1889 – 1920 Modernizing America Supplemental Materials

Art Activities

Exercise and Functional Fashion

Industrialized clothing manufacturing during the second half of the 20th century paved the way for new department stores. This new urban space helped change the way women lived within the city. Before 1850, it was unusual to see a respectable woman out in public without a male companion. New shopping districts offered places for independent leisure and refreshment. Affluent women could socialize unchaperoned, and working-class women could find white-collar jobs as sales clerks and buyers. At the same time, city parks across the country provided recreational space for women to enjoy independently and where they could engage in physical activities including ice skating and bicycling.

Students will embody the role of creative designer for a 19th century department store on Ladies’ Mile. Their job is to market one of three new recreational outfits worn by the modern woman (a cycling suit, a golf ensemble, or a gym suit) by constructing a three-dimensional window display that exhibits the unique characteristics of their chosen outfit and how it represents the changing societal roles of women.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Recruiting Women to the War Effort

War posters, with a variety of messages and themes, saturated the American landscape during WWI. Found in libraries, municipal buildings, factories, schools, places of worship, and stores, they were a constant reminder that every small action was essential to the war effort. Women were specifically targeted as essential war-time contributors on the homefront, and many were instrumental in producing and disseminating the posters themselves.

Taking inspiration from authentic WWI posters, students will act as poster artists to design a reimagined war poster that addresses the stereotypes and bias used by wartime artists to more accurately represent wartime roles of women on the homefront.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Zitkala-Sa and Portrait Photography

Gertrude Käsebier is considered one of the most influential female photographers of the early 20th century who, along with contemporaries such as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, helped establish photography as a fine art. Skilled in portrait photography, Käsebier often photographed underrepresented groups, including women and Native Americans. Her portraits of Sioux and Lakota performers in Buffalo Bill Cody’s traveling show are some of her most notable works. Käsebier had the fortunate opportunity to photograph Zitkala-Sa. The portraits taken in Käsebier’s New York studio uniquely illustrate the two worlds in which Zitkala-Sa lived.

Inspired by Gertrude Käsebier’s portraits of Zitkala-Sa and her life story, students will compose and photograph a series of portraits of a classmate using clothing, objects, and backgrounds that represent different aspects of his or her partner’s identity. By embodying the role of both sitter and photographer, students will recognize the benefits and challenges of sharing one’s story through portraiture and the similarities and differences between 19th century photography and the modern selfie. By creating a two-to-three portrait series, students will appreciate themselves and historical figures as complex individuals who play multiple roles within the communities in which they live.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Source Notes

Modern Womanhood

Exercise and Functional Fashion

  • Inness, Sherrie A. “‘It Is Pluck, But Is It Sense?’: Athletic Student Culture in Progressive Era Girls College Fiction.” Journal of Popular Culture, 27, 1 (Summer 1993): 99-123.
  • Mintz, Steve. Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Higher Education and the Domestic Sciences

  • Sturgis, Cynthia. “‘How’re You Gonna Keep ’Em down on the Farm?’: Rural Women and the Urban Model in Utah.” Agricultural History, 60, no. 2 (1986): 182-199.
  • Sturgis, Cynthia. “The Professionalization of Farm Women 1890–1940.” Women in Utah History. Edited by Patricia Lyn Scott, Lina Thatcher, and Susan Allred Whetstone. University Press of Colorado, 2005, pp. 154-182.

Housework and Electricity

  • Schwartz Cowan, Ruth. “The Industrial Revolution in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century,” in Linda Kerber ed. Women’s America: Refocusing the Past. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 401.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Expanding Women’s Role and Fighting Public Evils

  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Recruiting Women to the War Effort

  • Greenwald, Maurine. Women, War, and Work: The Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the US. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980.
  • Dumenil, Lynn. The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Black Social Workers at the French Front

  • Chandler, Susan Kerr. “‘That Biting, Stinging Thing Which Ever Shadows Us’: African-American Social Workers in France during World War I.” Social Service Review 69, no. 3 (1995): 498-514.
  • Rief, Michelle. “Thinking Locally, Acting Globally: The International Agenda of African American Clubwomen, 1880–1940.” The Journal of African American History 89, no. 3 (2004): 203-22.

