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The American New Woman Revisited

The American New Woman Revisited: A Reader, 1894-1930

Edited by Martha H. Patterson
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    The American New Woman Revisited
    Book Description:

    In North America between 1894 and 1930, the rise of the "New Woman" sparked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world. As she demanded a public voice as well as private fulfillment through work, education, and politics, American journalists debated and defined her. Who was she and where did she come from? Was she to be celebrated as the agent of progress or reviled as a traitor to the traditional family? Over time, the dominant version of the American New Woman became typified as white, educated, and middle class: the suffragist, progressive reformer, and bloomer-wearing bicyclist. By the 1920s, the jazz-dancing flapper epitomized her. Yet she also had many other faces.Bringing together a diverse range of essays from the periodical press of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Martha H. Patterson shows how the New Woman differed according to region, class, politics, race, ethnicity, and historical circumstance. In addition to the New Woman's prevailing incarnations, she appears here as a gun-wielding heroine, imperialist symbol, assimilationist icon, entrepreneur, socialist, anarchist, thief, vamp, and eugenicist. Together, these readings redefine our understanding of the New Woman and her cultural impact.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4494-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    Although scholars disagree as to when the phrase New Woman was coined, the 1894 exchange between British writers Sarah Grand and Ouida in theNorth American Reviewcertainly brought it into general circulation. Immediately, the New Woman sparked debate on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world. Who was she and where did she come from? What did she represent? Would she last? Was she to be celebrated as the agent and sign of progress or reviled as a traitor to the traditional family and by extension her race? Whether the American New Woman signified a suffragist, progressive...

  5. PART I Defining the New Woman in the Periodical Press

    • “The New Aspect of the Woman Question,” North American Review (1894)
      (pp. 29-34)
      Sarah Grand

      It is amusing as well as interesting to note the pause which the new aspect of the woman question has given to the Bawling Brothers who have hitherto tried to howl down every attempt on the part of our sex to make the world a pleasanter place to live in. That woman should ape man and desire to change places with him was conceivable to him as he stood on the hearth-rug in his lord-and-master-monarch-of-all-I-survey attitude, well inflated with his own conceit; but that she should be content to develop the good material which she finds in herself and be...

    • “The New Woman,” North American Review (1894)
      (pp. 35-42)

      It can scarcely be disputed, I think, that in the English language there are conspicuous at the present moment two words which designate two unmitigated bores: The Workingman and the Woman. The Workingman and the Woman, the New Woman, be it remembered, meet us at every page of literature written in the English tongue; and each is convinced that on its own especial W hangs the future of the world. Both he and she want to have their values artificially raised and rated, and a status given to them by favor in lieu of desert. In an age in which...

    • “The Campaign Girl,” Washington Post (1894)
      (pp. 43-45)
      Kate Masterson
    • “Here Is the New Woman,” New York World (1895)
      (pp. 46-48)

      A great deal has been said about the new woman, but nobody, until today, has had the opportunity of looking her in the face. The above picture is a composite of the new woman. It is faithfully made up of twelve excellent likenesses of the twelve most prominent new women in the world. It will be observed that the term “new” woman is used here in a sort of Pickwickian sense, as none of these ladies is what might be called new, merely judging from the lapse of years. They are new, however, in the sense of representing the most...

    • “Bloomers at the Bar,” National Police Gazette (1895)
      (pp. 49-51)

      Fannie Dee is a bloomer girl. Fannie is also a new woman. For several hours one night recently she monopolized the attention of the citizens of the town of Lake and Englewood, Ill., by a practical demonstration of her ideas of what a new woman should be.

      The spectacular exhibition that Fannie made of herself will not soon be forgotten. It was something fearful, startling and wonderful, and caused a smile to flit over the faces of the old men, a blush to mantle the cheek of the maid and matron and a huge grin to disfigure the countenance of...

    • “The New-Woman Santa Claus,” Judge (1895)
      (pp. 52-53)
    • “The New Negro Woman,” Lend a Hand (1895)
      (pp. 54-59)
      Mrs. Booker T. Washington

      Our world is made up of nations. The nations are made up of races, which, in their turn, are formed of classes or clans. There are, in each of these, the masses who, in their immensity, ought to not only attract the greatest attention in the way of criticism, but ought to receive the most thorough and systematic care from the rest of the world.

      It is to the masses of negro women that I wish to call your attention for a few minutes. We certainly have no time to be idle in reference to these sisters of ours, for...

