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Women's History

Dear Amy,

I am studying Drama and I am in the process of devising a performance with a group of all girls, including myself. We've set it in 1929, just before the Great Depression and the ending will reflect this event. What I am finding difficult is finding out about women in the 1920s and if any women were in powerful positions at this time. For example if there were any businesswomen during the boom in the 1920s, especially in the U.S. that were successful until the Depression. My character has to reflect a woman striving at the time. She has to deal with men in 1920s businesses and society, and loses her business in the Great Depression. But was this happening in the 1920's? Please get back to me as soon as possible, as time is essential, this has to be finished in less than a month! Thank you.

   

I think I have just the person for you, her name is Mrs. Frank Leslie and at the turn of the century she was the "Queen of Publishing Row" in the United States. She ran one of the most successful magazines, whose name I forget, and was regarded with much respect in her community and business. She had to keep her husband's name though in order to be treated with the respect she deserved.

There is also Madame CJ Walker, who, at the turn of the century had one of the most successful hair product companies. She was known as one of the most respected businesswomen in her day. And she went on to influence many other women.

These are both U.S. examples and might not be of interest to you, but if they are, perhaps you can learn more at the National Women's History Project. If you wanted a British example, how about Vita Sackville West, whom Virginia Wolf's Orlando is dedicated to and about. I hope these suggestions help. Have fun.

Amy


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