Editorial Assistants: Jordan Mylet and Kacey Calahane
Book Review Editors: Katherine Marino and Donna Schuele
Published by Alexander Street Press
with support from the University of California, Irvine and San Diego
In This Issue: "Internationalizing and Transnationalizing U.S. Women's History"
Our current issue, the first to be published under the new editorial team headed by Rebecca Jo Plant and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, focuses broadly on the theme of American women and internationalism, encompassing women's activities outside the United States and their personal connections and engagement with international issues across national boundaries. It features two new document projects that reflect these concerns: "Progressive Reformers, the Russian Revolution, and the Politics of Friendship: American Women's Ties to Revolutionary Catherine Breshkovsky," by Chelsea Gibson, and "U.S. Empire and American Women Missionaries in Japan: Lizzie Poorbaugh and Japanese School Girls," by Rui Kohiyama and Helen Ballahatchet.
Our new editorial team is introducing new features to Women and Social Movements in the U.S. (WASM). First, the cover image of this issue showcases the stunning work of Ann Phong, a Vietnamese diasporic artist who received her M.F.A. from California State University, Fullerton, and teaches art at CSU, Pomona. As her artist statement explains, "Fragility" explores the vulnerabilities of those "surviving the physical and emotional journey of displacement, trauma, war, and political repression." This message is particularly compelling given the contemporary politics of migration and incarceration. We plan to continue this practice of featuring creative work that sparks intellectual and political reflection and welcome artistic submissions to WASM.
Further reflecting on the theme of gender and transnationalism, this issue features a roundtable of renowned and emerging scholars based in the University of California system. In bringing WASM to UC Irvine and UC San Diego, Plant and Wu also worked with feminist scholars across multiple campuses to form a UC Consortium for the Study of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Histories in the Americas. In winter 2019, the consortium sponsored an intellectual summit on "The Body and the Body Politic." The roundtable included in this issue of WASM represents a sample of the rich conversations we had about what is at stake in doing history across national borders, how new histories necessitate the discovery of new archives or new readings of existing archives, and how transnational histories change our narratives of feminisms.
The document projects in this issue continue the exploration of gender and border crossing. In "Progressive Reformers, the Russian Revolution, and the Politics of Friendship," Chelsea Gibson illuminates ties between progressive women in the United States and the Russian revolutionary movement prior to the Bolshevik Revolution. She particularly highlights the role of Catherine Breshkovsky, a well-educated, noble-blooded revolutionary, who visited the United States in 1904 and befriended numerous American suffragists and settlement house workers, including Jane Addams, Isabel Barrows, Alice Stone Blackwell, Helena S. Dudley, and Lillian Wald. Whereas many scholars have written about the trans-Atlantic connections that progressive reformers built with their European counterparts, Gibson's focus on their ties to Russian radicals provides a new lens for understanding how they saw themselves to be part of a global movement for democracy and social betterment. These connections, however, were severely strained by World War I and the Red Scare.
Our second document project, "U.S. Empire and American Women Missionaries in Japan" by Rui Kohiyama and Helen Ballahatchet centers on the missionary activities of Pennsylvanian Elizabeth Poorbaugh, who lived and worked in Sendai, Japan, as a missionary for the German Reformed Church in the United States of America between 1886 to 1893. Although she successfully established a girls' school based on the conventional belief in American superiority, Poorbaugh found her authority seriously challenged not only by Japanese male pastors and leaders, but also by her assertive students in the social climate of rising nationalism in the 1890s. Her story highlights the complex role of Protestant women missionaries in Asia, who pushed against gender boundaries even as they acted as agents of cultural imperialism.
This issue also includes 21 new primary documents for the Writings of Black Women Suffragists primary source set. You can also access the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States (OBD); since our last issue, the OBD has grown to include 1,350 biographical sketches of grassroots woman-suffrage activists.
We are also publishing another 168 issues of Equal Rights, the official journal of the National Woman's Party, dating principally from the period 1935-1954. We thank the Historic National Woman's Party for supplying us with this resource and granting permission for its online publication.
In addition, this edition features six new book reviews, for which we would like to recognize Donna Schuele and Katherine Marino, our new book review editors. We are delighted to have them on board. Our featured book review, by Cynthia A. Merrill, looks at two new works on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane Sherron De Hart's Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life, and the documentary RBG, directed and produced by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.
Finally, we are pleased to be publishing an essay by our first Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar Graduate Student Essay Award recipient, Laura Koch, entitled "Astonishing Cure!": Middle-Class Women and Medical Motherhood in the Antebellum Water-Cure Movement." Koch's essay explores the broad appeal of the water cure movement, which was embraced not only by affluent women who frequented spas, but also by middle- and working-class women who, influenced by the rise of print culture, sought to practice hydropathy in their own homes. This annual award, recognizing a research-based paper by a graduate student who makes use of document projects or primary sources featured on the WASM database, honors our founding co-editors, who created and built WASM into the extraordinary resource in U.S. women's history that it is today. Current graduate students who are drawing on WASM materials and would like to be considered in the second annual competition are encouraged to submit an essay to email@example.com by January 1, 2020.