Intimate Practices: Literacy and Cultural Work in U.S. Women's Clubs, 1880-1920
University of Illinois Press, 1997 - 367 pages
Winner of the 1995 University of Illinois Press-National Women's Studies
Association manuscript prize
Women's clubs at the turn of the century were numerous, dedicated to
a number of issues, and crossed class, religious, and racial lines. Emphasizing
the intimacy engendered by shared reading and writing in these groups,
Anne Ruggles Gere contends that these literacy practices meant that club
members took an active part in reinventing the nation during a period
of major change. Gere uses archival material that documents club members'
perspectives and activities around such issues as Americanization, womanhood,
peace, consumerism, benevolence, taste, and literature--and offers a rare
depth of insight into the interests and lives of American women from the
fin de siècle through the beginning of the roaring twenties.
Intimate Practices is unique in its exploration of a range of
women's clubs--Mormon, Jewish, white middle-class, African American, and
working class--and paints a vast and colorful multicultural, multifaceted
canvas of these widely-divergent women's groups.
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