Joan Johnson, Funding Feminism @ MPL With the Author

Joan Marie Johnson
Funding Feminism

Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870–1967

Monday, October 30, 7pm

Montclair Public Library
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair NJ 07042

Funding FeminismJoan Marie Johnson

Joan Marie Johnson examines an understudied dimension of women’s history in the United States: how a group of affluent white women from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries advanced the status of all women through acts of philanthropy. This cadre of activists included Phoebe Hearst, the mother of William Randolph Hearst; Grace Dodge, granddaughter of Wall Street “Merchant Prince” William Earle Dodge; and Ava Belmont, who married into the Vanderbilt family fortune. Motivated by their own experiences with sexism, and focusing on women’s need for economic independence, these benefactors sought to expand women’s access to higher education, promote suffrage, and champion reproductive rights, as well as to provide assistance to working-class women. In a time when women still wielded limited political power, philanthropy was perhaps the most potent tool they had. But even as these wealthy women exercised considerable influence, their activism had significant limits. As Johnson argues, restrictions tied to their giving engendered resentment and jeopardized efforts to establish coalitions across racial and class lines.

As the struggle for full economic and political power and self-determination for women continues today, this history reveals how generous women helped shape the movement. And Johnson shows us that tensions over wealth and power that persist in the modern movement have deep historical roots.

Photo by: Stephen Auzaldi

Joan Marie Johnson is a historian and faculty coordinator for the Office of the Provost at Northwestern University.



Event date: 
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Montclair Public Library
50 So. Fullerton Avenue
montclair, NJ 07042
Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women's Movement, 1870-1967 (Gender and American Culture) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469634692
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of North Carolina Press - October 2nd, 2017