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Blackwell, Alice Stone, her copy) Beard, Mary R., ed.

America Through Women's Eyes.


Blackwell's Copy
[Blackwell, Alice Stone]. Beard, Mary R., ed. America Through Women's Eyes. New York: Macmillan, 1933.
8vo.; blue cloth, stamped in gilt; multi-colored dust-jacket, worn, lightly chipped.
First edition. From Blackwell's library, with her ownership signature in pencil to the front endpaper.
Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), was a feminist historian, a writer, and a suffrage activist. Born into a middle-class Indianapolis family, she graduated from DePauw University and pursued a further degree at Columbia University, but ultimately abandoned doctoral studies, considering them too theoretical to offer solutions to pressing social problems. Beard preferred active politics to academic speculation; her work for woman's suffrage was driven by her belief that government should act to improve the lives of all disadvantaged people, not just women. She refused to support the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1920s on the grounds that its focus was too narrow.
After the 19th Amendment was passed, Beard focused on scholarship in women's history as a discrete field. In 1931 she made a major statement about the importance of women throughout history in On Understanding Women: "Women, assuming chief responsibility for the continuance and care of life, are a force so vital and powerful that anthropologists can devise no meter to register it." She elaborated on this theme in her later books: America Through Women's Eyes (1933); Women as a Force in History (1946); and The Force of Women in Japanese History (1953). In addition, Beard actively promoted women's studies at Radcliffe, Smith, Barnard, Vassar, and at Syracuse University: "Despite the fact that she was something of a 'loner' in the women's movement and did not seek to organize a following, Mary Beard was a pioneer for women's rights and women's history in the 20th-century" (HAWH, 64).

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