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Suffrage] Palmer, [Bertha Honore]

Addresses and Reports of Mrs. Potter Palmer, President of the Board of Lady Managers, World's Columbian Commission.

Book

[Suffrage]. Palmer, Mrs. Potter [Bertha Honore]. Addresses and Reports of Mrs. Potter Palmer / President of the Board of Lady Mangers, World's Columbian Commission. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Company, 1894.
Large 8vo; 200 pp.; frontispiece portrait of the author and two other plates [the exterior and interior of the impressive woman's building]; marbled endpapers; original three-quarter dark green morocco and marbled boards, spine paneled with title and date in gilt; t.e.g.; beveled edges, , morocco sunned to mostly brown, bottom edges badly rubbed with dents, corners bumped, very good.  With tipped in card requesting acknowledgment of receipt to Mrs. Susan G. Cooke, Secretary Board of Lady Managers.
First and only Edition, apparently only printing.
Bertha Honore Palmer (1849-1918), Chicago philanthropist, clubwoman and art collector, received national prominence as president of the Board of  Lady Managers during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. This publication represents her crowning achievement that solidified her leadership position not only in Chicago, but with women in the rest of the country and, in fact, the world.  Working with Boston architect Sophia Haden, the Woman's Building housed decorated art objects from 47 countries. It was through Palmer's diplomatic efforts with the titled of Austria, England, and France that objects were sent. Mrs. Palmer's own art collection of French Impressionists (later donated to the Chicago Art Institute and the basis for their significant holdings) led to her commission murals from Mary Cassatt and Mary MacMonnies as well as other women artists. She declared in her opening address, reproduced in this text, "Without touching upon politics, suffrage, or other irrelevant issues, this unique organization of women for women will devote itself to the promotion of their material interests…favor women's industrial equality and her receiving just compensation for services rendered." Mrs. Palmer seized the opportunity of a world forum to publicize her message of women's equality. As such, it is a major document in the progress of women's rights. The world-wide representation of exhibits at the Woman's Building  "illuminated women's emergence as a social and economic force and created sympathy for the handicaps under which they worked..." (NAW).  Although microfilm exists of this text, this is the only edition of this book.
Later in life, Mrs. Palmer engaged in buying and selling of paintings, and has been called "as much a dealer as she was a collector…" She championed Jane Addams and her work at Hull House, was named a commissioner to the Paris Exposition of 1900 by President McKinley (the only woman), and used her influence to obtain Jane Addams's appointment as a member of the Jury of International Awards. As an aside, she increased her family fortune by more than 100 percent in the 20 years between her husband's death and her own. She redefined the social roles of an American upper-class woman for herself and for those who came after her.
NAW II, pp. 8-10.  
Women Building Chicago 1790-1990, by Schultz and Hast, pp. 661-664.
(#5939)

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