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Marguerite Martyn: America's Forgotten Journalist


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Her voice is heard again. Early 20th century journalist Marguerite Martyn not only interviewed but sketched the people and events of her time: women marching for the vote, child workers dreaming of a better life, teenagers dancing the Bunny Hug in dimly lit clubs, long skirts and big hats. Criminals and politicians, artists and archbishops, corsets and conventions, romance and rebellion—Martyn covered it all, with sensitivity, wit and whimsy. This selection of Martyn's work illuminates the changing role of women at the turn of the last century: their struggle for voting rights and the heated debate over “a woman's place” in society. Sketchbook in hand, Martyn pursued and asked questions of suffragists and their critics, of social reformers and society women. She interviewed or sketched activists Alice Paul, Sylvia Pankhurst, Jane Adams, and Margaret Sanger, as well as Helen Taft and Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She drew and was drawn by Charles Gibson, creator of the “Gibson Girl”, made fun of the dictates of fashion, solicited advice from 'experts' about marriage and romance, and was informed by one of the current political bosses there was 'absolutely no hope' for women's suffrage. See the Progressive Era through the eyes of this pioneering reporter and illustrator, and how she was changed by what she saw.

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