The Woman Alone

Endpaper drawing, 1919, Helen Turner

In researching the history of homelessness in Seattle as it has affected girls and women, I ran across this cringe-worthy magazine article/opinion piece. As it is unlikely to make its way into the book chapter I am writing—and since it provides some perspective on why we still have a women’s movement, I will share it here. The drawing (above) by Helen Turner (my paternal grandmother) is from the last page of her Georgia Normal Industrial College yearbook of her senior year. She wanted to be a teacher and an artist but instead, she married and raised three sons mostly on her own.

“Motherhood is the acme of motherhood. The girl alone can never be a mother, nor sit the queen of a happy home. The girl alone is a sinful, selfish, miserable, abhorred, ugly, wretched, hideous creature, whom to know is to shun and to meet is to pass by. She is an outcast and a social parasite.” (source: Honor L. Wilhelm in The Coast magazine, January 1901, p. 74)

I am grateful for the hard work of the many women on whose shoulders I stand. And I know that we all have much more work to do to make this world a safer, healthier place for all girls and women.

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