    • “Woman in Another New Role,” Munsey’s Magazine (1896)
      (pp. 60-61)

      Is it not time to stop calling woman the weaker sex, and alleging that she is naturally disqualified for callings that demand physical strength? The Chicago press recently reported a remarkable instance of her triumphant success in a field hitherto monopolized by tyrant man—that of burglary. It seems that there has been something of an epidemic of this particular form of industry in the Lake City, two specialists, whose identity is veiled under the titles of “the long man” and “the short man,” having won a prestige seldom equaled in criminal annals since the Whitechapel celebrity of Jack the...

    • “The New Woman,” reprinted in Free Society: A Periodical of Anarchist Thought, Work, and Literature (1898)
      (pp. 62-63)
      Emma Goldman

      The bible story of woman’s inequality and inferiority is based on the declaration of her being created from the rib of man. Woman cannot without equal opportunity ever rise to equality with him, and hence women are slaves to society as a consequence, and intensified under the marriage code. Despotic rule causes people to revolt, and they will do so as a necessity. Woman is bred to be seen and for outside show, and hence the sham in society. Her only mission is to marry and to be a wife and mother, and to cater to a husband who for...

      (pp. 64-68)

      There are several thousands of women on the plains and among the mountains and canons in the Far West who deserve to be well up toward the top of the catalogue of those who are prominent for achievements in those fields of human energy which for years have been occupied exclusively by the sturdiest of men. While the women in the East are making success in professions, business, and trades alongside of their husbands and brothers, there are women in every part of the raw, new West, as it is known to-day, who are not only adapting themselves to a...

    • “The ‘New Woman’ Got the Drop on Him,” Los Angeles Times (1895)
      (pp. 69-70)
    • “The Negro Woman—Social and Moral Decadence,” Outlook (1904)
      (pp. 71-77)
      Eleanor Tayleur

      The most anomalous and portentous figure in America today is the negro woman. Little account has been taken of her in the discussion of the race problem, yet if the key to that dark riddle is ever found, hers must be the hand that first discovers it.

      It is an axiom that no people can rise higher than their source. The measure of its womanhood is the measure of the potentialities of a race. If this be virtuous, clean of mind and body, filled with high ideals and noble aspirations, all things are possible to its sons. If, on the...

    • “Bicycle Number,” Judge (1898)
      (pp. 78-79)
    • “Ise Gwine ter Give You Gals What Straddle,” Life (1899)
      (pp. 80-81)
      Edward Kemble
    • “St. Valentine’s Number,” Life (1903)
      (pp. 82-83)
      Charles Dana Gibson
    • “The Flapper,” Smart Set (1915)
      (pp. 84-86)
      H. L. Mencken

      The American language, curiously enough, has no name for her. In German she isder Backfisch, in French she isl’Ingénue, in English she is the Flapper. But in American, as I say, she is nameless, for Chicken will never, never do. Her mother, at her age, was a Young Miss; her grandmother was a Young Female. But she herself is no Young Miss, no Young Female. Oh, dear, no! …

      Observe, then, this nameless one, this American Flapper. Her skirts have just reached her very trim and pretty ankles; her hair, newly coiled upon her skull, has just exposed...

    • “The New Negro Woman,” Messenger (1923)
      (pp. 87-88)

      Yes, she has arrived. Like her white sister, she is the product of profound and vital changes in our economic mechanism, wrought mainly by the World War and its aftermath. Along the entire gamut of social, economic, and political attitudes, the New Negro Woman has effected a revolutionary orientation. In politics, business and labor, in the professions, church and education, in science, art and literature, the New Negro Woman, with her head erect and spirit undaunted is resolutely marching forward, ever conscious of her historic and noble mission of doing her bit toward the liberation of her people in particular...

    • “A Bit of Life,” New York Age (1919)
      (pp. 89-90)
  6. PART II Women’s Suffrage and Political Participation

    • “The New Woman of the New South,” Arena (1895)
      (pp. 93-97)
      Josephine K. Henry

      It is not the purpose of the writer to discuss in this paper woman’s right to the ballot or the good or evil results to accrue from her enfranchisement. To argue the question of right is not admissible at this stage of the issue. To forecast results would afford no logical ground to stand on. The article will, therefore, be confined to the limitation of facts and their tendencies as they appear to a Southern woman.

      The idea seems to be abroad that Southern women do not desire the ballot. Considering the powerful influences which operate to suppress an open...

