Rise of the New Woman: The Women's Movement in America, 1875-1930

Rise of the New Woman: The Women's Movement in America, 1875-1930

by Jean V. Matthews
     
 

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Following on her history of the women's movement in America that took the story to 1876, Jean Matthews's new book chronicles the changing fortunes and transformations of the organized suffrage movement, from its dismal period of declining numbers and campaign failures to its final victory in the Nineteenth Amendment that brought women the vote. Ms. Matthews's

Overview

Following on her history of the women's movement in America that took the story to 1876, Jean Matthews's new book chronicles the changing fortunes and transformations of the organized suffrage movement, from its dismal period of declining numbers and campaign failures to its final victory in the Nineteenth Amendment that brought women the vote. Ms. Matthews's engaging narrative recaptures the personalities and ideas that characterized the movement in these years. She draws deft portraits and analyzes the intellectual currents—in politics, the economy, sexuality, and social thought—that competed for women's commitment. And she shows how new leadership and new strategies at last brought success in the long struggle during which many feminist leaders had grown old. The Rise of the New Woman emphasizes the historical contexts, including progressivism, in which the women's movement operated; the disputes and tensions within the movement itself; and the perennial question of who was to be included and excluded in the quest for women's rights. It also considers the often baffling aftereffects of the 1920 constitutional victory, when women found themselves wondering what to do next. With 24 black-and-white illustrations. American Ways Series. "Lively and informative."—Kirkus Reviews "Although Matthews frequently paints her historical overview in broad strokes, she nonetheless excels at filling in a fascinating background, giving new insights on lesser-known but equally influential people, facts, and situations."—Booklist

