1914) wrote for the Canadian Montreal Star and Dominion Illustrated, and briefly for the Kingston, Jamaica, Gall’s Daily News Letter, before moving to a series of cities, primarily on the West Coast of the United States, in search of work. Adopting a...

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“The New Woman,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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pp. 145-146

In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) along with Lucretia Mott and several others met in Seneca Falls, New York, to draft the first public protest against women’s political, social, and economic oppression. Included in this “Declaration of Sentiments” was the demand for the right to vote, a cause to which Stanton would devote her life, becoming the first president of the National American...

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“The New Womanhood,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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pp. 147-150

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935), née Charlotte Anna Perkins, was the most influential feminist intellectual at the beginning of the twentieth century. In her best-known work, Women and Economics: The Economic Relation between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution (1898), Gilman argued that traditional marriage (for Anglo-Saxon middle-class women) was akin to prostitution because...

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“Alte und Neue Frauen” [Of Old and New Women], Frau Anna

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pp. 151-154

Founded in 1834 by Adolph Neumann, the upper-middle-class New Yorker Staats- Zeitung was the oldest, most respected, and most openly pro-German of the city’s German-language dailies.1 In 1845 Neumann sold the paper to a Bavarian typesetter, Jakob Uhl, who married a women named Anna Behr a year later. Behr set type for the paper and ran it after her husband’s death in 1852. Increasingly, she...

Part IV: The Women’s Club Movement and Women’s Education

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“Women’s Department,” Edited by Pauline E. Hopkins

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pp. 157-159

In 1900, four Virginians—Harper S. Fortune, Jessie Watkins, Walter Alexander Johnson, and Walter W. Wallace—moved to Boston to form the Co-operative publishing firm and issue the first “general purpose” magazine to serve black Americans, the Colored American Magazine. In its early years, the Colored American offered biblical stories, fiction, and articles on a range of topics, including...

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“A Girl’s College Life,” Lavinia Hart

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pp. 160-163

In addition to writing for Cosmopolitan, Collier’s Weekly, and the New York World, Lavinia Hart authored When a Maid Marries: Being a Discussion of Certain Vital Problems in the Home (1904). Even as Hart celebrated motherhood as the “supreme moment in the life of woman,”she published articles focusing on women’s career achievements.1 Hart’s article “A Girl’s College Life” was published by Cosmopolitan, a magazine...

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“The Typical Woman of the New South,” Julia Magruder

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pp. 164-167

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Julia Magruder (1854–1907) claimed an illustrious southern heritage as the niece of Confederate general John Bankhead Magruder. In addition to writing essays and short stories for a number of magazines, she wrote novels, including Across the Chasm (1885), in which the love between a northerner and a southerner brings national harmony, and Princess...

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“Rough Sketches: A Study of the Features of the New Negro Woman,” John H. Adams Jr.

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pp. 168-171

In the early twentieth century, John Henry Adams Jr. (1880–?) served as an art instructor at Morris Brown College in Atlanta.He illustrated extensively first for the Voice of the Negro and later in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s for the Crisis. “Rough Sketches: A Study of the Features of the New Negro Woman”appeared in the August 1904 Voice of the Negro, an issue devoted to the St. Louis World’s Fair. According to...

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“The Modern Indian Girl”

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pp. 172-175

Published in 1909 in the Indian Craftsman, “The Modern Indian Girl” was written during a period when the federal government and private organizations were attempting to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream, white American society. Many progressives saw assimilation as the only way of saving Indians from extinction, which seemed imminent. Predictions of a “Vanishing American”...

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“Lo! The New Indian. Mohawk Belle”

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pp. 176

Founded in 1871 as a politically independent newspaper, the Los Angeles Express (also the Los Angeles Evening Express) was in 1903 the city’s oldest daily newspaper and a fierce rival of the Los Angeles Times. Purchased in 1901 by Edwin Earl, the Express became known for endorsing progressive initiatives and for its owner’s legendary animosity toward the Times’s anti-trade union Harrison Gray Otis.1...

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“The Sacrifice”

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pp. 177-178

Founded in May 1905 by Robert Abbott, the Chicago Defender would become the most important black newspaper in the United States. Across its masthead ran the motto “American Race Prejudice Must Be Destroyed.” From an initial circulation of 300 copies distributed in Chicago, the paper grew steadily. In 1910, demand surged after the paper adopted many of Hearst’s sensational writing...

