Before They Could Vote: American Women's Autobiographical Writing, 1819–1919

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Sidonie A. Smith, Julia Watson, Sidonie Smith
Univ of Wisconsin Press, Aug 1, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 472 pages

The life narratives in this collection are by ethnically diverse women of energy and ambition—some well known, some forgotten over generations—who confronted barriers of gender, class, race, and sexual difference as they pursued or adapted to adventurous new lives in a rapidly changing America. The engaging selections—from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, criminal confessions, and childhood sketches—span a hundred years in which women increasingly asserted themselves publicly. Some rose to positions of prominence as writers, activists, and artists; some sought education or wrote to support themselves and their families; some transgressed social norms in search of new possibilities. Each woman’s story is strikingly individual, yet the brief narratives in this anthology collectively chart bold new visions of women’s agency.

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Before they could vote: American women's autobiographical writing, 1819-1919

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Smith and Watson, professors at the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University respectively, have culled from a wide spectrum of American women's autobiographical writing of the 100 years ... Read full review

Contents

1 An Authentic Statement of the Case and Conduct of Rose Butler who was tried convicted and executed forthe crime of arson 1819
23
2 A Narrative of the Life of Mrs Mary Jemison as told to James E Seaver 1824
37
3 The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee1836
124
4 Selections from Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 18381839 1863
147
5 Transcription of Speech Given at the Akron Womens Rights Convention from the AntiSlavery BugleJune 21 1851
177
6 Selections from Youth from Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli 1852
180
7 Testimony Given in Canada 1855
202
8 A Brief Narrative of the Life of Mrs Adele M Jewel1869 Adele
205
An Indian Teacher among Indians 1900
328
Why I am a Pagan 1902
336
16 Nurslings of the Sky from The Land of Little Rain 1903
340
17 Mary MacLane Meets the Vampire on the Isle of Treacherous Delights 1910
347
18 The Promised Land from The Promised Land 1912
356
19 Lives in The Independent and the Question of Rac
375
A Southern Woman
376
A northern woman
382

9 Selections from Her Journals 187478
219
Their Wrongs and Claims 1883
232
11 An Old Woman and Her Recollections as recorded by Thomas Savage 1877
243
12 Beginning to Work from A New England Girlhood1889
254
13 Looking Back on Girlhood 1892
270
14 The Club Movement among Colored Womenof America 1900
279
15 Sketches from The Atlantic Monthly
298
Impressions of an Indian Childhood 1900
300
The School Days of an Indian Girl 1900
315
A negro nurse
390
My Flight Across the English Channel 1912
398
21 Autobiographical Essays
405
Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian 1909
406
Sui Sin Far the Half Chinese Writer Tells of Her Career
419
An Autobiography 1919
427
Bibliography
447
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About the author (2006)

Sidonie Smith is Martha Guernsey Colby Collegiate Professor of English and Women's Studies and chair of the Department of English at the University of Michigan. Julia Watson is associate professor of comparative studies at The Ohio State University. Their several previous books include Reading Autobiography and Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader.

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