In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

2Oi o Book Reviews54g tion in Dallas) diat have received definitive treatment elsewhere. QuestforJustice is a not entirely unrewarding book, but for an essentially biographical work it falls short of striking the perfect balance between macro- and micro-level discussions. It really needed to provide less of the former and more of the latter. Truman State UniversityJasonJ. McDonald Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950. By Heidi J. Osselaer, forward by Janet Napolitano (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009. Pp. 240. Illustrations, map, tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780816527335, $45.00 cloth.) Winning Their Place is a fascinating study documenting die efforts of AngloAmerican women to achieve woman suffrage and win elective office in Arizona from 1 883 to 1 950. The book adds to a growing body ofliterature that explains the early enfranchisement ofwomen in the West, and it makes an important contribution to our understanding ofwomen in partisan and electoral politics, a relatively new area in the historiography. Like other recent studies ofwoman suffrage in die West, Heidi Osselaer argues that suffragists in Arizona began during the 1 890s to cultivate working-class support, form alliances witii reform movements such as populism and progressivism, and use party competition to achieve votes for women. One particularly important factor in engendering popular support for suffrage in Arizona was the fact that women had a relatively high rate of labor force participation , with married and widowed women outnumbering single women (an unusual and significant demographic). Victory came after statehood was achieved in 1912. With the active support of state's labor unions and the Socialist Party, the backing of the state's Progressives, and the eventual (while reluctant) endorsements of the major parties, the women's suffrage initiative gained 68 percent ofthe popular vote (the largest popular vote for suffrage in any state in the nation) (49). After winning suffrage, Arizona women led the nation in achieving elective office. From 1914-1928, Arizona's female politicians held elective offices deemed appropriate for women, including county school superintendent, clerk, recorder, and treasurer. Some more ambitious women policymakers also served in the state legislature (especially in the house) where they were placed on education and social welfare committees. While female politicians remained connected to organized womanhood and its maternalist agenda, they received vital support from a group that has not received much attention in the historiography up to now, the Business and Professional Women's Clubs (BPW). Osselaer stresses that female office holders saw themselves as working women; especially as working mothers who used their public service to both support their families and expand careers for professional women. Osselaer sees the 1930s as an era of change for Arizona's female politicians. Female candidates continued to run on maternalist platforms, but they now focused on broader economic issues. They increasingly came from legal or business backgrounds and served on committees in the state legislature new to women (industrial, agricultural, banking, and appropriations). During the 1940s, women 550Southwestern Historical (QuarterlyApril became even more "seasoned politicians who operated much like the men of the legislature," and they branched into such formerly "male" positions as city council members, county sheriffs, and superior courtjudges (148). I am not entirely convinced that women politicians became "legislators first and women second" (162) Osselaer documents many continuities in die politics of female elected officials in the 1930s and 1940s, as they continued to champion maternalist concerns, cluster in the social welfare committees of the state legislature, and define themselves as independent-minded feminists in campaigns for female jury service and access to birth control. Osselaer's evidence suggests a different argument to me: that while women integrated themselves more fully into the political system, they also continued traditions rooted in the autonomy of women's organizations and an evolving feminist political agenda. Although I may quibble with some ofOsselaer's arguments, Winning TheirPlace is a wonderful book, full of lively political women and new insights about their activism. I would like to see other scholars develop the tantalizing threads Osselaer briefly exposes in this monograph: the political activism of nonwhite women in Arizona, the trajectory of women's politics in the increasingly Republican state of the post...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 549-550
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.