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12 Trailblazers in Front of and Behind the Camera

by Susan Goldman Rubin

Pub Date: May 16th, 2023
ISBN: 9781662680106
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

A look at trailblazing women of early Hollywood.

This title covers the early days of Hollywood, from 1900 to 1940, presenting women who not only left their marks, but opened doors for those who would follow. The subjects include Mary Pickford, beloved as America’s Sweetheart; Frances Marion, one of the highest paid screenwriters of the time; Dorothy Emma Arzner, a successful director who was in a same-sex life partnership with choreographer Marion Morgan; Margaret Booth, the first person to receive the title of “film editor”; and Helen Holmes, action star and stuntwoman. In addition to these White women, the book includes women of color such as Fredi Washington, a light-skinned Black actor who pushed back against racism in the mainstream film industry; Hattie McDaniel, the first Black person to win an Academy Award; and Anna May Wong, the first world-famous Chinese American film star. With a clearly written narrative bolstered by delightful, behind-the-scenes photography, the book not only delves into the histories of 12 women who played various professional roles in the industry, but examines how historical events like world wars, the Great Depression, the 1918 influenza pandemic, and Jim Crow impacted their careers. The racism some of these women faced is described with thoughtfulness and accuracy. An afterword reflects on progress still to be made.

An accessible, well-researched book highlighting pioneering women creatives.

(note on terms and subjects, note on Anna May Wong, author’s note, where to see films, bibliography, source notes, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)