Lecture 9

Mar 26

Example of a Multisource Essay

Reading HW Download and read the excerpt from Brett Harvey's oral history of women's experience of the 1950s that's posted among the Readings on our Blackboard Site. As you read, make a list of all Harvey's sources. I found about 10.

Harvey's account of motherhood in the 1950s is partially interest since those suburban moms gave birth to late-60s teen rebels. But my principal aim here is to provide you with an example of the sort of scholarship I'm looking for in the upcoming essay. Harvey has assembled her account by piecing together both Evidence and Authority sources. But, because she's writing for a popular audience, her book lacks scholarly source citations. So you'll have to read carefully and do a bit of guesswork to piece together what sources she's drawing on at any given moment of this chapter.

In the comments below, post ONE of the sources you identified by reference to the page and the moment in her argument. For instance, (these are both made-up examples):

  • "On p101 in speaking of family trips, Harvey draws from a 1950s travel brochure published by the American Automobile Association."
  • "On p120 Harvey draws on another historian (I assume) to provide a brief history labor-saving appliances like clothes-washers from 1930s up through the early 60s."

45 responses to “Lecture 9

  1. On the first page of the chapter, 88, Harvey opens with a quote from Adrienne Rich’s “Of Woman Born”, which was a piece of feminist literature published in the 70s. This specific quote works to establish the “known” before she complicates it, the preconceived notion of the 50s that reproduction was a woman’s ultimate goal in life.

  2. On page 88, Harvey quotes “experts” saying that college educated women were “failing to keep up with the baby boom.” There is no source information to this quote.

    • On page 88 Harvey cites a quote from “experts” to express a known idea of baby boom that has been accepted by an intelligent community.

  3. On p89-90 Harvey speaks of the connection between motherhood and womanhood by referencing a 1947 book “Modern Women, the Lost Sex,” a widely popular book at the time.

    • On pages 89 and 90 Harvey quotes from Ferdinand Lundberg and Marynia Farnham’s book, Modern Women: The Lost Sex, to explain the concept that women were supposed to feel the desire to have children in order to be truly feminine.

  4. On pg.89, Harvey cites the Life magazine issue that celebrated “the reappearance of the old fashioned three” while citing “the social prestige of motherhood”.

    • On page 89, Harvey cites Life magazine to demonstrate how during the post-war baby boom, traditional, nuclear families began to reappear in American suburbs; this helped to glorify the position of motherhood.

  5. On page 89, Harvey cites a woman named Dorothy Glenn, and another named Marge Fraley, to provide anecdotes on unexpected (yet welcomed) motherhood experiences during the baby boom. These examples give insight to the average woman’s life and attitudes on childbirth during the 1950’s.

  6. On pg. 90, Harvey draws on a 1950 issue of a Photoplay article
    that speaks on the balancing a professional career and motherly duties.

    • On pg. 90 Harvey references magazines like Photoplay and Modern Screen to talk about societies opinion on what it’s like to be a mother.

    • On page 90, Harvey draws on fan magazines, Photoplay and Modern Screen, to demonstrate how stars put focus on their babies and how motherhood was highly praised by stars at that time.

  7. On page 90, Harvey references Life Magazine to showcase the overall idea in America of what represented satisfaction for a “thoughtful” American woman in the 50s.

    • On p. 90, Harvey introduces “The American Woman” Life magazine to provide an example of popular literature that aided the spread of the stereotypical content mother/housewife.

  8. On page 90, Harvey talks about a personal story from Esther arguing that motherhoods can be similar with the time the mother had been a child herself.

  9. On p. 91, Harvey quotes Rachel Gruen as she describes the burden of not being able to fit into society’s depiction of a woman of prestige.

    • On pg. 91, Harvey introduces a quote from Long Island housewife, Rachel Gruen, who talks about the struggles her and her husband experienced in trying to get her to conceive a child, and how it was primarily her husbands fault, but she still felt that blame was on her due to societal pressure and expectations.

