Bridging Two Eras: The Autobiography of Emily Newell Blair, 1877-1951

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First written in 1937 and never before published, Bridging Two Eras is the fascinating autobiography of Emily Newell Blair, a remarkable woman who successfully reconciled a productive public life with the traditional values of a housewife and mother.

Because Blair's life essentially spanned two eras, from the end of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth, she thought of herself as a bridge builder. A dedicated feminist, she wanted her autobiography to help women understand what life was like during that transition time. She had moved from being a conventional, middle-class, midwestern wife and mother to becoming an acclaimed author, a nationally known feminist, and vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee only two years after women gained the right to vote. She felt that her story could encourage women to take their rightful places in public life.

Bridging Two Eras is divided into two parts. Book I is a charming evocation of life in southwest Missouri in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It offers great insight into family relationships, class structure, and social attitudes typical of much of small-town America. Book II addresses Blair's public career and follows her progress as professional writer, suffrage activist, and partisan politician. Included are acute judgments of leading political figures, fascinating vignettes of the suffrage movement, an insider's view of the workings of the national Democratic Party in the 1920s and 1930s, and a valuable outlook on Missouri politics during the first third of the twentieth century.

Perceptive and introspective, Blair captivates her readers as she traces her own evolution. With candor, she explains her conflicts between family and career, acknowledging the difficulties and tensions she faced in pursuing a public life. Delightfully written, Bridging Two Eras provides valuable insight into all the possibilities, as well as the limitations, life then held for an American woman.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826212542
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor

Virginia Jeans Laas is Associate Professor of History at Missouri Southern State College in Joplin. She is the author or editor of several books, most recently Love and Power in the Nineteenth Century: The Marriage of Violet Blair.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Emily Newell Blair xi
The Autobiography xvix
Chronology xxiii
Book 1 Nineteenth-Century Life
1 "Go West, Young Man" 3
2 Mover's Blood 9
3 Waiting for Her Carriage 14
4 School Days in the Eighties 18
5 Midwest 25
6 More of the Midwest 32
7 Our Droll Generation 36
8 Adolescent Mixture 43
9 Girlhood 52
10 Grown Up at Last 61
11 Broken Circle 68
12 Young Lady 73
13 Blessed Be the Dabblers 81
14 On to Matrimony 90
15 Role of Wife 98
16 Bleacher Seat 102
Book 2 Twentieth-Century Life
1 The Fertile Years 131
2 Small-Town Writer 142
3 Woman's Suffrage--1914 Style 156
4 The Middle of the Bridge 168
5 World War I 179
6 Point and Counterpoint 185
7 Edging into Politics 197
8 Standing the Gaff 215
9 The "Outs" Were the "Ins" 222
10 Wooing the Minority 231
11 My Fairy Godmother 235
12 Campaigning for Congress 249
13 Tug of War 258
14 The Dog's Tail 266
15 Women's Way of Winning 274
16 Tickets, Please! 282
17 Emotional Spectacle 290
18 Magnificent--but Not Winning 299
19 Printer's Ink 306
20 Stomping Ground 311
21 Republican Game and Democratic Religious Revival 318
22 All Things to All Men 327
23 Democratic Stock 332
24 Political Swan Song 342
25 So Far 349
Bibliography 359
Index 373
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