Until recently, a "womanless" American history was the norm. But in fact, without a history of women we neglect consideration of gender dynamics, sex roles, and family and sexual relationsthe very fundamentals of human interaction. In Portraits of American Women, G.J. Barker-Benfield and Catherine Clinton present twenty-four short essays on American women beginning with Pocahontas and ending with Betty Friedan.
The essays here locate the histories of women and men together by period and provide a sense of their continuities through the whole gallery of the American past. The editors selected women who made "significant contributions in the public realm," be they in the areas of art, literature, political engagement, educational activities, or reform movements. Included here are portraits of such luminaries as Georgia O'Keeffe, Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anne Hutchinson, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Fuller, and Rose Schneiderman, to name a few. Each portrait is fashioned to appeal to a wide range of readers, and all include sound scholarship and accessible prose, and raise provocative issues to illuminate women's lives within a broad range of historical transformations.