Johanna Neuman

Aug 29, 2017

Gilded Suffragists

The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote

New York University Press 2017

purchase at In the late 19th century New York socialites enjoyed a newfound celebrity status thanks to their conspicuous wealth and the attention of the rapidly expanding newspaper industry. Many of these women sought to use their status to promote causes important to them, most notably the suffrage movement. Johanna Neuman's Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote (New York University Press, 2017) describes the role they played in the suffrage campaigns in fin-de-siecle America, one that saw social rank exploited to advance a radical cause. As Neuman explains, their efforts in support of the enfranchisement of women were the most dramatic example of their growing degree of involvement in public affairs, as elite women worked to advance a variety of causes dear to them. Coming at a time when the suffrage movement was becalmed by setbacks and disagreements over goals, their participation gave the effort much-needed resources and energy. By organizing rallies, raising funds, and even campaigning personally on behalf of suffrage measures and against anti-suffrage politicians, their contributions played a vital role in winning for women the right to vote, both in New York and nationally.

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