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Publisher's Summary

In the early 20th century over 200 of New York's most glamorous socialites joined the suffrage movement. Their names - Astor, Belmont, Rockefeller, Tiffany, Vanderbilt, Whitney, and the like - carried enormous public value. These women were the media darlings of their day because of the extravagance of their costume balls and the opulence of the French couture clothes, and they leveraged their social celebrity for political power, turning women's right to vote into a fashionable cause.

Although they were dismissed by critics as bored socialites "trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris", these gilded suffragists were at the epicenter of the great reforms known collectively as the Progressive Era. From championing education for women, to pursuing careers, and advocating for the end of marriage, these women were engaged with the swirl of change that swept through the streets of New York City.

Johanna Neuman restores these women to their rightful place in the story of women's suffrage. Understanding the need for popular approval for any social change, these socialites used their wealth, power, social connections, and style to excite mainstream interest and to diffuse resistance to the cause.

©2017 New York University (P)2017 Tantor

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Wonderfully informative!

This is a fantastic book it opened my eyes to a whole new version of the suffrage movement. Very good read… Especially for our women’s month🌹

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  • 08-12-18

Fascinating-Lessons for the present

In addition to biographies of Alice Paul, EliaBth Cary Stanton and Carrie Chapman Catt and the wonderful The Women’s Hour, this book is a fascinating review of the important contributions of the wealthy and well- connected women who risked fortune, family and religion to mid-wife the Suffrage campaign in the US. The Afterword is especially good in tying together the need for both the “moderate” and the “radical” in all successful movements of the 29th and now 21st centuries. Take heed, all as the Centenary Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote arrives, ironically in 2019-just in time!!!!

3 people found this helpful