  10. On page 91, Harvey introduces the story of Ellen Rodgers and her experience with being the rare woman who chose not to have kids. Her story highlights the societal assumption that if you did not have kids there was something wrong with you and you were being selfish.

    • On pg. 91, Harvey introduces readers to the lives of Ellen Rodgers and her husband, and how when they chose to not have children, Rodgers was not prepared to have so many people come up to them and ask why they didn’t have kids.

  11. On p92 Harvey draws on a study in 1955 to demonstrate the failure of birth control and the consequence of that which made therapeutic abortion difficult to access.

    • From pages 92-93, Harvey discusses the ineffectiveness of contraceptives conducted from a 1955 study stating that 1 in every 4 women receive an unwanted pregnancy.

  12. On page 92, Harvey cites the “Comstock law of 1873” to explain the lack of information that was circulating about birth control at the time and how the contraceptive pill was not allowed.

    • On page 92, Harvey references the Comstock law of 1873. It describes how the law prohibited the circulation of birth control information and devices through the U.S.mail.

    • On page 92, Harvey mentions the Comstock Law of 1873 which prevented birth control devices and information from being sent through the US mail. This made it harder for women to gain access to birth control.

    • On page 92, Harvey showed the Comstock law of 1873 and its narrow overturn several decades later, only to be affected by state legislature to show the failure of the circulation of knowledge about birth control.

  13. On page 93, Harvey quoted a statistic from a New York hospital which is about the “the number of therapeutic abortions per thousand live births”.

  14. On page 93, Harvey references a 1995 Planned Parenthood conference where Dr. Alan Guttmacher outlined the changes made at Mount Sinai that made receiving “therapeutic abortions” significantly more difficult.

    • On pg. 93, Harvey references a quote from Dr. Alan Guttmacher in which he describes how the rate of therapeutic abortions radically decreased due to the rigorous screening each case went through by his medical board.

    • On page 93, Harvey discusses the 1955 Planned Parenthood conference on abortion in the United States and specifically Dr. Alan Guttmacher’s role in creating the abortion board at Mount Sinai.

  15. On page 93, Harvey refers to the statistics of New York Hospital to support her idea that the number of therapeutic abortions had dropped in the 1950s.

    • On page 93, Harvey references statistics from New York Hospital, describing how the number of therapeutic abortions decreased significantly in the 1950s, as abortions became more difficult to get.

    • On page 93, Harvery cites an unspecific study from from 1958 which talked about how most illegal abortions during that time were performed on married women who had already mothered at least one child.

    • On page 93, Harvey brings up a 1958 study on illegal abortions, showcasing how women who were already mothers struggled to find access to legal abortions.

  16. On page 94, Brett Harvey tells personal anecdotes from both Pam Dillon and Emily Gilman to emphasize the ignored and dangerous struggles women went through when denied access to legal birth control.

  17. On page 94, Harvey draws on a personal story of Pam Dillon, a mother of four children who wanted an abortion, to emphasize how difficult it was to get one despite a woman’s obvious affection for children, and even with the necessary financial resources.

  18. On page 94, Harvey brings the story of Emily Gilman and her experience with pregnancies and brith control. Her story highlights the struggles of rearing children as Gilman suffered from depression and some tinge of regrets of having too many children too quickly.

  19. On page 95, Harvey uses the experiences of Rose Cramer as evidence for her claim that having few options to choose from can alleviate uncertainties about pregnancy.

  20. On page 91, Harvey potentially draws from a survey that asked women about their purpose in life to reveal women’s perspective on glorified motherhood.

  21. On p90 Harvey draws on “The American Woman” in Life magazine to show the stereotypical portrayal of a woman’s opinion of her most satisfying moment in life.

  22. On page 93, Harvey refers to a study done in 1958 to highlight the scarcity of legal abortions and the social phenomenon that most poor married women could only seek illegitimate ways of abortion due to the failure of the abortion system at that time.

  23. On page 93, Harvey references a 1958 study that proved most abortions were performed on married women who already had at least one child.

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