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Book Reviews135 One could continue to find flaws, but one should not overlook the strengths of this work. Mabee has begun to reorder a chapter ofhistory that certainly is in need of re-ordering. He has re-invigorated the intellectual exercise of history-asdetective story. And he has done so in a low-keyed but certainly not somnolent way. This is a kind ofhistory "no one does anymore," but maybe more historians should. It is very nice to have Truth back. Haverford CollegeEmma Jones Lapsansky One Woman 's PassionforPeace andFreedom: The Life ofMildred Scott Olmsted. By Margaret Hope Bacon. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1993. xx + 394 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography and index. $34.95. Mildred Scott Olmsted (1 890-1990), life long peace activist and supporter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), fifty-year member ofProvidence Meeting, a working mother and active into her nineties, is someone feminists, peace activists, and Friends will want to know more about. That much ofher activism was generated, as Bacon argues, as "a battle to preserve her own sense of self, a battle that was sometimes painful to herself and others" only makes her story more interesting and human (Bacon, 352, 353). Margaret Hope Bacon, a member of the Society of Friends, has been writing books about Quakers since 1 969 when The Quiet Rebels: The Story ofthe Quakers in America came out. Her other writings mcludeLamb's Warrior: TheLife ofIsaac T. Hopper; Valiant Friend: The Life ofLucretia Mott; and Mothers ofFeminism: The Story ofQuaker Women in America. Bacon's presence and interpretation are present throughout; at times her stories of writing the biography threaten to usurp the narrative, but at other times seem wholly necessary to better understand the discrepancies between Mildred Olmsted's recollections as a nonagenarian and those of others and to appreciate this woman who had such contradictory effects on people. Olmsted herselffelt that from her childhood she actually had four personalities: Joseph, the efficient one; Jane, the athlete; Judy, the artist; and Jonathan, the visionary. Bacon has worked to achieve a balance between letting Mildred Scott Olmsted interpret herself and being faithful to the reports of those who worked closely with her. Her equally active lawyer husband offifty five tumultuous, often acrimonious years, observed: "I spend my time trying to settle disputes between citizens according to rules and reason, and I cannot settle disputes in my own family. You [Mildred] devote yourself to peace among nations and races and cannot keep the peace in your own home" (Bacon 220). Bom into a family where her father wished she had been a boy and her mother was emotionally distant, Bacon interprets Mildred a being a "victim of the pervasive sexism that she challenged all her life" (Bacon 352). For Bacon, part of this victimization was never being "woman identified," but always modeling herselfafter men, particularly her father. As a result she had a strong desire to control, particularly in political situations where she seemed tobe unable to trust the group to reach a right decision. The resulting tensions distressed her, but she seemed to be unable to understand how she contributed to them. Jane Addams, her idol and mentor, called her "that brash young woman from Philadelphia" (Bacon 155). The book is enhanced with 29 photographs, interspersed throughout the texts 136Quaker History at appropriate places. One can see Mildred grow from a three-month-old baby to a ninety-four-year-old woman. Photographs of her husband, Allen Olmsted, and Mildred's life-long friend, Ruth Mellor, are also included as well as thoughtful pictures ofMildred, the elder stateswoman, telling her story to the next generation ofwomen like Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, Eleanor Smeal and Coretta Scott King. The book is a carefully researched account ofboth public and private life of a complex woman. Written with sensitivity to both Olmsted's strengths and weaknesses , it is also a wonderful resource for those interested in the historical inner workings of WILPF and the twentieth-century peace movement in general. Earlham CollegeCarol Hunter J. Walter Malone: The Autobiography ofan Evangelical Quaker. Ed. by John W. Oliver. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1993. xv + 105 pp. Illustrations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 135-136
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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