We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Excerpt from The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Woman's Hour

The Great Fight to Win the Vote

by Elaine Weiss

The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss X
The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2018, 416 pages

    Mar 2019, 416 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Barely a week before Mother had died in the summer of 1915, in the library of their house on the Methodist Assembly grounds in Monteagle (Father was a retired Methodist minister), Amanda Pearson had grasped Josephine's hand and implored: "Daughter, when I'm gone-if the Susan B. Anthony Amendment issue reaches Tennessee-promise me, you will take up the opposition, in My Memory!" Josephine bent to kiss her mother's brow, to impress the vow upon her forehead, and answered: "Yes, God helping, I'll keep the faith, Mother!"

So when the telegram arrived late Saturday afternoon, it was with a sense of holy purpose that Josephine Pearson quickly packed her travel case, walked from her house to the Monteagle depot, and bought a one-way ticket for the late train to Nashville.

Even before Josephine made the vow to her mother, she had come to the conclusion that suffrage was a dangerous idea; she arrived at this judgment by what she considered empirical and scholarly investigation, as befitted a woman with higher education and intellectual accomplishments. Early in her career she served as a high school principal and went on to teach English and history at Nashville College for Young Ladies and Winthrop State Normal College for Women in South Carolina. In 1909, she assumed the position of dean and chair of philosophy at Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, at a time when Missourians were debating a woman suffrage measure.

She found she often fell into argument with her colleagues and students about woman suffrage and was frequently the sole naysayer at the faculty table. She began to feel isolated, shunned for her resistance against the popular political tide. She came to resent her faculty colleagues who snubbed her and used their positions to coerce their impressionable students with their terrible suffrage ideas. During semester breaks, Josephine undertook her own version of field research to determine whether women in those few western states where females already had the right to vote, such as Wyoming, were really better off for having the franchise. She collected her own data and conducted interviews and came to the conclusion that suffrage had exposed women to the filth of politics without improving their lives at all. She began to give lectures to antisuffrage audiences and found herself hailed as an Anti leader in the state.

Her academic career in Missouri was cut short in the spring of 1914 by the call to come home to care for her ailing mother, and she returned to Monteagle to nurse her mother and aged father. From her sickbed, Mother continued to write her diatribes against the evils of whiskey and suffrage, and after her death, honoring the vow, Josephine continued the work. She sat at her desk, writing deep into the night, sending her missives to the newspapers in Nashville and Memphis and Chattanooga. The publisher of the Chattanooga Times, Adolph Ochs, was especially welcoming to her antisuffrage proclamations; Ochs's editorial pages, in both his Chattanooga paper and its sister publication, The New York Times, were firmly in her Anti camp. Pearson's dedication was recognized and she was eventually tapped to become president of the Tennessee antisuffragists. And now, like the Confederate generals whose brave exploits had been extolled in her family's parlor, whose names and deeds she knew by heart, she would stand in defense of the South.

Excerpted from The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss. Copyright © 2018 by Elaine Weiss. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The League of Women Voters

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...
  • Book Jacket: Prophet Song
    Prophet Song
    by Paul Lynch
    Paul Lynch's 2023 Booker Prize–winning Prophet Song is a speedboat of a novel that hurtles...
  • Book Jacket: The Frozen River
    The Frozen River
    by Ariel Lawhon
    "I cannot say why it is so important that I make this daily record. Perhaps because I have been ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)



Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.