LEADING LADLES: An Affectionate Look at American Women of the Twentieth Century by Electa Clark

LEADING LADLES: An Affectionate Look at American Women of the Twentieth Century

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Affectionate it is--to the point of cheerful indifference to the more rigorous demands of a six-decade survey of the American woman and her image; but it shapes up as a pleasant portrait gallery nonetheless. References to ""true women"" and ""new women"" of the pre-WW I era abound, and Clark has an attractive representation from a Richard Harding Davis heroine to such luminaries as Princess Alice, Isadora, and Carrie Nation. With the passing decades there is less concentration on trends and more on individuals--leading suffragettes, reformers, writers, and actresses. The brief monographs are generally light and entertaining, dotted with dimly remembered pronouncements the likes of Tallulah's ""pure as the driven slush"" or Catherine Drinker Bowen's squib on the joys of housewifery: ""Bilge water."" In the odd but interesting crowd are Maxine Elliott and Wallis Warfield, union pioneer Mary Anderson and Fanny Brice, Mae West and Ellen Glasgow. A weightless flick over history which, however, spiffs up some formidable female pacesetters for a popular audience.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1976
Publisher: Stein & Day