Life Story: Elizabeth Cochrane (aka Nellie Bly)

  • “Girl Reporter Derring-Do,” in Susan Ware, Modern American Women: A Documentary History, New York: McGraw Hill, 2002, pp. 4-7.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library, “Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., vol. 14, Gale, 2004, pp. 78-80. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Accessed June 10, 2018.
  • Domina, Thurston. “Muckraking.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd ed., vol. 3, St. James Press, 2013, pp. 651-653. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Accessed June 11, June 2018.
  • Macy, Sue. Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly. The National Geographic Society, 2009. Stevenson, Keira. 2017.

Life Story: Sara “Madam C.J.” Breedlove Walker

  • Bundles, A’Lelia. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker. New York: Washington Square Press, 2001.
  • Peiss, Kathy. “Making Faces: The Cosmetics Industry and the Cultural Construction of Gender, 1890–1930.” In Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women’s History, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz with Ellen Carol DuBois, 342-362. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Life Story: Ellen Swallow Richards

  • Richardson, Barbara. “Ellen Swallow Richards: ‘Humanistic Oekologist,’ ‘Applied Sociologist,’ and the Founding of Sociology.” The American Sociologist 33, no. 3 (2002): 21‑7. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27700314.
  • Titterington, Lynda C. “Richards, Ellen Swallow.” In Women in American History, Volume 3, edited by Peg A. Lamphier and Rosanne Welch, 141-142. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2017.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Fighting for Social Reform

Waged Industrial Work

  • Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
  • O’Kain, Dennis. “Lewis Hine in Georgia.” The Georgia Review 34, no. 3 (1980): 535-44. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41397965.
  • Parker, Lewis W. “Condition of Labor in Southern Cotton Mills.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 33, no. 2 (1909): 54-62.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Waged Work and Protective Laws

  • Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books, 1996.

Mexican Women Unionize

  • García, Mario T. “The Chicana in American History: The Mexican Women of El Paso, 1880–1920: A Case Study.” Pacific Historical Review 49, no. 2 (1980): 315-337.
  • Perales, Monica. “El Paso Laundry Strike.” In Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez Korrol, 228-229. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Fighting for Healthy Women and Families

  • Nation, Sarah. “Sanger, Margaret (1879-1966).” In Women in American History, Volume 3, edited by Peg A. Lamphier and Rosanne Welch, 145-147. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2017.
  • Gordon, Linda. Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: Birth Control in America. New York: Penguin Books, 1990.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

What is Feminism?

  • Cott, Nancy F. The Grounding of Modern Feminism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.
  • “Feminists Ask for Equal Chance.” The New York Times, February 21, 1914.
  • Schwartz, Judith. Radical Feminists of Heterodoxy: Greenwich Village, 1912–1940. Lebanon, NH: New Victorian Publishers, 1982.
  • “Talk on Feminism Stirs a Great Crowd.” The New York Times. February 18, 1914.
  • Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2011.

Life Story: Jane Addams

  • Nancy Woloch, Women and the American Experience. New York: New York, The McGraw Hill Companies, 2011.
  • “Jane Addams-Biographical,” from Nobel Lectures, Peace 1926–1950, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972.

Life Story: Emma Goldman

  • “Emma Goldman,” in Jewish Women’s Archive.
  • “The Emma Goldman Papers,” University of California, Berkeley, Library Archives. Accessed August 20, 2018.
  • “Nellie Bly Again: Interviews with Emma Goldman,” New York World, September 17, 1893.
  • Emma Goldman, “Woman Suffrage,” in Alix Kates Shulman, ed., Red Emma Speaks: An Emma