    • “Foibles of the New Woman,” Forum (1896)
      (pp. 98-102)
      Ella W. Winston

      When woman revolts against her normal functions and sphere of action, desiring instead to usurp man’s prerogatives, she entails upon herself the inevitable penalty of such irregular conduct, and, while losing the womanliness which she apparently scorns, fails to attain the manliness for which she strives. But, unmindful of the frowns of her observers, she is unto herself a perpetual delight, calling herself and her kind by the epithets “new,” “awakened,” and “superior,” and speaking disdainfully of women who differ from her in what, to her judgment, is the all-important question of life—“Shall women vote or not?” To enumerate...

    • “In the Public Eye,” Munsey’s Magazine (1897)
      (pp. 103-104)

      Whether Mrs. Mary E. Lease, the feminine Boanerges of Kansas, is or is not an ideal, she is certainly a type. She is the product of the political and social conditions of a wide and important section of the country. She represents an upheaval which had overturned the politics of several Western States, and which bade fair to sweep over the entire Union. She did more than any one else to overthrow the Republican party in Kansas, where it had been dominant since the war. Her oratory might evoke smiles in the classic halls of Congress, but it is a...

    • “Suffragette [to the Bearded Lady]: How Do You Manage It?” Life (1911)
      (pp. 105-106)
      Augustus Smith Daggy
    • “Women’s Rights: and the Duties of Both Men and Women,” Outlook (1912)
      (pp. 107-113)
      Theodore Roosevelt

      The causes which brought about so much of dreadful failure and wrongdoing to alloy the benefits and advances which followed on the French Revolution were symbolized and foreshadowed in the action of the first revolutionary national legislature. This body passed with wild applause resolutions declaring that the people were to have all imaginable rights, and then voted down a resolution setting forth that the same people had grave and onerous duties. Much, indeed, has America owed to the fact that her two greatest men, Washington and Lincoln, though they did not neglect rights, were even more concerned with duties.


    • “Movie of a Woman on Election Day,” Baltimore Afro-American (1920)
      (pp. 114-116)
    • “Squaws Demand ‘Rights’: PENOBSCOT INDIAN WOMEN WANT VOTE: PRIVILEGE IN TRIBAL ELECTIONS” Washington Post (1921)
      (pp. 117-118)

      Old Town, Me., Feb. 26.—Indian women of the Penobscot tribe today started on the warpath to obtain the right to vote in the tribal elections and share in the conduct of reservation affairs. Some of the squaws have nailed the suffrage colors to the totem pole with the assertion that a grandlady sachem would make a wiser chief than any brave that ever wove a basket or built a canoe.

      Last night the new women of an ancient people began rejoicing when they received a ruling from Attorney General Shaw that they could go as far as the tribe...

    • “The New Woman: WHAT SHE WANTED AND WHAT SHE GOT,” Woman’s Home Companion (1929)
      (pp. 119-123)
      Frederick L. Collins

      Ten years ago this month the Suffrage Amendment was adopted by the Senate of the United States. The event was hailed on all sides as the dawn of the woman’s power in America. Nine years and nine months later Herbert Hoover was inaugurated President of the United States. And now this second event is being hailed as the day which has been so long in following the dawn.

      How much faith can we put in either of these hailings?

      Was the passage of the Suffrage Amendment the significant occurrence which we then believed it to be? Is the inauguration of...

    • “La Mujer Nueva” [The New Woman], Gráfico (1929)
      (pp. 124-126)
      Clotilde Betances Jaeger

      Manufacturers and traders in the United States, who are the only ones who will benefit from the protectionist tariff, think that the higher tariff will prevent people from buying foreign products, and that money will thus stay home and the country will get rich.⁵ This is obviously wrong because a surplus of exports over imports always hurts consumers, as restricting imports automatically causes a corresponding decrease in a country’s exports. As with everything, this has advantages and disadvantages. For example, products are not imported unless they are paid for, cost plus shipping. It is clear that when exports exceed imports,...

  7. PART III Temperance, Social Purity, and Maternalism

    • “At Home with the Editor,” Ladies’ Home Journal (1894)
      (pp. 129-131)
      Edward Bok

      …We are told that we have developed “a new woman.” I have not been able to find out exactly in what respect this woman is “new,” unless it be that her newness lies in her being unwomanly, or different from what God intended a woman should be…. Measured by the standards set by these advocates of the new type of woman, a woman’s life is successful just in proportion as she robs it of its privacy and lays it bare to the public. In short, she mustdosomething, and do it in a public way so that people will...

