Dr. Janann Sherman

Authors and University of Memphis history professors Beverly G. Bond and Janann Sherman offer an alluring look at the growth and transformation of Memphis from a rough, robust cotton town into a modern metropolis. The energy and drive of the people comes through in this engrossing chronicle as it weaves through the promise and prosperity of a complex river city.


“I am here speaking for the majority, the truly silent majority.”

Through these interviews Betty Friedan speaks fervently and combatively for herself and the momentous causes she has fought for.

In 1963 Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published, and since that time this writer, teacher, public intellectual, and passionate advocate of social and economic justice in America has remained in the public spotlight.

Transforming her into the mother of modern feminism, her landmark book challenged the prevailing gender ideology in the country and ultimately led to one of the most profound movements for social change in American history.

In these interviews her arguments about equity and fairness—as well as the striking consistency of her views about men, women, and the American family—provide a rich resource for scholarly research.

The interview genre captures Friedan’s immediacy, her passion, her wit, her candor, and her contradictions.  In showing her political and philosophical development, they reveal her to be one of the twentieth century’s most significant thinkers.

Book Description

Margaret Chase Smith served thirty-three years in the U.S. Congress (1940 to 1973). Her congressional tenure spanned the administrations of six presidents, the prosecution of three major wars, and significant changes in the roles of women in all aspects of American life. For most of her twenty-four years as a senator Smith served as the only woman. She was the first woman to seek the nomination of a major political party for the presidency of the United States.  By the time she left office, Senator Smith was the most powerful woman in American politics. From her positions on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, she exercised considerable influence over a broad range of military, foreign, and domestic policies. Yet Smith did not view herself as a feminist. In fact, she disparaged feminism. For her, success required a special combination of hard work, masked ambition, and proper womanly behavior.  No Place for a Woman is the first biography to analyze Smith's life and time by using politics and gender as the lens through which we can understand her impact on American politics and American women. Sherman's research is based upon more than one hundred hours of personal interviews with Senator Smith, and extensive research in many primary documents, including those from the holdings of the Margaret Chase Smith Library.  No Place for a Woman is a first-class work of American history, taking the reader from rural Maine communities of the early twentieth century to the United States' halls of power.
In an age when biographies routinely climb inside the head and heart of the subject, speculating sometimes with breathtaking hubris, it is refreshing to read one that holds back.  There is a certain discretion, an aura almost of tenderness, that comes through these pages.  Sherman's book is thoughtful and satisfying, as straightforward and straight-arrow as its subject and, because of that, succeeds in giving woman of great grit and determination her due. -- Patricia O'Brien, The New York Times Book Review, 2/6/00

A comprehensive look at a remarkable woman who was an inspiration to generations of young girls and women. -- Olympia Snowe, US Senator, Maine

Through Dr. Janann Sherman's exhaustive research, felicitous writing and critical analysis, we now have the definitive portrait of one of the twentieth century's most important political women, Senator Margaret Chase Smith. -- George Mitchell, former US Senator, Maine

Margaret Chase Smith blazed trails for women across the twentieth century, denying her own initiative and ambition every step of the way. Janann Sherman reconstructs the arc of her life, restores to her story her own agency, and lets us in on the difficulty of ever comprehending a life from any single point of view. No Place for A Woman is a great read and a fresh window on the political history of twentieth-century America.-- Sara M. Evans, author of Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America

Book Description

Yellin and Sherman bring to life the struggle of suffragists to earn women the right to vote which culminated in the final vote needed in the Tennessee legislature for ratification of the19th ammendment to the US constitution. The Perfect 36 gives voice to those who were for and against the right of women to vote with a richly illustrated volume. The authors provide access to many of the writings of  those who were involved in this important movement along with pictures and cartoons from the time to give a vivid sense of what it was like to win enfranchisement.
The Perfect 36 is perfect. One of the outstanding accomplishments of the volume is that, in addition to the voluminous record it presents of the suffrage movement and its historic antecedents, it also includes fair and reasonably complete accounts of the arguments made by the opponents of suffrage. -- Jackson Baker, The Memphis Flyer, 6/24/98

The Perfect 36 is a classic, and all too rare, story of individual political courage in Tennessee and how it wrote an inspirational chapter in American history. It describes in a compelling way the fragile nature of support for women's suffrage, but reminds us that men and women with convictions can truly change the course of history, and in this case, transformed the rights of women in the United States. An outstanding book by outstanding authors writing about events that should be taught to every school student. -- A Memphis Reader

THE PERFECT 36: TENNESSEE DELIVERS WOMAN SUFFRAGE vividly reflects--thoroughly, thoughtfully, sympathetically, and often humorously--the social upheaval and reform impulse of the turn of the century and early 1900s. Although the 1960s have been described by historians as the "turning point" in the women's rights movement in America, the emotion-charged, pivotal one-majority-vote by the Tennessee House of Representatives on August 18, 1920--making Tennessee the 36th state to ratify the federal woman suffrage amendment--distinguishes the final suffrage campaign as the "launching point" of women's rights.  This truth-is-stranger-than-fiction chronicle, covering not only the Amazonian efforts of national and local pro-suffrage warriors / leaders but those of Tennessee's male politicians and captains of commerce, African-American women, Irish-American women, and Jewish-American women in the vanguard of reform (with generous coverage given to the anti-suffrage stalwarts), could not have more appropriate narrators than the Tennessee women who gave it birth. And that makes this native Tennessee woman, who now enjoys the right to vote and other women's rights so hard-won by our foremothers, very proud of the vision, tenacity, and sheer will power possessed by the beleaguered suffragists, as well as by these modern women who researched the facts / stories, secured the historical illustrations, and wrote the text for this captivating book. This lavishly illustrated, well-written, immerse-yourself-in-the-story book is sure to become a sought-after collector's item! -- MCK of Mount Juliet, Tennessee