Copyright (c) 2004 Yeshiva University
Cardozo Women's Law Journal
BOOK REVIEW: THE BEECHER SISTERS AS NINETEENTH-CENTURY FEMINIST ICONS OF THE SAMENESS-DIFFERENCE DEBATE: THE BEECHER SISTERS, By Barbara A. White
New Haven and London: Yale University Press 2003. Pp. 399, $35
11 Cardozo Women's L.J. 107
Tracy A. Thomas*
The field of women's legal history has been enriched by the interdisciplinary contributions of Barbara White, Professor Emeritus of Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire. 1 In her latest book, The Beecher Sisters, White weaves together the lives and accomplishments of three great women of the nineteenth century to create a saga of the social, religious, and legal trials of the era. As one of a number of recent popular and academic books on women's legal history, 2 White's thoroughly researched and well-written book adds to the growing collection of research that fills the existing gaps of knowledge about women's role in American history and provides the scholar with a solid foundation for launching further research.
In The Beecher Sisters, White introduces us to each of the three famous Beecher sisters: Catharine Beecher (1800-1878), known for her advocacy of women in education; Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), famous for her literary works and the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin; and their half-sister, Isabella Beecher Hooker (1822-1907), famous for her work as a cohort of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the women's suffrage movement (p. ix). Also discussed is a fourth sister, Mary Beecher Perkins, who focused her life on home labor and was the grandmother to radical literary feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman (p. 326). 3 Mary commented on her homemaking, stating that "I could not perform any of my duties if I gave way to my feelings and allowed myself to ...
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