WOMEN TOGETHER: A History in Documents of the Women's Movement in the United States by Judy Papachristo

WOMEN TOGETHER: A History in Documents of the Women's Movement in the United States

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A Ms.-sponsored documentary history can be expected to be an instrument of enlightenment--but it also sorts out the various women's movements since abolitionism; supplies a running history of the leading figures and their activities, the issues and contests; and offers in substantiation a host of excerpts--from speeches, letters, resolutions, memoirs, newspaper reports--that will fascinate the history buff and probably bore other people stiff. Testifying for the temperance movement is the case of Mrs. Margaret Freeland, of Syracuse, ""recently arrested"" for invading a rum-seller's house and smashing everything in sight. (""Mrs. Freeland had frequently told him of her sufferings and besought him to refrain from giving her husband the poison."") ""Associationism""--the rise of women's dubs and societies in the 1890s--is attributed to ""the changing economic and social character of the country,"" and thus of women, who found themselves in cities with more freedom and fewer ties; the clubs offered them companionship and purposeful activity. Separate developments coalesce in trends and yield some surprising conclusions--as that women actually lost ground between 1930 and 1960: though many more were working, fewer held professional jobs. Weakest is the post-1960 section, all manifestos, resolutions, and other official documents, and concerned almost exclusively with radical positions. But the balance of the book, however polemical and didactic, is also hard news.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1976
Publisher: Knopf