Cover for JABOUR: Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women's Activism in Modern America. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Sophonisba Breckinridge

Championing Women's Activism in Modern America
Awards and Recognition:

• Illinois State Historical Society Award, 2020

The accomplished life and tireless work of a feminist educator and reformer

Sophonisba Breckinridge's remarkable career stretched from the Civil War to the Cold War. She took part in virtually every reform campaign of the Progressive and New Deal eras and became a nationally and internationally renowned figure. Her work informed women's activism for decades and continues to shape progressive politics today.

Anya Jabour's biography rediscovers this groundbreaking American figure. After earning advanced degrees in politics, economics, and law, Breckinridge established the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, which became a feminist think tank that promoted public welfare policy and propelled women into leadership positions. In 1935, Breckinridge’s unremitting efforts to provide government aid to the dispossessed culminated in her appointment as an advisor on programs for the new Social Security Act. A longtime activist in international movements for peace and justice, Breckinridge also influenced the formation of the United Nations and advanced the idea that "women’s rights are human rights." Her lifelong commitment to social justice created a lasting legacy for generations of progressive activists.

Watch a lecture Anya Jabour gave for the College of Charleston's Women's and Gender Studies Program


"A compelling biography that resurrects the life and times of this noteworthy feminist." --Booklist

"A masterly contribution to the history of American women. Academics and general readers alike will applaud this nuanced biography of a feminist who dedicated her life to public service and improving the lives of women." --Library Journal

"Highly recommended." --Choice

"In propulsive prose, Anya Jabour brings to life progressive feminist Sophonisba Breckinridge, whose forty-year career as an advocate for social justice provides a model of 'passionate patience' for progressives in the twenty-first century."--Robyn Muncy, author of Relentless Reformer: Josephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America

"Anya Jabour has written an outstanding biography of Sophonisba Breckinridge. She has thoroughly convinced me of Breckinridge's important role in American and women's history and how much of each is revealed by her lifelong activism. The research is expansive and the writing is flawless."--Joan M. Johnson, author of Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women's Movement, 1870–1967


Anya Jabour is Regents Professor of History at the University of Montana. Her books include Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children and Scarlett's Sisters: Young Women in the Old South.

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