Catalogue


Minnie Fisher Cunningham : a suffragist's life in politics /
Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
description
xiv, 266 p. : ill.
ISBN
0195122151
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
isbn
0195122151
catalogue key
5019231
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith teach at the University of Houston -- Victoria.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-11-15:
Popularly known as Minnie Fish, the subject of this biography was one of the most important political actors of 20th-century Texas. A natural organizer, she moved from involvement in local women's club work to participation and then leadership in the state's woman's suffrage movement. After the vote was attained, she worked with national organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the Women's National Democratic League and ran for the U.S. Senate and governor of Texas. Over the years, she fought sexual, economic, and racial discrimination and inspired generations of women to take an active role in politics. University of Houston, Victoria, professors McArthur (Creating the New Woman: The Rise of Southern Women's Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893-1918) and Smith (British Women's Suffrage Campaign, 1866-1928) have based their work on sound scholarship, drawing on a wide selection of primary sources to produce a readable text. They offer some new interpretations of political events in which Cunningham played a significant but hitherto unacknowledged role. Nevertheless, the book's main value is its being the only biography of this significant Texan. For academic libraries and collections focusing on women's political activity and Texas politics.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2004-09-01:
This political biography explores local politics and one woman's experiences in the latter stages of the suffrage movement in Texas and nationally as well as her transition after 1920 into work for the nonpartisan League of Women voters and the Democratic Party. Minnie Fisher Cunningham kept her personal life hidden. She used her considerable political skills to ensure survival of the liberal voice in Texas, including advocating for minority rights when it was not popular to do so. Cunningham's story broadens our understanding of women's post-suffrage activity in political parties and the importance of women to local politics--and local politics to women. Much of the book focuses on Texas politics and a dizzying array of acronyms. But the broader story is instructive, exploring the challenges of being "feminine" enough to be accepted in male political circles, but "unfeminine" enough to be heard. McArthur and Smith (both, history, University of Houston-Victoria) explore the complexity of many issues that resonate beyond Texas, including why Cunningham rejected the "male" (aggressive) campaign style. She lost bids for the US Senate in 1928 and governor in 1944. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. C. A. Kanes Maine College of Art
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A seamless, well-organized, and thoroughly researched political biography of Minnie Fisher Cunningham... this work is thoroughly grounded in twentieth-century state and national history--politics, reform, race relations, labor issues, war and economic depression, and women's movements. Thisis the book's most impressive and edifying achievement."--The Journal of American History
"A seamless, well-organized, and thoroughly researched political biographyof Minnie Fisher Cunningham... this work is thoroughly grounded intwentieth-century state and national history--politics, reform, race relations,labor issues, war and economic depression, and women's movements. This is thebook's most impressive and edifying achievement."--The Journal of AmericanHistory
"A seamless, well-organized, and thoroughly researched political biography of Minnie Fisher Cunningham... this work is thoroughly grounded in twentieth-century state and national history--politics, reform, race relations, labor issues, war and economic depression, and women's movements. This is the book's most impressive and edifying achievement."--The Journal of American History "excellently written and well-documented biography . . . . a welcome and substantive contribution to the study of women's political activism in the fight for state and federal suffrage laws."--H-Net
"A seamless, well-organized, and thoroughly researched political biography of Minnie Fisher Cunningham... this work is thoroughly grounded in twentieth-century state and national history--politics, reform, race relations, labor issues, war and economic depression, and women's movements. This is the book's most impressive and edifying achievement."-- The Journal of American History "excellently written and well-documented biography . . . . a welcome and substantive contribution to the study of women's political activism in the fight for state and federal suffrage laws."-- H-Net
"excellently written and well-documented biography . . . . a welcome and substantive contribution to the study of women's political activism in the fight for state and federal suffrage laws."--H-Net
"excellently written and well-documented biography . . . . a welcome andsubstantive contribution to the study of women's political activism in the fightfor state and federal suffrage laws."--H-Net
"From suffragist to Left Feminist, Minnie Fisher Cunningham has been hailed by her contemporaries as 'the South's best female political organizer' and by Texas Monthly as the 'Agitator of the Century.' This important book reveals that she was an extraordinary Texan, whose talent for politicsled to two campaigns for office and took her from the New Deal to the New Frontier. Minnie Fish, as FDR called her, worked steadfastly to improve the lot of women and of African Americans despite southern proscriptions against them. Readers will rejoice in this well-crafted biography which providesthe only current account of a southern state suffrage president and her political afterlife."-Elizabeth Hayes Turner, University of North Texas
