Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

My Dear Mrs. Ames: A Study of Suffragist Cartoonist Blanche Ames Ames

Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

My Dear Mrs. Ames: A Study of Suffragist Cartoonist Blanche Ames Ames

Article excerpt

Clark, Anne Biller My Dear Mrs. Ames: A study of Suffragist Cartoonist Blanche Ames Ames (NY: Peter Lang 2001)

Anne Biller Clark introduces Blanche Arnes Ames as an example of how "disenfranchised groups such as American women" were able to involve themselves in the political process without a vote. Blanche Ames Ames achieves this in part, through her work as a political cartoonist for Woman's Journal. Examples of her feminist stance, intelligence and ironic humor are depicted in her cartoons shown in the appendix of the book.

My Dear Mrs. Ames is an enlightening portrait of Blanche Ames Ames in which Clark uses extensive primary sources, such as the letters written between Blanche Ames Ames and her family, journals, and articles from various publications. Clark describes Blanche Ames Ames development from her role as the cosseted daughter of an upper-class New England family into an educated woman and concerned political reformer. Blanche Ames Ames was a feminist, a product of a middle class family with political reformers and outspoken advocates for unpopular causes on both sides. Clark alludes to Blanche Ames Ames confidence and lust for life, illustrating her wry sense of humor and observations of people. Whilst at Smith College she denounced the junior prom because of the Spanish American War; although an unpopular idea with her classmates she was still voted senior class president, indicating an early ability to impress those around her.

Clark describes the courtship and marriage of Blanche to Oakes Ames. They struggled through the early years of their marriage with her desire for independence from Oakes' family and his jealousy of hers. This and her experiences of childbirth helped her to form her political stance on the female role and the rights due to women. Oakes supported her political beliefs as a feminist and she freely chose the traditional role of wife and caregiver for her family. She felt committed to join the social clubs and other activities she felt were her responsibility because of her class and role in society. …

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