Feminist Frontiers: Women Who shaped the Midwest

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This collection of eleven biographical essays highlights women leaders in the Midwest who challenged gender, racial, class, and ethnic boundaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.



Women’s stories are noticeably absent from the master narrative of the Populist and Progressive movements, where their struggle for civil rights was more evident in the Midwest than any other region in the country. This collection of eleven biographical essays highlights women leaders in the Midwest who challenged gender, racial, class, and ethnic boundaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Not only were these Midwestern women powerful orators and active leaders, they were influential in shaping the culture in their communities.

These pioneering women include Amanda Berry Smith and Carry Nation who helped lay the groundwork for the Progressive Era, Esther Twente who helped develop higher education, Elfrieda von Rohr, Mary Sibley, and Linda Slaughter whose religious affiliations gave them leadership opportunities for political and social influence, Frances Dana Gage who contributed to women’s rights and temperance issues, Marietta Bones who championed the women’s suffrage movement, Alice Moore French who was American War Mothers founder and first president, socialist Genora Dollinger who spoke out for quality of life and rights in organizing a strike at a General Motors plant, and Harriett Friedman Woods who held various state political offices and a national office.

Abouth the Editor

Yvonne J. Johnson is Professor of History Emerita at University of Central Missouri, where she was coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program. She is the author of The Voices of African American Women: The Use of Narrative and Authorial Voice in the Works of Harriet Jacobs, Zora Neal Hurston, and Alice Walker, and co-editor of a British American Reader, and has written many articles and entries.

Product Specifications

Published by Truman State University Press, paperback, 2010. 232 pages. 13 illustrations.