    • “The New Woman,” American Jewess (1895)
      (pp. 132-134)
      Ella E. Bartlett

      The adjective “new” has been applied to women with startling frequency of late. Almost every printed page bears evidence of her ubiquity as well as “newness” of the average contributor: What the new woman has done, is doing, or will do, is so persistently set forth that one is led to think that a new order of the “genus homo” has been discovered; yet a little study and research shows that the discovery is, after all, only the finding of eyes to see and ears to hear, on the part of the discoverer, and not a very new order of...

    • “The New Woman,” Outlook (1895)
      (pp. 135-136)
      Lillian W. Betts

      The “new woman” has been the subject for illustration and description more or less in earnest. She is described as smoking, drinking, and demanding what she calls liberty. This seems to be not the liberty of law, but of license; the right to live without restraint. So vivid have the descriptions become, the artists, the writers, the speakers are so terribly in earnest, that we must accept the fact that they believe that they are describing, depicting, that which exists. There is a new woman, the product of evolution, the result of domestic, social, and commercial changes.

      Every year the...

    • “Miss Willard on the ‘New Woman,’” Woman’s Signal (1896)
      (pp. 137-139)

      An interesting interview with Miss Frances Willard appeared in a recent issue of theSunday Times, from which we make some extracts:—

      Knowing that Miss Willard is an enthusiastic cyclist, I began by inquiring for “Gladys.”

      “Gladys is well,” was her reply. “I have forsaken her for a Beeston Humber, and now Gladys is ridden by our cook, housemaid, and other servants. I do believe 30 women have learned on my steed. Lady Henry and I encourage the servants to ride, and now they are all saving their wages to buy bikes. Anna Gordon says I have begun to demoralise...

    • “The Chinese Woman in America,” Land of Sunshine (1897)
      (pp. 140-144)
      Sui Seen Far

      With her quaint manners and old-fashioned mode of life, she carries our minds back to times almost as ancient as the earth we live on. She is a bit of olden Oriental coloring amidst our modern Western lights and shades; and though her years be few, she is yet a relic of antiquity. Even the dress she wears is cut in a fashion designed centuries ago, and is the same today as when the first nonfabulous Empress of China begged her husband to buy her a new dress—of a tunic, a pair of trousers and a divided skirt, all...

    • “The New Woman,” Woman’s Standard (1901)
      (pp. 145-146)
      Elizabeth Cady Stanton

      The masculine and feminine forces in social life are like the positive and negative electricity, the centripetal and centrifugal forces in the material world.

      Now suppose it were possible for us to suspend the equilibrium of these forces for one-half hour; the result would be material chaos.

      Oceans and lands, planets, suns, moons and stars, leaving their boundaries and elliptics, would rush into one conglomerate mass. Fortunately, no man has the power to precipitate such a collapse.

      The present confusion in our social life, the corruption in politics, the dissensions in the church, the divisions in the home, the antagonisms...

    • “The New Womanhood,” Forerunner (1910)
      (pp. 147-150)
      Charlotte Perkins Gilman

      I have been reading Ellen Key’s “Century of the Child,” reviewed in this number, and am moved to add, in connection with that review, a “brief” for the New Motherhood.

      Agreeing with almost all of that noble book and with the spirit of the whole of it, I disagree with its persistence in the demand for primitive motherhood—for the entire devotion of each and every mother to her own children—and disagree on the ground that this method is not the best for child service.

      Among animals, where one is as good as another, “the mother”—each one of...

    • “Alte und Neue Frauen” [Of Old and New Women], New Yorker Staats-Zeitung (1917)
      (pp. 151-154)
      Frau Anna

      Often I get the nagging feeling that a former blessing has gone missing from our feminine existence—that of tranquility and contemplation! As I consider the many letters I receive, each of which spells out a different life’s fate, I am struck by an overriding tone of haste and anxiety that cannot possibly be of benefit to my correspondents. Even letters from elderly ladies, of whom one might expect a more dignified tone, sometimes fill me with this sense of disquiet. Of course I know that the contemporary world’s work demands the efforts of even our elder women, and that...

  8. PART IV The Women’s Club Movement and Women’s Education

    • “Women’s Department,” Colored American Magazine (1900)
      (pp. 157-159)

      Editor’s Note: We bring to this column an enthusiastic desire to do good and pleasing work for our lady patrons, and to that end would be pleased to receive suggestions from all our friends. We would be glad to correspond with all women’s clubs in relation to club matters, to insert club notices, etc. Send in the name of your club and its officers for enrollment in the Record….

