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Madam Belle

Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel

Maryjean Wall

Belle Brezing made a major career move when she stepped off the streets of Lexington, Kentucky, and into Jennie Hill's bawdy house -- an upscale brothel run out of a former residence of Mary Todd Lincoln. At nineteen, Brezing was already infamous as a youth steeped in death, sex, drugs, and scandal. But it was in Miss Hill's "respectable" establishment that she began to acquire the skills, manners, and business contacts that allowed her to ascend to power and influence as an internationally known madam.

In this revealing book, Maryjean Wall offers a tantalizing true story of vice and power in the Gilded Age South, as told through the life and times of the notorious Miss Belle. After years on the streets and working for Hill, Belle Brezing borrowed enough money to set up her own establishment -- her wealth and fame growing alongside the booming popularity of horse racing. Soon, her houses were known internationally, and powerful patrons from the industrial cities of the Northeast courted her in the lavish parlors of her gilt-and-mirror mansion.

Secrecy was a moral code in the sequestered demimonde of prostitution in Victorian America, so little has been written about the Southern madam credited with inspiring the character Belle Watling in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Following Brezing from her birth amid the ruins of the Civil War to the height of her scarlet fame and beyond, Wall uses her story to explore a wider world of sex, business, politics, and power. The result is a scintillating tale that is as enthralling as any fiction.

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Madam Chairman

Mary Louise Smith and the Republican Revival after Watergate

Suzanne O'Dea

 

“This biography of a very important Republican woman is a vital contribution to the historical scholarship on women’s partisan activism in the late twentieth century. O’Dea is clearly an expert on her subject.”—Melanie Gustafson, author of Women and the Republican Party: 1854–1924
 
For much of her career Mary Louise Smith stood alone as a woman in a world of politics run by men. After devoting over two decades of her life to politics, she eventually became the first, and only, woman chairman of the Republican National Committee. Suzanne O’Dea examines Smith’s rise and fall within the party and analyzes her strategies for gaining the support of Republican Party leaders.
Smith’s leadership skills grew from the time she worked in rural precincts. During her twenty-eight months as chairman, Smith dealt with highs and lows as she blazed not only a trail of her own but also one for the Republican Party, including assembling the team that kept the party intact following the devastation of Watergate. She was present during the party’s shift from moderate leadership, as exemplified by Ford, to the increasingly conservative leadership still seen today. Smith was an advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, a supporter of the pro-choice movement, and a proponent of gay rights.
Though handpicked by President Ford, Smith still found herself struggling against the party and at times even against the president himself. At one point Smith lost months of fundraising opportunities as a result of a disagreement with the president. She and her staff developed innovative strategies, still used in the party today, to attract desperately needed dollars from major donors. Even so, people within the administration as well as unnamed party leaders regularly intimated that Smith’s days as chairman were numbered. Even after leaving the chairmanship, Smith remained loyal to the party from which she felt increasingly alienated.
O’Dea uses extensive personal interviews with Smith and her staff at the RNC to recount not only Smith’s and the GOP’s changing fortunes but also the challenges Republican women faced as they worked to gain a larger party presence. These behind-the-scenes perspectives show the tactics and strategies of the Republican Party’s power struggles along with Smith’s own opinions about leadership style. With relevance to today’s political strategies and conservative shift, O’Dea highlights Mary Louise Smith’s mark on Republican history.    

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Madam Chief Justice

Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina

W. Lewis Burke Jr.

In Madam Chief Justice, editors W. Lewis Burke Jr. and Joan P. Assey chronicle the remarkable career of Jean Hoefer Toal, South Carolina's first female Supreme Court Chief Justice. As a lawyer, legislator, and judge, Toal is one of the most accomplished womenin South Carolina history. In this volume, contributors, including two United States Supreme Court Justices, federal and state judges state leaders, historians, legal scholars, leading attorneys, family, and friends, provide analysis, perspective, and biographical information about the life and career of this dynamic leader and her role in shaping South Carolina. Growing up in Columbia during the 1950s and 60s, Jean Hoefer was a youthful witness to the civil rights movement in the state and nation. Observing the state's premier civil rights lawyer Matthew J. Perry Jr. in court encouraged her to attend law school, where she met her husband, Bill Toal. When she was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1968, fewer than one hundred women had been admitted in the state's history. From then forward she was both a leader and a role model. As a lawyer she excelled in trial and appellate work and won major victories on behalf of Native Americans and women. In 1975, Toal was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and despite her age and gender quickly became one of the most respected members of that body. During her fourteen years as a House member, Toal promoted major legislation on many issuesincluding constitutional law, criminal law, utilities regulation, local government, state appropriations, workers compensation, and freedom of information. In 1988, Toal was sworn in as the first female justice on the Supreme Court of South Carolina, where she made her mark through her preparation and insight. She was elected Chief Justice in 2000, becoming the first woman ever to hold the highest position in the state's judiciary. As Chief Justice, Toal not only modernized her court, but also the state's judicial system. As Toal's two daughters write in their chapter, the traits their mother brings to her professional life--exuberance, determination, and loyalty--are the same traits she demonstrates in her personal and family life. As a child, Toal loved roller skating in the lobby of the post office,a historic building that now serves as the Supreme Court of South Carolina. From a child in Columbia to Madam Chief Justice, her story comes full circle in this compelling account of her life and influence. Madam Chief Justice features a foreword by Sandra Day O'Connor, retired associate justice of the United State Supreme Court, and an introduction by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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Madame Chair

A Political Autobiography of an Unintentional Pioneer

Jean Miles Westwood

Jean Westwood called herself an unintentional pioneer. Although she worked hard to achieve what she did, she did not actively seek or expect to reach what was arguably the most powerful political position any American woman had ever held, chair of the national Democratic Party.

