I AM DEEPLY INDEBTED to my colleagues in women's history for the support they have given me over the years.An enormous amount of work has been done by scholars during the past two decades. The dialogues that have occurred among historians of women have been no less sharp than in other areas. But as a general rule, I believe there has been a greater sense of community and shared concerns than in other fields in our discipline. In some ways, this is reflected in the "collective" events of women's history, such as the Berkshire conferences; at other times, it simply exists in conversations where criticism is supportive rather than destructive.
The present work has been substantially enhanced by the studies that have been published over the past twenty years. Most of the authors of these works are mentioned in the bibliographical essay which appears at the end of this volume, and to select out any of these would inevitably do injustice to others. But I am particularly grateful for the criticisms I have received from Nancy Cott and Nancy Hewitt, whose wise and acute observations improved this present book significantly.As always, I am also indebted to the community of scholars at Duke and Chapel Hill, especially Anne F. Scott, Jaquelyn Dowd Hall, Jane DeHart, Peter Filene, and others from the board of the Duke— UNC Center for Research on Women.And I am especially appreciative of the help I received on this venture from our graduate student community, most particularly Christina Greene, Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, and Kirsten Fischer.
Originally, this book was written as a dissertation under the direction of William E. Leuchtenburg.I continue to be grateful for his support in that enterprise and to cherish our friendship, as well as that of my graduate student