      One of the most remarkable movements of the twentieth century has been the ramification of women in all directions where she has seen the slightest chance for business or intellectual progression....

    • “A Girl’s College Life,” Cosmopolitan (1901)
      (pp. 160-163)
      Lavinia Hart

      The difference between the life at girls’ and at men’s colleges is just the difference between girls and young men.

      It is not the difference in curriculum, or lecture-room, or gymnasium, or team and track athletics. It is a difference in tone, and this tone is the effect of two causes:—

      First. The seriousness with which the college girl regards her course.

      Second. The thoroughly feminine consideration with which she regards her fellows.

      Regarding the former, nine-tenths of the girls at college are there for the purpose of fitting themselves to earn a livelihood. They are aiming to become professors,...

    • “The Typical Woman of the New South,” Harper’s Bazar (1900)
      (pp. 164-167)
      Julia Magruder

      Perhaps it will be a surprise to many when the present writer pronounces one of the prominent characteristics of the women of the new South to be industry. It has so long been an accepted conclusion that Southern women of the higher class are indolent and lacking in energy, that perhaps nothing but a visible object-lesson will do away with this idea. Such an object-lesson is not far to seek, if a spirit of fairness is brought to the question. Indeed, would not the employment of that spirit modify, if it did not quite reverse, the same dictum concerning the...

    • “Rough Sketches: A STUDY OF THE FEATURES OF THE NEW NEGRO WOMAN,” Voice of the Negro (1904)
      (pp. 168-171)
      John H. Adams Jr.

      One day while standing in the centre of the business section of Atlanta, there approached me, a bright eyed, full-minded youth of some nine years of respectable rearing. Both of us looked with eyes and soul upon the passing mixed panorama of men and women and children, and horses, and vehicles, and up to the modern ten and fourteen stories of stone, brick and steel structures out of whose windows, here and there, poked curious heads peering tamely upon the seeming confusion below. I saw an uncommon life picture pass slowly through the gang-way of humming electric cars, and rattling...

    • “The Modern Indian Girl,” Indian Craftsman (1909)
      (pp. 172-175)

      There is no more interesting or remarkable development in American life today than the evolution of the squaw of reservation and ranch into the modern Indian girl. The average American knows little or nothing of the Indian girl, what she is, and what she is doing, simply because in point of numbers she is but one in ten thousand among her pale-face sisters. The popular conception of the Indian woman, formed by reservation pictures and Wild West shows, is a primitive creature garbed in a drab, blanket-like cloak with a sort of hood falling down the back—the head of...

    • “Lo! The New Indian. Mohawk Belle,” Los Angeles Express (1903)
      (pp. 176-176)
    • “The Sacrifice,” Chicago Defender (1916)
      (pp. 177-178)
    • “Professional Training,” College Humor (1923)
      (pp. 179-180)
  9. PART V Work and the Labor Movement

    • “The New Woman,” National Labor Tribune (1897)
      (pp. 183-184)

      Of all the subjects that have been discussed the “new woman” has received more severe raps than any that have been discussed in the newspapers for many a day. While we do not approve of the “new woman” that makes a show of herself bicycling up and down the principal thoroughfares of a city in bloomers, but we do approve of the “new women” in affairs that they are more than any one else directly interested. The latest in this line is the women as labor agitators. But it is not a nineteenth century wonder that women have at this...

    • “The New Woman and Her Ways: THE WOMAN FARMER,” Saturday Evening Post (1910)
      (pp. 185-187)
      Maude Radford Warren

      There is an increasing number of women in this country to whom spring is no longer the season of romance, the time when the blood tingles for a score of inexplicable reasons easily grouped under a general yearning for green and balminess, and when the mind turns to flowery hats and muslin gowns. To these women, numbering almost a million, spring is a hard practical business season when they put on short skirts and rubber boots, and scrutinize the green with an appraising and critical eye, and watch for the balminess with calculating mind rather than with poetical soul. They...

    • “Debemos Trabajar” [We Must Work], La Crónica (1911)
      (pp. 188-189)

      The modern woman, aware of and acknowledging the need to do her part to aid in the enlightenment of all peoples, is courageously venturing into all areas and segments of the economy, with no fear or lethargy. She turns her back on leisure and inaction, because now, at a time when she is so full of life opportunities, so full of energy and hope, there is no place for idle bums in society.

      Inaction and indolence are viewed today as disgraceful traits, and as such are shunned by those who consider themselves factors in the development and progress of all...