A Utah national committeewoman and member of the reform committee that reorganized the party, Westwood answered George McGovern’s call to lead his presidential campaign. In the dramatic year of 1972, she became “chairman” of the party, McGovern lost in a landslide, Nixon was reelected, and a covert operation burglarized Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate.

Westwood provides an inside account of a period that reshaped national politics. Second-wave feminism—“women’s liberation”—and the civil rights and antiwar movements opened the way. As a major player in political reform, Jean Westwood both helped build that road and traveled it.

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The Madame Curie Complex

The Hidden History of Women in Science

Julie Des Jardins

Des Jardins uncovers the stories of prominent women scientists – from Rachel Carson to Jane Goodall to the women of the Manhattan Project—to explore how women often approach science differently than men. She offers insight into the barriers women in science face as well as their successes, and shows how socially defined gender roles have shaped scientific inquiry.

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Madame Vieux Carré

The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century

Celebrated in media and myth, New Orleans's French Quarter (Vieux Carré) was the original settlement of what became the city of New Orleans. In Madame Vieux Carré, Scott S. Ellis presents the social and political history of this famous district as it evolved from 1900 through the beginning of the twenty-first century. From the immigrants of the 1910s, to the preservationists of the 1930s, to the nightclub workers and owners of the 1950s and the urban revivalists of the 1990s, Madame Vieux Carré examines the many different people who have called the Quarter home, who have defined its character, and who have fought to keep it from being overwhelmed by tourism's neon and kitsch. The old French village took on different roles--bastion of the French Creoles, Italian immigrant slum, honky-tonk enclave, literary incubator, working-class community, and tourist playground. The Quarter has been a place of refuge for various groups before they became mainstream Americans. Although the Vieux Carré has been marketed as a free-wheeling, boozy tourist concept, it exists on many levels for many groups, some with competing agendas. Madame Vieux Carré looks, with unromanticized frankness, at these groups, their intentions, and the future of the South's most historic and famous neighborhood. The author, a former Quarter resident, combines five years of research, personal experience, and unique interviews to weave an eminently readable history of one of America's favorite neighborhoods.

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Made Flesh

Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England

By Kimberly Johnson

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Made-from-Bone

Trickster Myths, Music, and History from the Amazon

Jonathan D. Hill

Made-from-Bone provides the first complete set of English translations of narratives about the mythic past and its transformations from the indigenous Arawak-speaking Wakuenai of southernmost Venezuela. The central character throughout these primordial times is a trickster-creator, Made-from-Bone, who survives a prolonged series of life-threatening attacks. Carefully recorded and transcribed by Jonathan D. Hill, these narratives offer scholars of South America and other areas the only ethnographically generated cosmogony of contemporary or ancient native peoples of South America.

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Made in Africa

Learning to Compete in Industry

Carol Newman, John Page, John Rand, Abebe Shimeles, Måns Söderbom, and Finn Tarp

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Made In America

Self-Styled Success from Horatio Alger to Oprah Winfrey

Jeffrey Louis Decker

Brings gender, race, and ethnicity to bear on the myth of the “self-made man.” Made in America presents the first look at self-made men and women from a multicultural perspective. Jeffrey Louis Decker discusses the emergence of self-starters like Andrew Carnegie, Booker T. Washington, Madam C. J. Walker, Younghill Kang, and Lee Iacocca in relation to the changing consumer markets of the twentieth century. Decker locates the new breed of entrepreneurs within the changing rhetoric of personal success, which shifted its emphasis over the past century from religious “character” to psychological “personality” to celebrity “image.” The book concludes by surveying the life stories of enterprising celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Decker analyzes the autobiographical expressions of famous entrepreneurs, from Carnegie to Ross Perot, alongside more marginal ones in order to examine how mainstream society shapes and is shaped by the cultures of subordinate groups. In addition, he looks at the link between self-making and nation-building, and in doing so discovers the origins of another pervasive myth: the “American dream.” Underlying Decker’s study are these questions: What happened to the myth of self-making in America? If it is dead, what caused its demise? If it lives on, what form has it taken? Written in a lucid and engaging style, Made in America uncovers the richness, complexity, and diversity of self-styled success in our time. By bringing gender, race, and ethnicity to bear on the myth of the “self-made man,” this book provides a timely and fascinating reexamination of a traditional area of inquiry in American cultural studies. 200 pages Translation rights: University of Minnesota Press

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