Johanna Neuman

Johanna Neuman

Johanna Neuman is a writer, historian and scholar-in-residence at American University in Washington, D.C. A former journalist, she covered the White House, Congress and the State Department for USA Today and the Los Angeles Times' Washington Bureau.

In her books, she chronicles the personal costs of social change. Lights, Camera, War, her first non-fiction book, examined media technologies from the printing press to the Internet, looking at the tumultuous changes these new media inventions caused in diplomacy communication.

Her upcoming book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote, tells the fascinating story of more than two hundred New York social figures who joined the women's suffrage movement in the 1910s. Chronicled by a vibrant newspaper industry for their extravagant lifestyles, they became the media darlings of their day. And when these glamorous socialites embraced the suffrage campaign, they electrified public interest, normalizing the idea that women deserved to vote. Cloaked in the allure of fashion, they leveraged their class status for political power, contributing the buzz of a celebrity endorsement to a cause said to have descended into the doldrums. Gilded Suffragists excavates the identities of these women - until now hidden behind the label of Mrs. Somebody Else - and describes their rivalries for power within the suffrage movement, the debate over chivalry that complicated their mission after the sinking of the Titanic and their political conflicts during the First World War. These wives and daughters of the titans of American capitalism - Astors, Belmonts, Harrimans, Vanderbilts - were not immune to the temper of their times. From riding bicycles to pursuing careers, advocating an end to marriage to an embrace of pacifism - these women were part of the swirl of change known as modernity that was sweeping through New York's Greenwich Village. Many paid a personal price for their activism, estranged from husbands or parents in families gilded by capitalistic wealth. Others attained great professional stature in archeology, art, literature and diplomacy. Their stories, and those of members of the Men's League for Woman Suffrage who supported them, give the book a narrative flavor rare in historical accounts of the period. Gilded Suffragists is due out September 5, 2017 from New York University Press.

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