Cover for GERE: Intimate Practices: Literacy and Cultural Work in U.S. Women's Clubs, 1880-1920

Intimate Practices

Literacy and Cultural Work in U.S. Women's Clubs, 1880-1920

Winner of the 1995 University of Illinois Press-National Women's Studies Association manuscript prize

Women's clubs at the turn of the century were numerous, dedicated to a number of issues, and crossed class, religious, and racial lines. Emphasizing the intimacy engendered by shared reading and writing in these groups, Anne Ruggles Gere contends that these literacy practices meant that club members took an active part in reinventing the nation during a period of major change. Gere uses archival material that documents club members' perspectives and activities around such issues as Americanization, womanhood, peace, consumerism, benevolence, taste, and literature--and offers a rare depth of insight into the interests and lives of American women from the fin de siècle through the beginning of the roaring twenties.

Intimate Practices is unique in its exploration of a range of women's clubs--Mormon, Jewish, white middle-class, African American, and working class--and paints a vast and colorful multicultural, multifaceted canvas of these widely-divergent women's groups.

Listen to source interviews from Blues Before Sunrise 2

  • Abb Locke - When Howlin' Wolf met Chicago's notorious "Two-Gun Pete"
  • Little Brother Montgomery - Hoboing in his youth
  • Red Maddock - Days with Chicago singing pianist Billy Samuels
  • Grady Freemen - A Blues Comedy of Errors
  • Mrs Cosey - Writing a hit song for Louis Jordan
  • Clarence Small - Always rehearsing with 'Wings Over Jordan'
  • Brewer Phillips - His "adopted" mother Memphis Minnie
  • Robert JR Lockwood - Jailed and released a richer man
  • Roosevelt Sykes - Hearing himself on record for the first time
  • Scotty Piper - The Mayor of 47th St and the 1919 race riot

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