Newspaperwomen and the Movies in the USA, 1914-1925
If, as Gertrude Price claimed in 1914, the movies were “a great new field for women,” 1 that field encompassed far more than acting, which drew many star-struck girls to Los Angeles, or being hired for a range of professional positions in producing and marketing films. Indeed, extending that field to include newspapers, for instance, allows one to argue that women journalists played a significant role in the emergence of early American popular film culture in the mid-1910s. 2 Specifically, that role involved women with writing skills who edited pages devoted to the movies in weekend newspaper editions as well as compiled gossip on stars and reviewed films, often in daily columns. In Chicago alone, at least three women quickly exerted considerable influence: Mae Tinee (Frances Peck) and Kitty Kelly (Audrey Alspaugh) at the Chicago Tribune, and Louella Parsons at the Chicago Herald. But did many women continue to write about the movies in newspapers beyond the mid-1910s; and, if they did, in which papers, in what capacities, and with what kind of impact? Samantha Barbas and Hilary Hallett, from different perspectives, 3 have shown that Parsons became even more influential in the late 1910s and early 19120s, but was she at all representative, one of a select few, or an anomaly? And how can a historian go about addressing such questions?
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