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“Professional Training”

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pp. 179

Begun in 1921, College Humor was one of the most popular of the college humor magazines. In 1923 it charged thirty-five cents. It offered collections of quips, short articles, and illustrations from college magazines across the country. The following illustration originally appeared in the University of Washington’s Sun Dodger. ...

Part V: Work and the Labor Movement

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“The New Woman”

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pp. 183-184

Born in Cork, Ireland, Mary Harris Jones (1837–1930), better known as Mother Jones, emigrated to the United States as a child but was raised in Toronto, Canada. As an adult she worked in Memphis, Tennessee, where she met and married her husband, a member of the International Iron Molder’s Union, and bore four children. In 1867 she lost her husband and children to a yellow fever...

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“The New Woman and Her Ways: The Woman Farmer,” Maude Radford Warren

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pp. 185-187

After earning a Ph.B. and Ph.M. from the University of Chicago, Canadian-born Maude Lavinia Radford Warren (1875–1934) taught literature and composition there from 1893 to 1907 before beginning a successful career as a professional writer, primarily as a journalist and writer of children’s books. During World War I, she served as a war correspondent, and many of her articles on Russia and the threat of bolshevism...

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“Debemos Trabajar” [We Must Work], Astrea

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pp. 188-189

As a borderland city, Laredo, Texas, consisted primarily of Mexican residents, many of whom had lived in the area long before the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo created the U.S.-Mexican border at the Rio Grande River. When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, Laredo’s population rose sharply as Mexicans fled their home country to find work and political refuge in the United States. ...

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“New Jobs for New Women,” Virginia Roderick

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pp. 190-192

Stella Virginia Roderick (1880?–1965) completed a master’s thesis in English at Columbia University in 1903 and thereafter spent much of her professional career in New York. After contributing to Everybody’s Magazine for a number of years, she served as its managing editor from 1919 to 1921, where she was known as S. V. Roderick. Afterward she became editor of the Woman Citizen (begun in...

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“A New Woman?” Dorothy Weil

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pp. 193-199

Born in New York, Dorothy Weil (1894–1949) moved to Chicago sometime before 1910. She earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Chicago in 1923, became a junior college teacher, and served as president of Chicago’s Federation of Woman High School Teachers. In a letter to the New Republic in August 1916, she appears to have renounced her association with the Masses by...

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“The Negro Woman Teacher and the Negro Student,” Elise Johnson McDougald

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pp. 200-202

The daughter of Mary Whittle Johnson, a white English woman, and Peter Johnson, the third African American physician to practice in New York City and one of the founders of the National Urban League, Gertrude Elise Johnson McDougald (1885–1971) became in 1924 the first African American full principal of a public school in New York City. She began teaching in the New York public schools in...

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“Pin-Money Slaves,” Poppy Cannon

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pp. 203-209

In 1930, after the stock market crash of November 1929, 4.5 million people were listed as unemployed; by 1931 the figure was almost double. The Depression resulted in a profound readjustment in women’s work roles. Even as some women were being pushed into wage work by dire necessity, others were being urged to avoid or quit paid work, in the interest of making more jobs available to men. ...

Part VI: World War I and Its Aftermath

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Cover of Hearst’s Magazine

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pp. 213-214

Hearst’s Magazine began in Chicago in 1901 as the home-study periodical Current Encyclopedia and then during 1902-1912 became the public affairs-centered World To-Day. Finally, William Randolph Hearst acquired the magazine in 1911, moved it to New York, and in 1912 changed its name to Hearst’s. To boost circulation, Hearst reduced the magazine’s page size to compete with the Saturday...

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“A Farewell Letter to the Kaiser from Every Woman,” Helen Rowland

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pp. 215-217

Born in Washington,D.C., but of Virginia parentage,Helen Rowland (1876–1950) was a popular journalist and humorist famous for her satirical epigrams on the topic of marriage. She began writing “verse, dialogues, and short interviews with authors” for the Washington Post after her father died and she needed a job. Thereafter she wrote for a number of newspapers, including the Sunday newspaper...

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“The New America, the American Jewish Woman: A Symposium,” Mrs. Caesar Misch

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pp. 218-220

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania (although some sources list her birthplace as Newark, New Jersey), Marion Simon Misch (1869–1941) studied with Rabbi de Sola Mendes and at age fourteen organized the first Jewish Sabbath school in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania. In 1900 (some sources say 1890), she married Caesar Misch and had one son. After marrying, the couple moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and opened...

