Today on the blog, editor Katie Uva sits down with Elisabeth Israels Perry to talk about her research process and her insights as she prepares her new book, After the Vote: Feminist Politics in La Guardia's New York (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019).
How did you become interested in writing about the women of the La Guardia Administration? Did this project extend out of your work on Belle Moskowitz or was there a different impetus?
The opening line of my current book is, “This book is about the women who went to my grandmother’s funeral.” So to answer your second question first, yes, this project did extend out of my biography of Belle Moskowitz, who was my paternal grandmother. Her unexpected death at the age of fifty-five in 1933 brought over 3,000 mourners to her funeral, many of whom were women prominent in city politics. There was thus a natural progression to go from writing about one New York City woman in politics to reconstructing the network of progressive feminists.
One of the most striking features of many New York streets, however, is more intangible than length or shape. So many of these streets are metonyms, embodying a bigger concept than the physical space they denote. Wall Street: the world of American finance. Madison Avenue: mid-century advertising. And perhaps the most legendary of all: Broadway. For most people the name conjures the theater industry that occupies its center, full of bright lights, marquees, and creative ambition. This is a core component of Broadway, yet this street has so much more to it — it’s the longest street in Manhattan and stretches the entire length, cutting assertively across the grid with the force of a longer history behind it and leaving a trail of small parks and squares in its wake. On a beautiful spring day, some friends and I set out to walk the length of Broadway in Manhattan from top to bottom, a journey totaling 13.5 miles. In addition to 27 Starbucks and 18 McDonalds, here are some other highlights of what we saw:
Amy Werbel's Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock
By Katie Uva
It’s the first Thursday in June! To most people, that means little more than that it is almost the first Friday in June, and that it was just the first Wednesday in June. But to New York City school children, it means Brooklyn-Queens Day, a gratuitous day off to go to amusement parks, run through sprinklers, and monitor the steady progress of ice cream melting down one’s face and arms. Nowadays, this holiday is a citywide phenomenon and has been renamed Chancellor's Day, but those of us old-timers who went to school before 2006 remember when Brooklyn-Queens Day used to be only for kids in Brooklyn and Queens, the one day of the year when kids in Manhattan actually envied us. But what is Brooklyn-Queens Day anyway?
By Daniela Sheinin
Much has been written on the American “New Woman,” what the historian Einav Rabinovitch-Fox calls “both an image and an appellation referring to a generation of women who came of age between 1890 and 1920 and challenged, through their attitudes and appearances, Victorian values and gender norms.” Her identity varied by race, class, ethnicity, and age. The New Woman breached gender norms, pressed for a public voice, and has been tied by some to feminism, the campaign for women’s suffrage, consumer culture, and female sexuality. New and sometimes radical fashion trends marked an expression of New Woman feminism and a break from a gendered, culturally confining past. These included versions of the Japanese kimono and the “ ‘Village smock,’ a bohemian version of the kimono and the dress item most associated with Greenwich Village feminists.” Moreover, there’s evidence that manufacturers produced low-price knockoffs of the kimono and other New Woman fashion trends, eagerly consumed by some working class women.
By Keisha N. Blain
Founded by Marcus Garvey, with the assistance of Amy Ashwood, in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1914, the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) was the largest and most influential Pan-Africanist movement of the twentieth century. Emphasizing racial pride, black political self-determination, racial separatism, African heritage, economic self-sufficiency, and African redemption from European colonization, Garvey envisioned the UNIA as a vehicle for improving the social, political, and economic conditions of black people everywhere. From Kingston, Jamaica, Garvey oversaw UNIA affairs before relocating to Harlem. At its peak, from 1919 to 1924, the organization attracted millions of followers in more than forty countries around the world.
This post is excerpted and adapted from Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom,
courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Press.
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