Synopses & Reviews
On screen and off, movie star Mary Pickford personified the New Woman” of the early 1900s—a moniker given to women who began to demand more autonomy inside and outside the home. Well educated and career-minded, these women also embraced the new mass culture in which consumption and leisure were seen to play a pivotal role in securing happiness. Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman
examines Pickfords role in the rise of industrial capitalism and consumer culture, and uses her life and unprecedented career as a wildly popular actress and savvy film mogul to illustrate the opportunities and obstacles faced by American women during this time.
Following Pickfords life from her childhood on stage to her rise as a powerful studio executive, this book gives an overview of her enduring contribution to American film and mass culture. It also explores her struggles to surpass her confining public film persona as Americas Sweetheart” with her creative and business achievements—mirroring how women, both then and today, must reconcile domestic life with professional aspirations and work.
About the Lives of American Women series:
Selected and edited by renowned womens historian Carol Berkin, these brief biographies are designed for use in undergraduate courses. Rather than a comprehensive approach, each biography focuses instead on a particular aspect of a womens life that is emblematic of her time, or which made her a pivotal figure in the era. The emphasis is on a good read,” featuring accessible writing and compelling narratives, without sacrificing sound scholarship and academic integrity. Primary sources at the end of each biography reveal the subjects perspective in her own words. Study questions and an annotated bibliography support the student reader.
Praise for the Lives of American Women series:
Finally! The majority of studentsby which I mean womenwill have the opportunity to read biographies of women from our nations past. (Men can read them too, of course!) The Lives of American Women series features an eclectic collection of books, readily accessible to students who will be able to see the contributions of women in many fields over the course of our history. Long overdue, these books will be a valuable resource for teachers, students, and the public at large.”
Cokie Roberts, author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty
Just what any professor wants: books that will intrigue, inform, and fascinate students! These short, readable biographies of American womenspecifically designed for classroom usegive instructors an appealing new option to assign to their history students.”
Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History, Cornell University
For educators keen to include women in the American story, but hampered by the lack of thoughtful, concise scholarship, here comes Lives of American Women, embracing Abigail Adamss counsel to Johnremember the ladies. And high time, too!”
Lesley S. Herrmann, Executive Director, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
These books are, above all, fascinating stories that will engage and inspire readers. They offer a glimpse into the lives of key women in history who either defied tradition or who successfully maneuvered in a mans world to make an impact. The stories of these vital contributors to American history deliver just the right formula for instructors looking to provide a more complicated and nuanced view of history.”
Rosanne Lichatin, 2005 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America History Teacher of the Year
Students both in the general survey course and in specialized offerings like my course on U.S. womens history can get a great understanding of an era from a short biography. Learning a lot about a single but complex character really helps to deepen appreciation of what womens lives were like in the past.”
Patricia Cline Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara
Biographies are, indeed, back. Not only will students read them, biographies provide an easy way to demonstrate particularly important historical themes or ideas. . . . Undergraduate readers will be challenged to think more deeply about what it means to be a woman, citizen, and political actor. . . . I am eager to use this in my undergraduate survey and specialty course.”
Jennifer Thigpen, Washington State University, Pullman
The Lives of American Women authors raise all of the big issues I want my classes to confrontand deftly fold their arguments into riveting narratives that maintain students excitement.”
Woody Holton, author of Abigail Adams
This is a brief biography that explores Mary Pickford's life. This book is a part of Westview’s “On the World Stage”series, edited by Bonnie Smith. Each title in the series features brief biographies of figures whose lives serve as a lens onto a major trend, event, movement, or crisis of their eras, and whose stories will be the entry point for a deeper understanding of a particular historical time.
About the Author
Kathleen Feeley is associate professor in the Department of History and an advisory board member of the Womens and Gender Studies program and the Visual and Media Studies program at the University of Redlands. She is co-editor (with Jennifer Frost) of When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in American History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). She is at work on The Mightiest Publicity Powers on Earth”: The Rise of the Hollywood Press Corps in Mid-Twentieth-Century America. A former associate editor of Reviews in American History, she writes and teaches on media, gender, and popular and political culture in modern U.S. history.
Table of Contents
1 From Gladys Smith to Mary Pickford: A Childhood on Stage and At Work, 1892-1909
2 Pickford and the Moving Pictures: Creating the Art and Business of Film, 19091913
3 A Star and a Producer are Born, 1913-1916
4 Americas Sweetheart and American Empire in the Age of the Great War, 1917-1920
5 Mary and Doug: American Royalty, Hollywood Style, 1920-1926
6 Weathering Personal, Industrial, and Economic Crises, 1927-1936
7 Studio Executive and Philanthropist: A Life Beyond Performing, 1936-1979