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“What the Newest New Woman Is,” Harriet Abbott

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pp. 221-223

Under the longtime editorship of Edward Bok, the Ladies’ Home Journal had over many years opposed women’s suffrage. But when Bok retired from the magazine in 1919 and suffrage became law, the Journal accepted in part women’s new role and offered articles on how women’s votes might change politics. At the same time, however, the magazine did not endorse the Equal Rights Amendment. In...

Part VII: Prohibition and Sexuality

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“What Shall We Do with Jazz?” Martha Lee

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pp. 227-232

In 1868, in the midst of Reconstruction and with Georgia still under federal military rule, Atlanta lawyer and businessman Carey Wentworth Styles started the Atlanta Constitution. Evan P. Howell bought into the paper in 1876 and became its president and editor-in-chief until his death in 1897. In the 1880s, during Howell’s tenure, the paper became a leading voice for economic development in...

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“Exodo de Una Flapper” [Exodus of a Flapper], Jorge Ulica

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pp. 233-235

Julio G. Arce (1870–1926), son of a respected physician in Guadalajara, started his first newspaper when he was fourteen. Eventually he would become one of the most important journalists in the Mexican American community of the southwestern United States. In Cuilican, Sinaloa, he cofounded his first magazine and the city’s first daily newspaper, earned an appointment as a professor of Spanish, ...

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“Sweet Sexteen,” John Held Jr.

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pp. 236-237

Whether dancing the Charleston, rolling dice, or crashing the car, the gangly and independent flappers as drawn by John Held Jr. epitomized the restlessness of the Jazz Age and made Held the most famous and highest-paid graphic artist of the 1920s. Born in Salt Lake City in 1889, he moved to New York in 1910 and began illustrating for Vanity Fair, Puck, Life, and Judge, while freelancing for College...

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“The ‘Outrageous’ Younger Set: A Young Girl Attempts to Explain Some of the Forces That Brought It Into Being,” Elizabeth Benson

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pp. 238-242

Elizabeth Benson was a child prodigy who at the age of twelve scored 214 on a Binet-Simon IQ test—at the time the highest score recorded in the United States. She wrote the essay that follows for Vanity Fair when she was a thirteen-year-old sophomore at Barnard College. Benson’s Vanity Fair essays were later collected and published as The Younger Generation (1927).1...

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“Fumando Espero” [Smoking I Wait], Alberto O’Farrill

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pp. 242-245

Alberto O’Farrill, the original editor of Gráfico (1926–1931), drew most of the illustrations for the magazine during its first two years. Most of O’Farrill’s cartoons satirized the flapper, sometimes with risqué double entendres. In addition, Gráfico contributing editor and writer Jesús Colón, one of the most influential Hispanic columnists in the New York community during his day, frequently criticized...

Part VIII: Consumer Culture, Leisure Culture, and Technology

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“The Eternal Feminine,” Jas. H. Collins

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pp. 249-252

Born in Detroit, James Hiram Collins (1873–?) enjoyed a successful career as an advertising agent and writer for periodicals, including Printers’ Ink, the Saturday Evening Post, McClure’s Magazine, the New York Times, and the Ladies’ Home Journal. Sometimes using a pseudonym, John Mappelbeck, and sometimes his own name, he contributed numerous articles throughout the first three decades...

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“Battle Ax Plug”

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pp. 253-254

Almost from her inception, the New Woman was featured in advertising and used to sell a wide range of products. Even in the Ladies’ Home Journal, where the editorial policy under Edward W. Bok was anti-New Woman, ads appeared using her image to sell goods. Patent medicines marketed to women faced a quandary when telling their customers that they would feel like a “new woman” after using the...

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“The Athletic Woman,” Anna de Koven

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pp. 255-257

Born in Chicago to U.S. Senator Charles B. Farwell and Mary E. Smith Farwell, Anna Farwell (1860–1953) married Reginald de Koven in 1884. Reginald became a successful composer of comic operas and a music critic, and the couple socialized in New York’s most elite circles. Anna de Koven distinguished herself with her translations of French fiction, her novels, and biographies, in addition to...

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“The Woman of the Future,” Thomas A. Edison As Recorded in an Interview By Edward Marshall

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pp. 258-266

Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931), the “wizard of Menlo Park” and author of the following article, patented over a thousand inventions, including the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and the motion picture. In 1911, Edison consolidated his business ventures into Thomas A. Edison, Inc., a larger, more diversified and streamlined company, with the goal of sustaining a market for his...

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“The Woman’s Magazine,” Jeannette Eaton

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pp. 267-268

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jeannette Eaton (1886–1968) earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar and, in 1910, a master’s degree from Ohio State University. It appears that she first spoke publicly in support of women’s suffrage after college. In 1915, working as a “vocational investigator” under the auspices of the Co-operative Employment Bureau for Girls in Cleveland, she co-authored...