    • “New Jobs for New Women,” Everybody’s Magazine (1914)
      (pp. 190-192)
      Virginia Roderick

      “Is she going to stay at home, or teach?”

      Twenty years ago that was a common question about a college girl-graduate. “To work” practically meant “to teach.”

      Nowadays New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston each has an occupation agency for trained women which handles almost anythingexceptteaching. All specialize in work for college women, and cooperate with college clubs, as well as with each other. The first three are managed and maintained by the alumnae associations of various colleges. And in the first report of the Intercollegiate Bureau of New York, as well as in the Boston Appointment Bureau’s...

    • “A New Woman?” Masses (1916)
      (pp. 193-199)
      Dorothy Weil

      Mrs. Knox is my cleaning woman. For six years and more now she’s been coming to me every Wednesday regular, and never missed a day. And there never was a woman like her to clean straight through from top to bottom.

      Wednesday morning, three or four weeks ago, when I was expecting her as usual, she called me up.

      “I can’t come this morning, Mis’ Bullock,” she said.

      “Why, what’s the trouble, Mrs. Knox? Are you sick?”

      “Well,” she answered kind of slow, “I’m going to the hospital.”

      “To the hospital! Whatever is the matter with you?”


    • “The Negro Woman Teacher and the Negro Student,” Messenger (1923)
      (pp. 200-202)
      Elise Johnson McDougald

      … The present day Negro teacher faces problems equally difficult. Modern life has become so complex and indirect that much that was taught formerly in even the humblest home is now within the scope of teacher’s duty. This is true of teachers of all groups, but expecially so of the Negro teacher. Because the Negro mother must work outside of the home to supplement the Negro father’s earnings, the Negro woman teacher must needs to [be] mother and guide, as well as class-room instructor.

      Throughout the North and the South, urban and rural teachers form an earnest and forward-looking body...

    • “Pin-Money Slaves,” Forum and Century (1930)
      (pp. 203-210)
      Poppy Cannon

      If they can’t have a covered wagon, America’s pioneer women resort to jobs and the subway. They are congenital frontiersmen and there is no restraining them. They will do anything, anywhere, any time to harass and discommode themselves and everybody around them. Their atavistic pioneerism (if one may be permitted an ism so soon) crops up in the most unlikely places—in effete metropolitan centers like New York and in progressive colleges where they teach euthenics and the fine art of living with one small voice and, at the same time, bellow forth tirades of contempt for the jobless woman....

  10. PART VI World War I and Its Aftermath

    • Cover of Hearst’s Magazine (1918)
      (pp. 213-214)
    • “A Farewell Letter to the Kaiser from Every Woman,” Washington Post (1918)
      (pp. 215-217)
      Helen Rowland


      I thank you

      For having given me back my faith in Humanity, and in the ultimate triumph of the good and the right and human justice.

      You have restored and strengthened my faith in Divinity, and in a Divine Providence, which allows nothing to happen in vain!

      You have shown me, in all their fairest colors.

      The soul of the American man, and the spirit of American womanhood!

      Into the dull round of my tight, little, commonplace life you have sent tragedy and sorrow.

      But with it a new and vital spark, a glorifying flame.

      Which has...

    • “The New America, the American Jewish Woman: A SYMPOSIUM,” American Hebrew (1919)
      (pp. 218-220)
      Mrs. Caesar Misch

      How can one write with finality of such kaleidoscopes? America today is in a stage of evolution, of indecision, of groping upward to higher ideals, of downward plunges under undisciplined passions and class-antagonism. If we continue our present class and race riots, our bitterness and greed, we must pass through a period of darkness, of blood-shed and of shattered ideals before we emerge purified by our trials and chastened by the cost of our experience.

      As with the New American so with the New American Woman. She also is in a chaos of bewilderment. Under war conditions the complacent dowagers,...

    • “What the Newest New Woman Is,” Ladies’ Home Journal (1920)
      (pp. 221-224)
      Harriet Abbott

      Each woman enjoys the creative world of business, but to each the creative work of child-rearing is the greater obligation and opportunity….

      Every woman among us to-day has had her sense of values so shaken that sometimes she stands bewildered on the edge of revolt. Nora slammed the door of revolution, and Havelock Ellis and Ellen Key and Olive Schreiner have jerked us from the blind leading strings of traditional obedience to customs just because they were customs.³ We have eaten the apple and never again shall we be good in a pre-Adamite, pre-woman-movement sense. Now, our conduct shall be...

