Abstract

Emily Newell Blair played a major role in efforts to negotiate the meaning of political equality in the first decade of the Nineteenth Amendment. This examination of her choices as her role expanded from midwestern wife, mother, and clubwoman to include wage-earning writer and national political leader illustrates the complexities and ambiguous consequences of new options available to U.S. women in the early twentieth century. Women's groups anchored Blair's strategies for integrating party politics and sustained her as she struggled to balance leadership among women with leadership in politics. Resistance from male-dominated political structures deepened Blair's feminist analysis and in the 1930s inspired her to reconsider the potential for a kind of sex consciousness that she had rejected a decade earlier. Politically, Blair experienced the classic dilemma of being part of a structure one seeks to transform; personally, she faced the familiar conflict between public and private roles. Blair resolved both with some success, but her legacy lies in her ability to articulate the distance remaining between political realities and feminist goals for political equality.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 50-72
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-25
Open Access
No
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