American Women!
A Celebration of Our History
April 22 -- October 29, 2000

Flappers and Freedoms
Depression and Desertion
War and Peace


Click on the photo for an enlarged view

Each decade from 1920 to 1950 ushered in turbulent changes. The meaning of equal rights for women changed along with the times.

Proclaiming the image of liberation and independence, the young women of the "Roaring Twenties" sported short hair and short skirts, danced and partied all night long. But the truly independent girls flocked to the workplace in the 1920s only to end up in a narrow range of jobs. Social and economic issues included low wages for women, lack of access to credit, safety concerns and sexual harassment.

During the Depression years of the 1930s, working women were accused of taking jobs from unemployed men. High family desertion rates meant that many mothers were left alone with little money to care for children and few opportunities to change their lives.

During World War II, the film industry glamorized single working "girls" and women's job skills began to achieve recognition. World War II opened up manufacturing and industrial jobs for "Rosie the Riveters." The government offered Social Security, unemployment insurance, wage and hour legislation that helped women in the working world.

Once the war ended, however, women were expected to return to their places in the home. Once again, the family became the ultimate symbol of security for Americans tired of depression and war.

American Women!

Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Jazz and Blues
Margaret Sanger, Birth Control Advocate
Willa Cather, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Dorothy Parker, Authors and Poets
Mary Pickford and Marjorie Merriweather Post, Businesswomen
Grace Coolidge, First Lady and "Doctor of Domesticity"
Juliette Low and Lou Henry Hoover, Girl Scouts
Mae West, Legendary Star
Margaret Bourke-White, Photojournalist
Dorothea Lange, Photographer
Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor
Marian Anderson, Performer
Georgia O'Keeffe, Artist
Margaret Mitchell, Author
Greta Garbo, Elusive Star
Bess Truman, First Lady and "The Boss"

"red arrow" Continue the story--NEXT.... From Fifties to Feminism, 1950-1990"
or visit:
  From Colony to Country, 1600-1800 "From Prairie to Polls, 1870-1920"
  From Growth to War, 1800-1870 Into the 21st Century, 1990 onward
"red arrow" View an alphabetical list of all 106 women included in American Women! with links to photos and biographies for selected women
"red arrow" View a Thank You to over 100 lenders to Ameican Women!
"red arrow" Return to American Women! index page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum virtual exhibits page
"black arrow" Return to Hoover Library-Museum main index page