Book about suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw, plus need for suffrage film!

New book on Anna Howard ShawIt has been a long journey for women’s history professor Trisha Franzen of Albion College whose new book on suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw represents two decades of research and writing to produce the work now available from the University of Illinois Press. Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage is believed to be the first major work on this suffrage leader who was well known in her time but has faded into the past. Thank you, Trisha Franzan, for your vision and persistence.

The film “Suffragette,” now in production in England about the militant wing of the suffrage movement, is getting attention in the U.S. because of its subject matter (about women and women’s history), and also because of the opportunities for women in film roles. “The Academy’s Celluloid Ceiling” is the topic of a public radio program by host Martha Burk who interviewed Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood blog. The last dramatic film about the suffrage movement, “Iron Jawed Angels,” was produced by HBO back in 2004. Both commented that it’s about time for this part of American history to receive more exposure. Both Burk and Silverstein lament the declining numbers of women involved in the Hollywood movie business and say it is unacceptable to make it close to impossible for women to break into the industry.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.


2 responses to “Book about suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw, plus need for suffrage film!

  1. I remember attending a screening of ONE WOMAN, ONE VOTE at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women many years ago (1990s) and the following discussion about how much was necessarily left out of the documentary. At the time, I thought that female film makers should do what feminists and suffragists like Jane Addams did in the Progressive period, and go directly to wealthy women in the U.S. to develop philanthropic funding for a project that would provide the depth for the women’s rights movement that EYES ON THE PRIZE provided for the civil rights movement. I still think this is a good idea — why wait for Hollywood, or the government, to fund this project? The support should come from American women who certainly control as much wealth today as they did 100 years ago.

  2. Women’s history, beginning as it does, is cyclic and of paramount importance for women of today and all generations yet to come. I concur with Ms. Lewis, women coming together in solidarity to effect change is necessary: waiting on policy makers or media will result in another century of status quo. Philanthropists played a vast role in effectuating change and advancing the legal status of women during the 20th Century and while these women made an indelible mark, women in general, can contribute what they can to ensure that our foremother’s work was not in vain.

    Let me qualify that featuring Alice Paul in “Iron Jawed Angels” was a wonderfully brief documentary on the American suffrage movement. However, the story of Miss Paul’s international efforts (e.g., first woman to pen treaties and codify equality into law) has yet to be disseminated to the global public. It is our responsibility, as Ms. Lewis eloquently mentioned, to continue educating women about the unfinished work of those who paved the way to where we are now. Where are we? Not too distant from where our foremothers anchored the torch. We’ve yet to significantly advance that flame to horizons beyond where we stand in the world. When women have to continue fighting governments for rights already won, then those rights were never taken seriously from inception. As predicted over a century ago by Miss Paul, until women have an integral role in decision-making processes (leadership), they will continue to fight to maintain the work already done. In the 21st Century, we can see that she was right.

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