Cover image for From megaphones to microphones : speeches of American women, 1920-1960
From megaphones to microphones : speeches of American women, 1920-1960
Sarkela, Sandra J., 1949-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
xx, 341 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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PS663.W65 F76 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Until recently, scholars assumed that women stopped speaking after they won the vote in 1920 and did not reenter political life until the second wave of feminism began in the 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth. While national attention did dissipate after 1920, women did not retreat from political and civic life. Rather, after winning the vote, women's public activism shifted from a single-issue agenda to the myriad social problems and public issues that faced the nation. As such, women began to take their place in the public square as political actors in their own rights rather than strictly campaigning for a women's issue.

This anthology documents women's activism during this period by introducing heretofore unpublished public speeches that address a wide array of debated topics including child labor, international relations, nuclear disarmament, consumerism, feminism and anti-feminism, social welfare, family life, war, and the environment. Some speeches were delivered in legislative forums, others at schools, churches, business meetings, and media events; still others before national political organizations. To ensure diversity, the volume features speakers of different ages, races, classes, ethnicities, geographic regions, and political persuasions. The volume editors include short biographical introductions as well as historical context for each selection.

Author Notes

Susan Mallon Ross is Associate Professor of English and Communication at the State University of New York, Potsdam.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This wonderful and unique collection of speeches by women presents not only issues vital to women over a 40-year period but a history of American thought. It answers the question, what did women say once they got the vote? What is clear is that what they said is rich with multiracial and multicultural voices, the less familiar speakers as well as the better known often groundbreakers in their actions and words. The speeches are divided into four sections: "What Next? 1920-31" addresses such issues as peace, conservation, home economics, black male college students, and Native American agencies; "Whose New Deal? 1932-40" focuses on women's political organizations and social programs; "Speaking of War! 1940-45" includes speeches by such figures as Eleanor Roosevelt; "Is That All There Is? 1945-60" centers on equal rights, civil rights, and human liberties. This volume adds to the effort of Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, whose two-volume Man Cannot Speak for Her (CH, Apr'90) anthologized earlier American women's speeches, another beginning. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Libraries serving all levels of higher education and the general public. T. B. Dykeman Fairfield University

