Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Karlyn Kohrs Campbell | Go to book overview

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN

( 1860-1935), social reformer, lecturer, and writer/ editor

DALE M. BAUER AND MARY V. MARCHAND

Charlotte Perkins Gilman is perhaps best known today for her remarkable fiction narratives, The Yellow Wallpaper and Herland, which are now part of the American literature canon and are considered the most challenging of early feminist fiction. The Yellow Wallpaper has been hailed and marketed as one of the best American short stories, first by William Dean Howells and later by feminist critics; Herland has been described as "a lost feminist utopian novel" bound to appeal to readers of socialist and science fiction ( Lane, intro., 1979). In her day, however, her reputation as a public speaker and an editor of first The Impress (lasting twenty weeks in 1894) and then The Forerunner, the magazine she wrote and edited from 1909 through 1916, far outstripped her fame as a writer of fiction. Her journalism ran in popular magazines and newspapers, as did most of her short fiction. The majority of her work was serialized in The Forerunner, where her editorials, book reviews, poetry, fiction, and commentary appeared after she tested her ideas in the public forums of the lecture hall, the woman's club, Nationalist organizations, and the various Women's Congresses and National American Woman Suffrage Association conventions.

As Perkins Gilman wrote in her autobiography, she spoke from New Orleans to Oregon"and everywhere between. . . . To have traversed one's country from side to side, top to bottom and corner to corner, for thirty-six years, gives one a fair working knowledge of it" ( Living, 1990:294). She drew on that extensive knowledge of the country and its people to become one of the best known women orators of the twentieth century.


BACKGROUND

Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman, niece of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catharine Beecher and a member of the famous Beecher family, was the younger

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Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Ti-Grace Atkinson 1
  • Emily Greene Balch 25
  • Clare Boothe Luce 40
  • Rachel Louise Carson 72
  • Margaret Chase Smith 90
  • Mary Daly 120
  • Jessie Daniel Ames 134
  • Andrea Dworkin 175
  • Geraldine Ann Ferraro 190
  • Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980), Member of Congress, Defender of Liberal Democratic Principles, Advocate for Women's Equity 207
  • Margaret Higgins Sanger 238
  • Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968), Advocate for the Blind, Socialist, and Feminist 254
  • Aimee Kennedy Semple Mcpherson 273
  • Catharine A. Mackinnon 287
  • Robin Evonne Morgan 306
  • Pauli Murray 319
  • Leonora O'Reilly 331
  • Frances Perkins 345
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman 359
  • Anna Eleanor Roosevelt 379
  • Patricia Scott Schroeder 395
  • Phyllis Stewart Schlafly 409
  • Fannie Lou Townsend Hamer 424
  • Alyce Faye Wattleton 436
  • Ann Willis Richards 452
  • Martha Wright Griffiths 465
  • Index 477
  • About the Contributors 489
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