"From suffragist to Left Feminist, Minnie Fisher Cunningham has beenhailed by her contemporaries as 'the South's best female political organizer'and by Texas Monthly as the 'Agitator of the Century.' This important bookreveals that she was an extraordinary Texan, whose talent for politics led totwo campaigns for office and took her from the New Deal to the New Frontier.Minnie Fish, as FDR called her, worked steadfastly to improve the lot of womenand of African Americans despite southern proscriptions against them. Readerswill rejoice in this well-crafted biography which provides the only currentaccount of a southern state suffrage president and her politicalafterlife."-Elizabeth Hayes Turner, University of North Texas
"Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith have told the Minnie Fisher Cunningham saga with political sophistication and in sufficient detail to illuminate a century of political life in Texas and the country as a whole . For this deeply researched, generous, tough-minded biography, we areindebted to Ms. McArthur and Mr. Smith, who have esurrected a woman of whom Texans can be inordinately proud."-- The Dallas Morning News
"Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith have told the Minnie FisherCunningham saga with political sophistication and in sufficient detail toilluminate a century of political life in Texas and the country as a whole . Forthis deeply researched, generous, tough-minded biography, we are indebted to Ms.McArthur and Mr. Smith, who have esurrected a woman of whom Texans can beinordinately proud."-- The Dallas Morning News
"This is a splendid biography of a determined woman. Thoroughly researched and absorbingly written, it exposes the barriers built into the Texas political system and the persistence necessary for women to be heard. Cunningham's work for woman suffrage, for better laws, and for more democracyilluminates the long and difficult road to political participation. It took dedication and sacrifice for women to break into politics."-Jo Freeman, author of A Room at a Time: How Women Entered Party Politics
"This is a splendid biography of a determined woman. Thoroughly researchedand absorbingly written, it exposes the barriers built into the Texas politicalsystem and the persistence necessary for women to be heard. Cunningham's workfor woman suffrage, for better laws, and for more democracy illuminates the longand difficult road to political participation. It took dedication and sacrificefor women to break into politics."-Jo Freeman, author of A Room at a Time: HowWomen Entered Party Politics
"When I went to work for the national League of Women Voters in 1944 'Minnie Fish' was a legend. Now that I have read this wonderful book I know why."--Anne Firor Scott, author of Natural Allies: Women's Associations in American Life
"When I went to work for the national League of Women Voters in 1944'Minnie Fish' was a legend. Now that I have read this wonderful book I knowwhy."--Anne Firor Scott, author of Natural Allies: Women's Associations inAmerican Life
"A seamless, well-organized, and thoroughly researched political biography of Minnie Fisher Cunningham... this work is thoroughly grounded in twentieth-century state and national history--politics, reform, race relations, labor issues, war and economic depression, and women's movements. This is the book's most impressive and edifying achievement."--The Journal of American History"excellently written and well-documented biography . . . . a welcome and substantive contribution to the study of women's political activism in the fight for state and federal suffrage laws."--H-Net"Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith have told the Minnie Fisher Cunningham saga with political sophistication and in sufficient detail to illuminate a century of political life in Texas and the country as a whole . For this deeply researched, generous, tough-minded biography, we are indebted to Ms. McArthur and Mr. Smith, who have esurrected a woman of whom Texans can be inordinately proud."-- The Dallas Morning News"When I went to work for the national League of Women Voters in 1944 'Minnie Fish' was a legend. Now that I have read this wonderful book I know why."--Anne Firor Scott, author of Natural Allies: Women's Associations in American Life"This is a splendid biography of a determined woman. Thoroughly researched and absorbingly written, it exposes the barriers built into the Texas political system and the persistence necessary for women to be heard. Cunningham's work for woman suffrage, for better laws, and for more democracy illuminates the long and difficult road to political participation. It took dedication and sacrifice for women to break into politics."-Jo Freeman, author of A Roomat a Time: How Women Entered Party Politics"From suffragist to Left Feminist, Minnie Fisher Cunningham has been hailed by her contemporaries as 'the South's best female political organizer' and by >Texas Monthly as the 'Agitator of the Century.' This important book reveals that she was an extraordinary Texan, whose talent for politics led to two campaigns for office and took her from the New Deal to the New Frontier. Minnie Fish, as FDR called her, worked steadfastly to improve the lotof women and of African Americans despite southern proscriptions against them. Readers will rejoice in this well-crafted biography which provides the only current account of a southern state suffrage president and her political afterlife."-Elizabeth Hayes Turner, University of North Texas
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 2003
Choice, September 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
Minnie Fisher Cunningham was Texas's most important female political activist. After directing Texas's womans suffrage campaign, she helped establish the National League of Women Voters and the Woman's National Democratic Club. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain election to the US Senate, Cunningham evolved into a left feminist, increasingly aware that women could be oppressed by class and race as well as by gender. A leader of the post-1945 Texas liberal movement, she inspired a generation of young women, including Liz Carpenter and Billie Carr. This is the first biography of the lifelong politician affectionately known as Minnie Fish.
