Elisabeth Israels Perry

John Francis Bannon, S.J., Professor, Emeritus
Email: perrye@slu.edu
Education:  Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1967; B.A., University of California at Los Angeles, 1960.

My research and writing is in U.S. women's history. I'm interested in all aspects of that topic, but most especially in women's quest for citizenship rights in the 19th and 20th centuries and their involvement in civic and social movements. I've worked primarily in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, but more recently on the period between woman suffrage (1920) and the peak of the modern feminist movement (1970). My earliest studies, which were in early modern French history, resulted in a book on how French Catholics and Protestants used the history of the Reformation to support political arguments during the era of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. I remain interested in the theme of the uses of the past and the rights of minorities, but lately I've been drawn more to biography and autobiography (especially of women in politics), feminist literature, and feminist theory. Since moving into U.S. history, I have also published work on the history of Girl Scouting and on the impact of women's history on Gilded Age and Progressive Era historiography. And, finally, I've put considerable energies into publishing projects that mainstream women's and minority history into the larger civic and political story of the United States. My current research is on women and civic life in New York City in the mid-twentieth century.  Women, Politics, and Power in La Guardia's New York is now under contract with Oxford University Press.

Honors and Fellowships:

  • Fulbright Specialist Award, 2011
  • John Francis Bannon Professor of History, Saint Louis University, 1999-2008
  • Loewenstein-Weiner Fellowship, Jacob Rader Marcus Center, American Jewish Archives, 2004
  • OAH Distinguished Lecturer, 2001-present
  • President, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE), 1998-2000
  • Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Hartford, 1995-96
  • Research Grant, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1992
  • Susan J. Koppelman Award, Women's Caucus, Popular Culture/American Culture Assns., 1992
  • Daniel M. Lyons Vis. Prof. of U.S. History, Brooklyn College-CUNY, 1991-92
  • Grant-in-Aid, American Council of Learned Societies, 1991
  • Ampart Lecturer, United States Information Service: Puri and Bombay, India, 1988; Paris, Strasbourg, Toulouse, and Lyons, France, 1989
  • Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for School Teachers, "Feminist Classics in American Culture," 1987, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2011
  • Manuscript Prize, New York State Historical Association, 1987
  • Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980-81
  • Travel Grant, Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, 1978
  • Research Grant, Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, 1976
  • Visiting Fellow in History, Yale University, 1975
  • Research Grant, New School for Social Research, 1975, 1981
  • U. S. Government Grant (Fulbright), University of Paris, 1964

Scholarly Publications (selected)


  • The Gilded Age & Progressive Era: A Student Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). (Co-author)
  • America: Pathways to the Present, 5th edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003). (Co-author)
  • Belle Moskowitz: Feminine Politics and the Exercise of Power in the Age of Alfred E. Smith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987; Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2000). Winner of a New York State Historical Association Manuscript Prize, 1987
  • Women in Action: Rebels and Reformers, 1920-1980 (Washington, D.C.: League of Women Voters, 1995).
  • From Theology to History: French Religious Controversy and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973).

Journal Articles

  • "Men Are From the Gilded Age, Women Are From the Progressive Era," Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 1 (2002): 25-48.
  • "Rhetoric, Strategy, and Politics in the New York Campaign for Women's Jury Service, 1917-1975," New York History LXXXII/1 (Winter 2001): 53-78.
  • "From Achievement to Happiness: Girl Scouting in Middle Tennessee, 1910s - 1960s," Journal of Women's History 5 (1993): 75-94.
  • "'The Very Best Influence': Josephine Holloway and Girl Scouting for Nashville's African-American Community," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 52 (1993): 73-85.
  • "Women's Political Choices after Suffrage: the Women's City Club of New York, 1915-present" New York History 62 (1990): 417-34.

Edited Volumes

  • An American Girl, and Her Four Years at a Boys' College (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006). (Co-editor)
  • Guest Editor, Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, special issue on the Progressive Era, May 1999.
  • We Have Come to Stay: American Women and Political Parties, 1880-1960 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999). (Co-editor)
  • The Challenge of Feminist Biography: Writing the Lives of Modern American Women (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992). (Co-editor) Winner of a Susan J. Koppelman Award

Essays in Edited Volumes

  • "The Difference that 'Difference' Makes," in Obama, Clinton, Palin: Making History in Election 2008 (Urbana:University of Illinois Press, 2011).
  • "Memorializing the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Woman's Building," in Gendering the Fair: Histories of Women and Gender at World's Fairs (Urbana: University of Illinois 2010).
  • "Defying the Party Whip:  Mary Garrett Hay and the Republican Party, 1917-1920," in We Have Come to Stay (University of New Mexico Press, 1999).
  • "Training for Public Life: Eleanor Roosevelt and Women's Political Networks in New York in the 1920s," in Without Precedent: The Life and Career of Eleanor Roosevelt (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984).
Higher purpose. Greater good.
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