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Women’s Letters

Hailed as a “definitive portrait of America's past 99 years” by Time magazine, Letters of the Century opened a fascinating window on our nation’s history. In Women’s Letters, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler continue their epistolary chronicles in a book that offers a female perspective on the events that shaped America. With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning illustrations, Women’s Letters is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived—and made—history.

The Dial Press, 2005

 

Women’s Letters

THE DIAL PRESS, 2005

 

Hailed as a “definitive portrait of America's past 99 years” by Time magazine, Letters of the Century opened a fascinating window on our nation’s history. In Women’s Letters, Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler continue their epistolary chronicles in a book that offers a female perspective on the events that shaped America. With more than 400 letters and over 100 stunning illustrations, Women’s Letters is a work of astonishing breadth and scope, and a remarkable testament to the women who lived—and made—history.


 

Reviews of Women’s Letters

Following up on their book Letters of the Century (1999), the wife-and-husband team of Grunwald and Adler turn their attention to the perspectives on everyday life and history as presented through women's letters since the Revolutionary War. In the earliest letters, the women, with little official power and influence, nonetheless offer a glimpse of domestic and national concerns. Abigail Adams, writing to her husband, John, in 1776, admonishes him to “remember the ladies” as constitutional conveners consider rights of citizenship. Among the other contributors are Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Sanger, and Jacqueline Kennedy. These 400 letters chronicle the changes in women’s status even as their personal lives continue to revolve around family and friends, telling the stories of their lives and the life of the nation with incredible breadth and depth. A nurse still in Pearl Harbor in 1941 describes the attack to her parents. A management consultant pens a farewell letter to her colleagues as she happily leaves the corporate fast track and heads to the “mommy track.” A former slave writes to the Freedmen’s Bureau complaining of mistreatment by whites. The opening of one woman’s letter to a “beloved friend in history and space” aptly describes this fascinating book. — Vanessa Bush, Booklist, Starred Review

An almost panoramic look at our history and culture through the eyes of American women. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Whether as a rich primary source or simply an illuminating read, Women’s Letters is... sure to be required reading not just for devotees of women’s history or the fine art of letter writing but also for surveying the broad scope of American history itself.
— Library Journal

Women’s Letters ranges far and wide, both across the country and across the landscape of experience... Reading the personal, unfiltered words of so many women through the centuries spurs a much more intimate connection with the past—and a better understanding of it—than most college textbooks can. Too bad Women’s Letters wasn't around when we were trudging across the dry terrain of American History 101. — Minneapolis Star Tribune

In these pages are fans of Elvis and the Beatles; a young woman telling her mother she’s moving in with her boyfriend and a woman coming out as gay. At their heart, these letters are uniquely female. In longing for romance during the Revolution, fearing pregnancy on the frontier, rebuffing a pass in the dentist's chair, agonizing over abortion, enduring fertility treatments or fighting the “mommy wars,” the feelings of these women as women are recognizable over the centuries. Here are heartwarming and heartbreaking stories, heartache suffered and inflicted... history told and repeated. — Cokie Roberts, The Washington Post