Before They Could Vote: American Women's Autobiographical Writing
Edited by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson
The life narratives in this collection are by ethnically diverse women of energy and ambition--some well known, some forgotten over generations--who confronted barriers of gender, class, race, and sexual difference as they pursued or adapted to adventurous new lives in a rapidly changing America. The engaging selections--from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, criminal confessions, and childhood sketches--span a hundred years in which women increasingly asserted themselves publicly. Some rose to positions of prominence as writers, activists, and artists; some sought education or wrote to support themselves and their families; some transgressed social norms in search of new possibilities. Each woman's story is strikingly individual, yet the brief narratives in this anthology collectively chart bold new visions of women's agency.