Great American Women of the 19th Century: A Biographical Encyclopedia
Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore
Humanity Books, 2005 - Reference - 834 pages
Containing 1,500 biographies and more than 1,400 photographs or portraits, this extraordinary encyclopedia, originally published in 1897, documents the lives and achievements of remarkable American women who lived during the nineteenth century. Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore, two extraordinary women in their own right, compiled this massive work toward the end of their own very accomplished lives to demonstrate that women were a rising cultural and intellectual force to be reckoned with. Providing a window into the 19th-century world of white middle-class women over three generations, the encyclopedia reveals the range of women’s career paths and vocations at this time, and provides a benchmark of the growth in women’s consciousness of themselves as a gender class.
Among the occupations listed those falling into the literary category are the most numerous: authors, editors, journalists, lecturers, literary contributors, novelists, poets, and publishers. Other sizable categories are actors, artists, educators, philanthropists, physicians, temperance workers, and woman suffragists. Also included are profiles of all of the First Ladies of the 19th century, and a number of less highly placed women who are still well-known today: Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women; famed nurse and humanitarian Clara Barton; America’s best-known female composer, Mrs. H. H. A. Beach; theosophist Helene Petrovna Blavatsky; America’s first woman lawyer, Myra Bradwell; mental health pioneer Dorothea Dix; Harriet Beecher Stowe, widely read author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and suffragists and women’s rights advocates Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
An insightful introduction by feminist sociologists Patricia Lengermann and Jill Niebrugge-Brantley synopsizes the lives of Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore, evaluates their contributions, and analyzes the sociological implications of this monumental project.
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