Long Description
The principal orchestrator of the passage of women's suffrage in Texas, a founder and national officer of the League of Women Voters, the first woman to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, and a candidate for that state's governor, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was one of the first American women to pursue a career in party politics. Cunningham's professional life spanned a half century, thus illuminating our understanding of women in public life between the Progressive Era and the 1960s feminist movement. Cunningham entered politics through the suffrage movement and women's voluntary association work for health and sanitation in Galveston, Texas. She quickly became one of the most effective state suffrage leaders, helping to pass the bill in a region where opposition to women voters was strongest. In Washington, Cunningham was one of the core group of suffragists who lobbied the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and then traveled the country campaigning for ratification. After women gained the right to vote across the nation, she helped found the nonpartisan National League of Women Voters and organized training schools to teach women the skills of grassroots organizing, creating publicity campaigns, and lobbying and monitoring legislative bodies. Through the League, she became acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt, who credited one of her speeches with stimulating her own political activity. Cunningham then turned to the Democratic Party, serving as an officer of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1928 Cunningham became a candidate herself, making an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. An advocate of New Deal reforms, Cunningham was part of the movement in the 1930s to transform the Democratic Party into the women's party, and in 1944 she ran for governor on a pro-New Deal platform. Cunningham's upbringing in rural Texas made her particularly aware of the political needs of farmers, women, union labor, and minorities, and she fought gender, class, and racial discrimination within a conservative power structure. In the postwar years, she was called the "very heart and soul of Texas liberalism" as she helped build an electoral coalition of women, minorities, and male reformers that could sustain liberal politics in the state and bring to office candidates including Ralph Yarborough and Bob Eckhardt. A leader and role model for the post-suffrage generation, Cunningham was not satisfied with simply achieving the vote, but agitated throughout her career to use it to better the lives of others. Her legacy has been carried on by the many women to whom she taught successful grassroots strategies for political organizing.
Main Description
The principal orchestrator of the passage of women's suffrage in Texas, a founder and national officer of the League of Women Voters, the first woman to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, and a candidate for that state's governor, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was one of the first Americanwomen to pursue a career in party politics. Cunningham's professional life spanned a half century, thus illuminating our understanding of women in public life between the Progressive Era and the 1960s feminist movement. Cunningham entered politics through the suffrage movement and women's voluntary association work for health and sanitation in Galveston, Texas. She quickly became one of the most effective state suffrage leaders, helping to pass the bill in a region where opposition to women voters was strongest.In Washington, Cunningham was one of the core group of suffragists who lobbied the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and then traveled the country campaigning for ratification. After women gained the right to vote across the nation, she helped found the nonpartisan National League of WomenVoters and organized training schools to teach women the skills of grassroots organizing, creating publicity campaigns, and lobbying and monitoring legislative bodies. Through the League, she became acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt, who credited one of her speeches with stimulating her ownpolitical activity. Cunningham then turned to the Democratic Party, serving as an officer of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1928 Cunningham became a candidate herself, making an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. An advocate of New Dealreforms, Cunningham was part of the movement in the 1930s to transform the Democratic Party into the women's party, and in 1944 she ran for governor on a pro-New Deal platform. Cunningham's upbringing in rural Texas made her particularly aware of the political needs of farmers, women, union labor, and minorities, and she fought gender, class, and racial discrimination within a conservative power structure. In the postwar years, she was called the "very heart and soul ofTexas liberalism" as she helped build an electoral coalition of women, minorities, and male reformers that could sustain liberal politics in the state and bring to office candidates including Ralph Yarborough and Bob Eckhardt. A leader and role model for the post-suffrage generation, Cunningham was not satisfied with simply achieving the vote, but agitated throughout her career to use it to better the lives of others. Her legacy has been carried on by the many women to whom she taught successful grassroots strategiesfor political organizing.