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
...Matthews...excels at filling in a fascinating background, giving new insights on lesser-known but equally influential people, facts, and situations.
American Historical Review
…Cleverly conceived, unpretentious in tone, and engaging in style…. Her book's success rests on its concision, cogency, verve, and pace.
H-Net Reviews
…Engagingly written…. Appealing and informative for general audiences, useful and accessible for students, and...enjoyable...for scholars in the field.
American Studies
…An excellent synthesis of the past two decades of scholarship in the social and cultural histories of American women.
— Lois Palken Rudnick, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Book Review Digest
It is cleverly conceived, unpretentious in tone, and engaging in style.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
…Engagingly written…. Appealing and informative for general audiences, useful and accessible for students, and...enjoyable...for scholars in the field.
H-Net
…Engagingly written…. Appealing and informative for general audiences, useful and accessible for students, and...enjoyable...for scholars in the field.
American Studies - Lois Palken Rudnick
…An excellent synthesis of the past two decades of scholarship in the social and cultural histories of American women.
The Historian - Virginia R. Boynton
Thoroughly grounded.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
[An] incisive look at a critical time in American history.
CHOICE - C. A. Kanes
[W]ill be useful to students seeking an overview or introduction to these issues [women's equality].... Recommended.
Tri-Valley Herald - Kathleen Grant Geib
Matthews describes the changes within the suffrage movement and how new leaders make the 19th Amendment a reality. The author talks about America’s “New Woman” personified by the Gibson Girl, a young lady wearing a white shirt and dark skirt who represents physical and growing financial freedom.
New York Sun
Matthews chronicles the fragmentations within the women's suffrage movement[.]
From the Publisher
'The Rise of the New Woman: The Woman's Movement in America, 1875-1930' by Jean V. Matthews is a book about the changing world of women's rights, opportunities and expectations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It tells of the winning of the vote and the aftermath of that landmark. The triumphs and tribulations of this 55-year period show the entrance and exit of many feminists and personalities who graced the struggle to attain the 19th amendment and its promise of equality.
The Historian
Thoroughly grounded.
— Virginia R. Boynton
...Matthews...excels at filling in a fascinating background, giving new insights on lesser-known but equally influential people, facts, and situations.
BOOKLIST
Virginia R. Boynton
"Thoroughly grounded."
The Historian
Publishers Weekly
The quest for women's rights has been one of America's defining social movements. In this concise, accessible and well-researched history, Matthews (Women's Struggle for Equality: The First Phase, 1828-1876) details how that movement came about and examines its peaks and pitfalls. Chief among the former, Matthews elucidates, was the burst of educational possibilities for women post-Civil War and concomitant options for careers outside the home. Enfranchisement did not, however, immediately engender the revolutionary social change its promulgators had envisioned. Matthews charts the internecine fights between those consumed by the passion for the vote, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and those whose concerns were more expansive, such as Frances Willard, founder of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, arguably the most influential political and social organization of its era, encompassing concerns about domestic violence and poverty as well as the quest for women's equity inside and outside the home. She illuminates other battles by and between early feminists, including abolition, the 15th Amendment (which effectively delayed women's enfranchisement for another 50 years), divorce, birth control, worker's rights and class conflict. Matthews infuses her history with quotes and anecdotes that serve to bring the era more alive, but her desire for concision sometimes abbreviates more complex issues, like the effects of the Comstock laws and the struggle for viable birth control. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the status of American women changed dramatically. Not only had they gained new opportunities in higher education and the professions, but greater numbers also entered the workforce and the trade union movement; to boot, their political power increased through the work of women's clubs and organizations and a reinvigorated and ultimately successful women's suffrage movement. Such changes were symbolized by the image of the "New Woman" that emerged. This readable overview of women's history from 1875 to 1930 traces the development and eventual success of the women's suffrage movement, from its low tide in the 1870s through its triumph, picking up where Matthews's much-praised Women's Struggle for Equality: The First Phase, 1828-1876 left off. Suitable as an introductory text, this work includes a bibliography of secondary sources but no footnotes. A good acquisition for undergraduate collections, even those that already own Flexner's classic Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Picking up where Women’s Struggle for Equality (1990) left off, Matthews (History Emeritus/Univ. of Western Ontario) succinctly chronicles the accelerating half-century of changes in women’s lives and society that helped feminists win them the right to vote in 1920. More intent on delivering the facts than speculating on the consequences of actions and personalities, the author begins in the post-Civil War years, when women were able to move around more freely as cities grew, streets were lit, and public transportation was introduced. As more women graduated from high school, they took advantage of jobs offered by the new industrial economy that took them out of the house and off the farm. More ambitious, usually upper-class women also began attending college in great numbers, with many intending to become scientists or doctors. The term "New Woman" seems to have been first coined around 1894, but the phenomenon was already familiar; Matthews suggests that its avatars were the popular magazine illustrations of "the Gibson Girl," whose plain dark skirt and business-like white shirt became the uniform of these young women. The feminist movement, however, was divided: some thought they should not press for suffrage when the franchise was finally being extended to black men, others felt votes for women were more important; some wanted to include black women, others did not want to alienate the white South; the goals of working-class women differed from those of the upper-class leaders; some advocated sexual freedom, while others upheld conventional morality. Matthews meticulously details these tensions, which continued right up to the gaining of the vote. In separate chapters, she alsodescribes the evolution of intellectual attitudes toward women as the old Biblical interpretations were questioned, the debates about female sexuality that led to changes in social behavior, and the effects of WWI, which disrupted the momentum that had been building as more states gave women the vote and public demonstrations in favor of female suffrage became larger and more frequent. Lively and informative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566635011
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
07/15/2004
Series:
American Ways Series
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
804,842
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.36(h) x 0.67(d)

What People are saying about this

Lois Palken Rudnick
"...An excellent synthesis of the past two decades of scholarship in the social and cultural histories of American women."
American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston
H-NET REVIEWS
"...Engagingly written.... Appealing and informative for general audiences, useful and accessible for students, and...enjoyable...for scholars in the field."
Donna Seaman
"[An] incisive look at a critical time in American history."
Booklist

Meet the Author

Jean Matthews is professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, and author of Toward a New Society and Women's Struggle for Equality, a history of the women's movement from 1828 to 1876, also in the American Ways Series. She lives in Oakland, California.

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