  11. PART VII Prohibition and Sexuality

    • “What Shall We Do with Jazz?” Atlanta Constitution (1922)
      (pp. 227-232)
      Martha Lee

      “They were playing the jazz. The lights were down. I didn’t fall much for the fellow, judge, but—oh, the jazz got me! I closed my eyes and let myself go—. That’s the way it started, judge. The music done it.”

      A weepy story like this it is that Judge Lindsay, of Denver, says unfortunate girls, their young lives wrecked by the jazz fire that is consuming the minds and morals of at least part of this generation, narrate to him these days.

      Doctors are even going further than judges in their condemnation of the jazz fever. “If jazz...

    • “Exodo de Una Flapper” [Exodus of a Flapper], Hispano América (1925)
      (pp. 233-235)
      Jorge Ulica

      One of the most “significant” flappers, as they say nowadays, kicked the bucket. That is, she passed away without a peep, the victim of a fearsome case of alcohol poisoning aggravated by the use of chewing tobacco. In this there is nothing odd, as flappers are not immortal, and when they come down with tobacco-aggravated lung disease they are as good as gone.

      This merry young woman, because she was young and merry, came before the judge who reviews people’s lives. As she was still somewhat hung over and smelled strongly of tobacco, she was sent straight to the teeming...

    • “Sweet Sexteen,” Life (1926)
      (pp. 236-237)
      John Held Jr.
      (pp. 238-242)
      Elizabeth Benson

      … The younger American generation of which I am writing will go down to history as our post-war generation….

      … But I am not going to recite all the old arguments of middle-aged novelists who have been erudite enough to point out that cocktail drinking and sex freedom and wild parties were a means of forgetting and escaping the strain of the war. Those arguments are so well known, so fresh in the reader’s mind, that I will make no mention of them all.

      But it was not the war alone which was responsible for the wave of freedom upon...

    • “Fumando Espero” [Smoking I Wait], Gráfico (1927)
      (pp. 243-246)
      Alberto O’Farrill
  12. PART VIII Consumer Culture, Leisure Culture, and Technology

    • “The Eternal Feminine,” Printers’ Ink (1901)
      (pp. 249-252)
      Jas. H. Collins

      By the complex phrases of philosophy and metaphysics one may clearly prove that woman is a secondary factor in human affairs. By the simple and altogether incontrovertible facts of everyday life, however—cash balance and grocer’s bill, the latest novel’s sales and the new floor for the parlor—it is not possible to prove that she occupies any other than foremost place. Woman undoubtedly has—in scientific books, at least—less brain than man, yet she rules him; she has no single grain of the faculty called reason, yet she takes his reasoning into hand; she has none of the...

    • “Battle Ax Plug,” Santa Fe New Mexican (1896)
      (pp. 253-254)
    • “The Athletic Woman,” Good Housekeeping (1912)
      (pp. 255-257)
      Anna de Koven

      Signs are not wanting in the rising generation of American women of a high development of the reasoning faculties and a great efficiency in civic activity.

      The highest development of the American woman cannot be attained without due regard to the preservation of physical activity, and for that reason the practice of athletics is an essential for all ages.

      The arguments of physicians and educators in favor of athletics for women were only partially successful until fashion set the stamp of approval. The hoydenish tomboy, who was the despair of the mother of the past generation, is today just the...

    • “The Woman of the Future,” Good Housekeeping (1912)
      (pp. 258-266)
      Thomas A. Edison and Edward Marshall

      “The housewife of the future will be neither a slave to servants nor herself a drudge. She will give less attention to the home, because the home will need less; she will be rather a domestic engineer than a domestic laborer, with the greatest of all handmaidens, electricity, at her service. This and other mechanical forces will so revolutionize the woman’s world that a large portion of the aggregate of woman’s energy will be conserved for use in broader, more constructive fields.”

      As we talked, Thomas A. Edison, doubtless the greatest inventor of all time, said some things which may...

    • “The Woman’s Magazine,” Masses (1915)
      (pp. 267-268)
      Jeannette Eaton

      It has glorified the work-basket and the egg-beater and has infinitely stretched woman’s belief in the miracles which may be wrought with them. It has taught her what to do for the baby, what is the right way to puff her hair and why she should win her daughter’s confidence.

      Think of the old tomato cans made into pretty pincushions, the thread lace collars, the embroidered scarfs, the hand-painted match receivers, the linen pin-trays, the discarded boxes converted into “what-nots”! If not for this perennial adviser, it would be hard to imagine how a woman could get up a dinner...