Table of Contents

Jane Addams (1860-1935)Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)Mrs. John P. Gooding (Chairman Forestry Division)Adelaide Steele BaylorMrs. E. O. LeatherwoodMrs. W. R. AlvordFlorence Ellinwood Allen (1884-1966)Ruth Muskrat Bronson (ca. 1897-1982)Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961)Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (1876-1938)Elizabeth Manroe Sippel (ca. 1870-1940)Florence Jaffray Harriman (1870-1967)Ruth Morgan (ca. 1880-1934)Ella Reeve Bloor (1862-1951)Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969)Frances Perkins (1880-1965)Anna Kelton Wiley (1877-1964)Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955)Aimee Kennedy Semple McPherson (1890-1944)Mrs. Helen Robbins BittermanMrs. Laura Hughes LundeLuisa Moreno (1907-1992)Eleanor RooseveltDorothy Thompson (1894-1961)Hattie Caraway (1878-1950)Dorothy Day (1897-1980)Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987)Mary Anderson (1872-1964)Mary Beard (1876-1946)Ella Reeve BloorHelen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980)Mary Church TerrellEmily Greene Balch (1867-1961)Margaret Chase Smith (1898-1995)Maida Springer-Kemp (1910-)Dorothy Kenyon (1888-1972)Margaret M. Henderson (1911-)Justine Wise Polier (1903-1987)Katie Louchheim (1903-1991)Dorothy Shaver (1889-1959)Fannia Cohn (1885-1962)Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964)Martha May Eliot (1891-1978)Pauli Murray (1910-1985)
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
I What Next? 1920-1931p. 1
Address at "Portrait Monument" Dedication (February 15, 1921)p. 5
The Black Mammy Monument (1923)p. 11
Talk to Young Men of Howard University (March 20, 1925)p. 15
General Federation of Women's Clubs--Early 1920s, Various Convention Speechesp. 19
The Conservation Department's Forestry Program (June 22, 1920)p. 21
Home Economics Education (June 22, 1920)p. 22
Developing Better Understanding and Friendship between the Pan-Americans (1924)p. 23
Report of Department of American Citizenship (1926)p. 24
Speech on the Outlawry of War Delivered at the Conference on Causes and Cure of War (January 18, 1925)p. 29
Excerpt from Miss Muskrat's Address on the North American Indian in The American Indian (February 1927)p. 39
What the Negro Wants Politically (1928)p. 43
Speech before the Indian Rights Association (1928) (Zitkala-Sa, Red Bird)p. 51
Woman's Importance as an Investor of Money, Time and Leisure (January 17, 1929)p. 63
Pond's Radio: Mrs. J. Borden Harriman (February 2, 1931)p. 69
Suggested Readings, 1920-1932p. 73
II Whose New Deal? 1932-1940p. 75
Campaign Issues Challenging Political Parties, "Challenge of the Woman Voter" (April 26, 1932)p. 79
Speech to Milk Shed Conference (1933)p. 85
Statement by the President of the Birth Control League of Massachusetts (January 1935)p. 89
Social Insurance for U.S. (February 25, 1935)p. 93
Philadelphia Branch of the National Woman's Party (September 9, 1935)p. 103
What Libraries Mean to the Nation (April 1, 1936)p. 113
Woman and the Future (January 25, 1937)p. 119
Clarifying Our Vision with the Facts (October 31, 1937)p. 125
This Is My Task (March 12, 1939)p. 133
General Federation of Women's Clubs: Lucretia Mott Amendment (ERA) (1940)p. 143
For the Amendmentp. 145
Against the Amendmentp. 151
Caravans of Sorrow (March 3, 1940)p. 155
Suggested Readings, 1932-1940p. 161
III Speaking of War! 1940-1945p. 163
To the Democratic National Convention, Chicago (July 18, 1940)p. 167
The Great Democracy of the Free (October 24, 1940)p. 171
The Lend-Lease Bill (February 27, 1941)p. 181
Address to the Liberal-Socialist Alliance in New York City (December 8, 1941)p. 189
The Role of American Women in Wartime (September 24, 1942)p. 195
Radio Speeches (February 22, 1942)p. 203
Radio Broadcast to Nurses (July 1, 1942)p. 209
Women's Role in Winning the War (August 25 and 26, 1942)p. 213
Woman and War (1941)p. 218
American-Soviet Friendship (December 9, 1944)p. 219
Suggested Readings, 1940-1945p. 221
IV Is That All There Is? 1945-1960p. 223
My Democratic Credo (March 29, 1946)p. 227
Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the Equal Rights Amendment (March 10, 1948)p. 239
Toward Human Unity or Beyond Nationalism (Second Part) (April 7, 1948)p. 241
Address to Business and Professional Women's Clubs (January 3, 1949)p. 251
Civil Rights and Liberties (March 4, 1949)p. 259
Tydings Committee Testimony (March 14, 1950)p. 267
Women Share Service for Freedom (February 16, 1952)p. 275
Freedom--Not Fear (February 1, 1954)p. 281
Standard Stump Speech (September 20, 1954)p. 289
Address before the Philadelphia Fashion Group (February 7, 1955)p. 297
Talk at the ILGWU Convention (May 14, 1956)p. 303
Acceptance of AAUW Achievement Award (1956)p. 307
The Community and Its Children (1958)p. 313
Being Good Neighbors--The Challenge of the Mid-Twentieth Century (February 12, 1959)p. 321
Suggested Readings, 1945-1960p. 333
Epiloguep. 335
Appendix Speeches by American Women Published in Vital Speeches of the Day, October 8, 1934-December 31, 1959p. 337