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Public spirit, private ambition : Mabel Loomis Todd and the "Women's Era" in Amherst, Massachusetts, 1881-1917

Author: Brooke M Steinhauser
Publisher: [S.l. : s.n.,] 2011.
Dissertation: A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the State University of New York College at Oneonta at its Cooperstown Graduate Program in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, 2011.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The decades leading up to and directly following the dawn of the twentieth century formed a pivotal moment in American women's history. As the country underwent massive transformations wrought by the Civil War, immigration, and industrialization, women's roles as housewives and mothers in the private sphere of the mid-century home began to change. In the 1890s, following more than half a century celebrating the
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Details

Genre/Form: Theses
Named Person: Mabel Loomis Todd
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Brooke M Steinhauser
OCLC Number: 768131347
Credits: Advisor: Cynthia G. Falk.
Description: vii, 81 leaves : ill. (some col.), gen. tables, ports. ; 29 cm.
Responsibility: Brooke M. Steinhauser .

Abstract:

The decades leading up to and directly following the dawn of the twentieth century formed a pivotal moment in American women's history. As the country underwent massive transformations wrought by the Civil War, immigration, and industrialization, women's roles as housewives and mothers in the private sphere of the mid-century home began to change. In the 1890s, following more than half a century celebrating the "cult" of domesticity, a New Womanhood was on the rise and the "Women's Era" in America commenced.

This thesis examines the efforts and ambitions of Mabel Loomis Todd in Amherst, Massachusetts, between the years of 1881 and 1917. Acknowledged today as the first posthumous editor of Emily Dickinson's poetry, Todd's life provides the compelling narrative of a woman negotiating between shifting ideologies and white, middle-class social conventions. Balancing a yearning for recognition and self-development, an eccentric private life, and the realities of class and status in American society, she became a civic leader through her work with women's associations, a world traveler and national lecturer, and a successful writer and editor.

My research identifies the unifying qualities of her many endeavors and the impetus behind them in order to produce a highly dimensional portrait with implications for broader women's history at the pivotal turn of the century. I have endeavored to juxtapose Todd's public endeavors and private ambitions by contextualizing them in the existing literature on the female American experience and by mining an unusually comprehensive cache of primary sources.

Above all, Todd was a self-made woman whose ambitions were realized by consciously working within, and simultaneously pushing, the boundaries of accepted social mores in Amherst, Massachusetts, during the development of New Womanhood in America.

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