    • “Famous Bobbed-Hair Beauties,” Negro World (1924)
      (pp. 269-271)
    • “From Ping Pong to Pants,” Photoplay (1927)
      (pp. 272-273)
    • “Daughters of the Sky,” Delineator (1929)
      (pp. 274-276)
      Vera L. Connolly

      Flying talk! The air is full of it! Motors. Propellers. Three-point landings. Stalls. Skids. Banks. Wing-overs. Barrel-rolls. Dead-sticks.

      A preposterous jargon, really. Senseless to older ears. But it is certainly electric with meaning to modern youth.

      There is no escaping it!

      It has replaced the polite conversation at our dinner tables. It is the center of interest at dances and teas. It has spoiled many a good bridge game. It even has “It” backed off the map at fraternity parties and on motor rides.

      All good motor roads, today, lead in just one direction: to the nearest flying field. Seek...

  13. PART IX Evolution, Birth Control, and Eugenics

    • “Effeminate Men and Masculine Women,” New York Medical Journal (1900)
      (pp. 279-281)
      William Lee Howard

      Weak physiological traits, like moral traits, can be increased or decreased by education, training, and example. Environment plays a most active and powerful role in this development. The child born of parents in the prime of physiological life, each one having strong sex characteristics, is apt to show these characteristics in its development and growth, regardless of environment and education. But not so the unfortunate child born of unstable parents; of those who have assumed the responsibility of parentage when life is on the wane, or whose physical or mental activities have been in channels far removed from anticipation and...

    • “The Evolution of Sex in Mind,” Independent (1901)
      (pp. 282-286)
      Henry T. Finck

      … The assertion made by me inThe Independentof Jan. 31, 1901, that if women continue to ape men, “their thoughts and feelings, their tastes and manners, and even their features and figures, will approximate those of the men,” was violently resented by the suffragists. They pointed to the existence of women who have held their doctrines and who have, nevertheless, remained indisputably feminine. As a matter of fact, I have the honor of knowing a few such women myself. But that has nothing to do with the question. What I assert is, not that the mere holding of...

    • “The New Woman Monkey,” Life (1906); and “Evolution,” Life (1913)
      (pp. 287-289)
    • “Flapper Americana Novissima,” Atlantic Monthly (1922)
      (pp. 290-296)
      G. Stanley Hall

      When, years ago, I first heard the picturesque word “Flapper” applied to a girl, I thought of a loose sail flapping in whatever wind may blow, and liable to upset the craft it is meant to impel. There was also in my mind the flitting and yet cruder mental imagery of a wash, just hung out to dry in the light and breeze, before it is starched and ironed for use. I was a little ashamed of this when the dictionary set me right by defining the word as a fledgling, yet in the nest, and vainly attempting to fly...

      (pp. 297-299)
      Saydee E. Parham

      All life is but a continuous process of evolution. Nothing that embodies the vitalic principle of life is static. It is by the very inherent law of nature that in the changing order of every species of life we find a higher, nobler and greater ascent of life. In the mineral kingdom with its amazing wealth of stones, we find this principle in the ever increasing change of the vast variety of the mineral life. And as we ascend the scale of elevation until we reach the mammal or the animal kingdom, we find that even here is a distinctive...

    • “The New Woman in the Making,” Current History (1927)
      (pp. 300-305)
      Leta S. Hollingworth

      … For a general understanding of the New Woman in the making it is, perhaps, enough for us to note that a puzzle or question is created whenever a craving organism is balked in the search for satisfaction; that uninformed, multiple activity is then set up; and that whatever act within the available répertoire happens to bring satisfaction will become fixed habit….

      We do not know how long the human species had existed before acute thinkers demonstrated the true and invariable cause of infants. At all events this was disseminated knowledge by the time records of civilization were established in...

    • “La Mujer Nueva” [The New Woman], Gráfico (1929)
      (pp. 306-310)
      Clotilde Betances Jaeger

      There are still ladies and there are still gentlemen. Woman, by virtue of her emancipation, is the true queen of the home; man, her husband, the king, her first subject; and the family, her most fiercely devoted court.

      You lament the many obligations that fall to today’s woman. Blessed responsibilities! They fertilize the soil. They prepare us for life outside the home, since we already know everything inside it. If you will indulge the comparison, a woman is like an ox. Patient and docile, she takes upon her shoulders the most onerous burdens and, like the gentle, noble, sweet-eyed animal,...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 311-330)
  15. Index
    (pp. 331-340)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 341-342)