For sixty years Susan Clay Sawitzky struggled against the values assimilated in her youth, ideals shared by her Old World husband and American society in general. She wrote poignantly about confinement and freedom in the privacy of her study and published a small amount of poetry and art history. But she was not an exceptional woman; she could not take the risks necessary to achieve the degree of success she coveted. The detailed record she left reveals the forces, both subtle and complex, that compromised her dreams and accomplishments. Lindsey Apple employs nearly seventy years of Susan Clay Sawitzky's personal letters and poetry to reconstruct the world of a woman seeking modernity with "the millstone of tradition" upon her shoulders.
Women's historians have traditionally emphasized progress, particularly when created by women themselves. But the majority of women were not activists. The author, professor and chair of history at Georgetown college, employs nearly 70 years of Sawitzky's personal letters and poetry to reconstruct the world of a woman who wrote poignantly about confinement and freedom but could not take the risks necessary to achieve the success she coveted. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.