Main Description
The principal orchestrator of the passage of women's suffrage in Texas, a founder and national officer of the League of Women Voters, the first woman to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, and a candidate for that state's governor, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was one of the first American women to pursue a career in party politics. Cunningham's professional life spanned a half century, thus illuminating our understanding of women in public life between the Progressive Era and the 1960s feminist movement. Cunningham entered politics through the suffrage movement and women's voluntary association work for health and sanitation in Galveston, Texas. She quickly became one of the most effective state suffrage leaders, helping to pass the bill in a region where opposition to women voters was strongest. In Washington, Cunningham was one of the core group of suffragists who lobbied the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and then traveled the country campaigning for ratification. After women gained the right to vote across the nation, she helped found the nonpartisan National League of Women Voters and organized training schools to teach women the skills of grassroots organizing, creating publicity campaigns, and lobbying and monitoring legislative bodies. Through the League, she became acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt, who credited one of her speeches with stimulating her own political activity. Cunningham then turned to the Democratic Party, serving as an officer of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1928 Cunningham became a candidate herself, making an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. An advocate of New Deal reforms, Cunningham was part of the movement in the 1930s to transform the Democratic Party into the women's party, and in 1944 she ran for governor on a pro-New Deal platform. Cunningham's upbringing in rural Texas made her particularly aware of the political needs of farmers, women, union labor, and minorities, and she fought gender, class, and racial discrimination within a conservative power structure. In the postwar years, she was called the "very heart and soul of Texas liberalism" as she helped build an electoral coalition of women, minorities, and male reformers that could sustain liberal politics in the state and bring to office candidates including Ralph Yarborough and Bob Eckhardt. A leader and role model for the post-suffrage generation, Cunningham was not satisfied with simply achieving the vote, but agitated throughout her career to use it to better the lives of others. Her legacy has been carried on by the many women to whom she taught successful grassroots strategies for political organizing. Minnie Fisher Cunninghamwas the winner of the Liz Carpenter Award of the Texas State Historical Association, and the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award of the Texas Historical Commission.
Main Description
The principal orchestrator of the passage of women's suffrage in Texas, a founder and national officer of the League of Women Voters, the first woman to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, and a candidate for that state's governorship, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was one of the first American women to pursue a career in party politics. Cunningham's professional life spanned a half century, thus illuminating our understanding of women in public life between the Progressive Era and the 1960s feminist movement. Cunningham entered politics through the suffrage movement and women's voluntary association work for health and sanitation in Galveston, Texas. She quickly became one of the most effective state suffrage leaders, helping to pass the bill in a region where opposition to women voters was strongest. In Washington, Cunningham was one of the core group of suffragists who lobbied the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and then traveled the country campaigning for ratification. After women gained the right to vote across the nation, she helped found the nonpartisan National League of Women Voters and organized training schools to teach women the skills of grassroots organizing, creating publicity campaigns, and lobbying and monitoring legislative bodies. Through the League, she became acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt, who credited one of Cunningham's speeches with stimulating her own political activity. Cunningham then turned to the Democratic Party, serving as an officer of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1928 Cunningham became a candidate herself, making an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. An advocate of New Deal reforms, Cunningham was part of the 1930's movement to transform the Democratic Party into the women's party, and in 1944 she ran for governor on a pro-New Deal platform. Cunningham's upbringing in rural Texas made her particularly aware of the political needs of farmers, women, union labor, and minorities, and she fought gender, class, and racial discrimination within a conservative power structure. In the postwar years, she was called the "very heart and soul of Texas liberalism" as she helped build an electoral coalition of women, minorities, and male reformers that could sustain liberal politics in the state and bring to office candidates including Ralph Yarborough and Bob Eckhardt. A leader and role model for the post-suffrage generation, Cunningham was not satisfied with simply achieving the vote, but agitated throughout her career to use it to better the lives of others. Her legacy has been carried on by the many women to whom she taught successful grassroots strategies for political organizing. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. vii
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 3
A Daughter of the New Southp. 8
The Rise of a Public Womanp. 24
Suffrage Firstp. 44
Washington Lobbyist and National Leaderp. 68
In League with Women Votersp. 89
Woman Citizen and Democratic Partisanp. 109
"Too Gallant a Walk"?: Running for the Senate, 1928p. 131
A Woman's New Dealp. 148
At War with the Texas Regulars, 1944-1946p. 166
Left Feminism, 1947-1964p. 184
Epiloguep. 204
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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