A Voice of Their Own ; The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910 edited by M – CULTURAL HERITAGE BOOKS


A Voice of Their Own ; The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910 edited by Martha M. Solomon

University of Alabama Press

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Tuscaloosa, AL. : University of Alabama Press, 1991. Hardcover. 233 pages ; 25 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!

A Voice of Their Own The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910 Edited by Martha M. Solomon

One dimension of the woman's suffrage movement that has received relatively little study until now is its press—journals and newspapers started, edited, and published by supporters of the cause. Such periodicals were crucial for the movement in terms of both recruiting and maintaining support during the long and arduous struggle for enfranchisement. The essays in this volume focus on the ways in which various periodicals functioned to raise the consciousness of women, created a sense of community among them, and helped change images of women and their roles in society.

Each essay provides a concise publication history of a periodical, a description of its content, and an analysis of its rhetorical function. The goal is to reveal how each journal contributed to the process of consciousness-raising necessary to generate a movement for social change. Because each journal developed a distinctive blend of materials suitable for its particular audience, the essays consider how the content functioned to alter readers' perceptions of themselves and to stimulate allegiance to a cause that subverted dominant social stereotypes.

As a group, the essays trace the evolution of a new identity for women. By gradually rejecting the cult of "true womanhood"—which defined women as pious, pure, submissive, and domestic—women began to see themselves as "new women" who were sensible and responsible citizens, capable of acting in the civic interest in the public sphere. How the suffrage press aided in that process is the thrust of this volume.

While A Voice of Their Own focuses specifically on the journals and newspapers that campaigned for votes for women, it also raises important questions about the role of the press in shaping movements for social change. The conclusions drawn about how these suffrage periodicals worked to help women modify their self-images and roles in society may also apply to the dynamics of the self-supported press for other social movements.

Contributors to this volume, in addition to the editor, include Thomas R. Burkholder, Bonnie J. Dow, E. Claire Jerry, Edward A. Hinck, Susan Schultz Huxman, Tarla Rai Peterson, Linda Steiner, Mari Boor Tonn, and Marsha L. Vanderford.

Martha M. Solomon is Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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