Normal view MARC view ISBD view

Spinsters and Lesbians : Independent Womanhood in the United States

By: Franzen, Trisha.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.The Cutting Edge: Lesbian Life and Literature Series: Publisher: New York : NYU Press, 1996Edition: 1.Description: 1 online resource (260 p.).ISBN: 9780814728925.Subject(s): Feminism -- United States | Lesbianism -- United States | Single women -- United StatesGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Spinsters and Lesbians : Independent Womanhood in the United StatesDDC classification: 306.7663 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Contents; Foreword; Acknowledgments; Progressive Era Spinsters; Contemporary Lesbians; Introduction: Spinsters and Lesbians; ONE "What Are You Going to Be?": Families and Childhoods in the Progressive Era; TWO "I Knew I Was Odd": Growing Up Female, 1936-1965; THREE "O, the Glorious Privilege of Being Independent": Defining Independent Womanhood in the Progressive Era; FOUR "I Was Going to Have to Do It All on My Own": Toward Independent Womanhood after World War II; FIVE "Such Beautiful Lives Together": Community and Companions among Progressive Era Women
SIX "We''re Not the Only Ones": Lesbian Identities and Communities after World War IISEVEN Spinsters and Lesbians: Resisting and Surviving as Independent Women; On Methodology; Appendix: Tables; Notes; References; Index
Summary: Americans have long held fast to a rigid definition of womanhood, revolving around husband, home, and children. Women who rebelled against this definition and carved out independent lives for themselves have often been rendered invisible in U.S. history. In this unusual comparative study, Trisha Franzen brings to light the remarkable lives of two generations of autonomous women: Progressive Era spinsters and mid-twentieth century lesbians. While both groups of women followed similar paths to independence--separating from their families, pursuing education, finding work, and creating woman-centered communities--they faced different material and cultural challenge and came to claim very different identities. Many of the turn-of-the-century women were prominent during their time, from internationally recognized classicist Edith Hamilton through two early Directors of the Women''s Bureau, Mary Anderson and Freida Miller. Maturing during the time of a broad and powerful women''s movement, they were among that era''s new women, the often-single women who were viewed as in the vanguard of women''s struggle for equality. In contrast, never-married women after World War II, especially lesbians, were considered beyond the pale of real womanhood. Before the women''s and gay/lesbian liberation movements, they had no positive contemporary images of alternative lives for women. Highlighting the similarities and differences between women-oriented women confronting changing gender and sexuality systems, Spinsters and Lesbians thus traces a continuum among women who constructed lives outside institutionalized heterosexuality.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
HQ75.6.U5 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=865469 Available EBL865469

Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Contents; Foreword; Acknowledgments; Progressive Era Spinsters; Contemporary Lesbians; Introduction: Spinsters and Lesbians; ONE "What Are You Going to Be?": Families and Childhoods in the Progressive Era; TWO "I Knew I Was Odd": Growing Up Female, 1936-1965; THREE "O, the Glorious Privilege of Being Independent": Defining Independent Womanhood in the Progressive Era; FOUR "I Was Going to Have to Do It All on My Own": Toward Independent Womanhood after World War II; FIVE "Such Beautiful Lives Together": Community and Companions among Progressive Era Women

SIX "We''re Not the Only Ones": Lesbian Identities and Communities after World War IISEVEN Spinsters and Lesbians: Resisting and Surviving as Independent Women; On Methodology; Appendix: Tables; Notes; References; Index

Americans have long held fast to a rigid definition of womanhood, revolving around husband, home, and children. Women who rebelled against this definition and carved out independent lives for themselves have often been rendered invisible in U.S. history. In this unusual comparative study, Trisha Franzen brings to light the remarkable lives of two generations of autonomous women: Progressive Era spinsters and mid-twentieth century lesbians. While both groups of women followed similar paths to independence--separating from their families, pursuing education, finding work, and creating woman-centered communities--they faced different material and cultural challenge and came to claim very different identities. Many of the turn-of-the-century women were prominent during their time, from internationally recognized classicist Edith Hamilton through two early Directors of the Women''s Bureau, Mary Anderson and Freida Miller. Maturing during the time of a broad and powerful women''s movement, they were among that era''s new women, the often-single women who were viewed as in the vanguard of women''s struggle for equality. In contrast, never-married women after World War II, especially lesbians, were considered beyond the pale of real womanhood. Before the women''s and gay/lesbian liberation movements, they had no positive contemporary images of alternative lives for women. Highlighting the similarities and differences between women-oriented women confronting changing gender and sexuality systems, Spinsters and Lesbians thus traces a continuum among women who constructed lives outside institutionalized heterosexuality.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Franzen's book is a collective biography of 30 women. Fifteen--the spinsters--were well-known women of the early to mid-20th century, most of them prominent in reform circles. Their names will be recognizable to almost anyone familiar with women's history, and include physician Alice Hamilton (who virtually invented the field of industrial medicine), political activist Mollie Dewson, labor activist Mary Drier, and reformer Mary Anderson. The other 15--the lesbians--are women born mostly in the 1930s and '40s, who seem to have been chosen principally because they lived in the same area in new Mexico as the author. What they have in common is that all were never-married, self-supporting women. Some of the earlier 20th-century women, Franzen argues carefully (perhaps too carefully), may have been lesbians, because many of them had long-term intimate relationships with other women. Others appear to have had few, if any, intimate relations at all. Analysis of any sort is skimpy, the evidence largely anecdotal. Franzen herself admits that changes in sexual norms, the fact that one group consists of prominent women while the other is of "average" women, and other disjunctions between the two groups, make "precise matches" difficult. In fact, there are few points of comparison. However, some of the stories themselves are engaging and may be useful to readers interested in the history of single women and of lesbians. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Marsh Temple University

There are no comments for this item.

Log in to your account to post a comment.