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“Famous Bobbed-Hair Beauties”

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pp. 269-271

To many African Americans who faced continued bigotry despite their migration north, and violence despite service to their country during World War I, Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey was a “Black Moses” who offered a message of self-help, black separatism, race pride, and the promise of returning to Africa on black-financed ships. Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement...

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“From Ping Pong to Pants”

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pp. 272-273

Photoplay Magazine, the “queen of the fan magazines,” began in Chicago in 1911 as a ten-cent motion picture magazine for movie enthusiasts and quickly became successful. The publication focused on the films of independent studios rather than those of larger film companies and featured profiles of actors and actresses, illustrated stories about movies, and a few departments, including “Answers to...

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“Daughters of the Sky,” Vera L. Connolly

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pp. 274-276

American journalist Vera L. Connolly (1888–1964) wrote articles on juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, sweatshops, and American Indians. Her work appeared in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Colliers, and Woman’s Home Companion.1 The Connolly article that follows was published in Delineator, a periodical founded in 1873 as a fashion magazine,which went on to become...

Part IX: Evolution, Birth Control, and Eugenics

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“Effeminate Men and Masculine Women,” William Lee Howard, M.D.

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pp. 279-281

The usually sober Dictionary of American Medical Biography (1928) provides an unusual entry for Dr. William Lee Howard (1860–1918). Howard A. Kelly, joint author of the Dictionary, describes Howard as “an eccentric, irresponsible character whose native ability was wasted in a desultory, rambling life, and in neglect of those codes which society has erected as safeguards to the perpetuity of the race. ...

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“The Evolution of Sex in Mind,” Henry T. Finck

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pp. 282-286

Henry Theophilus Finck (1854–1926) served as music critic for the New York Evening Post (formerly the Nation) for forty-three years. Finck also wrote about philosophy, psychology, and travel in addition to music and was credited with being the first to argue that romantic love and personal beauty were modern products of civilization and unknown to the “lower races.” He published a number of books, including...

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“The New Woman Monkey” and “Evolution”

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pp. 287-289

The artist of “The New Woman Monkey” was Rudolph E. Leppert (1872–1949), who began his career on the art staff of the New York Herald and served for many years as the art director of the Literary Digest.1 Born in Springfield, Ohio, Walter Earnest Tittle (1883–1966), the illustrator of “Evolution,” studied art under William M.Chase, Robert Henri, ...

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“Flapper Americana Novissima,” G. Stanley Hall

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pp. 290-296

Granville Stanley Hall (1844–1924), one of the founding fathers of American psychology, focused his analysis on the lives of children, “primitives,” and women. Along with a belief that acquired characteristics could be inherited, Hall adopted German Darwinian Ernst Haeckle’s famous “recapitulation” argument, in which “every individual organism repeats in its own life history the life history...

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“The New Woman: In the Political World She Is the Source of All Reform Legislation and the One Power That Is Humanizing the World,” Saydee E. Parham

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pp. 297-299

Marcus Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in his native Jamaica in 1914. Later, in 1917, he moved its headquarters to Harlem, and by the early 1920s the UNIA had thousands of chapters throughout the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For many African Americans who had migrated north and who had...

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“The New Woman in the Making,” Leta S. Hollingworth

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pp. 300-305

Leta Anna Stetter Hollingworth (1886–1939) earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University in 1916 and then joined the faculty there, where she built a distinguished career critiquing biological reasons for sex differences in achievement, analyzing the characteristics of exceptional children, and promoting eugenics. In Functional Periodicity (1914), Hollingworth debunked...

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“La Mujer Nueva” [The New Woman], Clotilde Betances Jaeger

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pp. 306-309

Clotilde Betances Jaeger (1890–197?), grandniece of Puerto Rico’s foremost nineteenth-century independence leader Ramón Emeterio Betances, published essays on a wide range of topics including the Puerto Rican independence movement, feminism, music, literature, and socialism. Born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, she moved to the United States in 1912 to attend Cornell University, from...


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pp. 311-330


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pp. 331-340

About the Editor

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pp. 341

E-ISBN-13: 9780813544946
E-ISBN-10: 0813544947
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813542959
Print-ISBN-10: 0813542952

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 25 illustrations
Publication Year: 2008

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Women's rights -- United States -- History.
  • Women -- United States -- History.
  • Minority women -- United States -- History.
  • Feminism -- United States -- History.
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