New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era / Edition 1

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Overview

American Catholic women rarely surface as protagonists in histories of the United States. Offering a new perspective, Kathleen Sprows Cummings places Catholic women at the forefront of two defining developments of the Progressive Era: the emergence of the "New Woman" and Catholics' struggle to define their place in American culture. Cummings highlights four women: Chicago-based journalist Margaret Buchanan Sullivan; Sister Julia McGroarty, SND, founder of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., one of the first Catholic women's colleges; Philadelphia educator Sister Assisium McEvoy, SSJ; and Katherine Eleanor Conway, a Boston editor, public figure, and antisuffragist. Cummings uses each woman's story to explore how debates over Catholic identity were intertwined with the renegotiation of American gender roles.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richly diversified primary research conducted in numerous archives, buttressed by a wealth of secondary literature. . . . Cummings's insightful assessment of the religious vision and personal goals of women standing on shifting Catholic ground proves one of the major strengths of her book. . . . There is much here for those interested in America's heartland. . . . A readable and original contribution to the literature of Catholic womanhood, professed and secular. . . . Highly recommended to scholars of gender and religion."--Indiana Magazine of History

"An important contribution. . . . Cummings's strategy of explicating the dual identity of American Catholic women through the lives of four 'exceptional' women works exceedingly well. She expertly weaves between biography and social history, expanding her analysis outward onto broad issues. . . . With subtlety, insight, and detailed research, Cummings elucidates religion and gender in the Progressive Era by considering American Catholic women as important historical agents."--Journal of Religion

"Exquisitely written. . . .A ground-breaking contribution to gender studies. . . . Will capture the interest of both armchair and professional historians."--Annals of Iowa

"An important contribution. . . . With subtlety, insight, and detailed research, Cummings elucidates religion and gender in the Progressive Era by considering American Catholic women as important historical agents."--Journal of Religion

"Makes a major contribution to women's history by taking seriously religion as a category of analysis for understanding Progressive Era reform impulses. . . . More than a study of Catholic reformers, this book helps us understand why many religious women rejected feminism and yet acted as feminists."--Church History

"Clear prose and sophisticated analysis. . . . Cummings' careful analysis encourages historians of women to consider the limits of the Second-Wave narrative."--Reviews in American History

"An enjoyable read. . . . Cummings has exhausted scores of manuscript collections, newspapers, and secondary sources to construct a lively narrative that enhances our understanding of American women during the Progressive Era."--Journal of American History

"Elegantly written. . . . This volume takes us to places we have never been before."--American Catholic Studies

"This well-written and finely nuanced book makes an important contribution to scholarship in Catholic history and American women's history."--The Catholic Historical Review

"Fascinating. . . . Will assuredly appeal to anyone interested in the story of American Catholicism and the growth of the American immigrant church. . . . A fresh perspective on the struggles [of] Catholic women."--America

"A timely, enlightening book--required reading for those who wish to understand the religious landscape of the Progressive Era and the historical background of today's culture wars. Highly recommended."--Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807871522
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Sprows Cummings is assistant professor of American studies and associate director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 Chiefly among Women: The Old Faith, the New Woman, and the Creation of a Usable Past 17

2 Enlarging Our Lives: Higher Education, Americanism, and Trinity College for Catholic Women 59

3 The Wageless Work of Paradise: Catholic Sisters, Professionalization, and the School Question 101

4 The Morbid Consciousness of Womanhood: Catholicism, Antisuffrage, and the Limits of Sisterhood 157

Notes 197

Bibliography 239

Index 263

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