The Remaking of an American
"She is the most untiresome recorder of her own experiences and views you can find in a multitude of biographers. You’ll like Elizabeth on every page."--<i>Educational Review</i>
"A document in contemporary international relations and interesting to those who would rather tackle the study of Anglo-American relations in personal narrative than in economic or political analysis."--<i>New York Herald Tribune</i>
Covering her years as a pioneering American journalist in London and her trips to the United States in the early 20th century, this long-out-of-print autobiography of Elizabeth Banks (1870-1939) provides rare insight into the professional career of a dedicated and talented woman and into the major political issues of the time: World War I, the suffrage movement, social class consciousness, and the effect of the great wave of immigration on the United States.
Breaking into serious journalism when other women writers were relegated to the society and fashion pages, Banks was a regular contributor to the Daily News, Punch, St. James's Gazette, London Illustrated, and Referee. She created a sensation in London by recording her observations on the plight of the lower classes, which she researched posing as a housemaid, street sweeper, and Covent Garden flower girl. And in columns under the pseudonyms of "Mary Mortimer Maxwell" and "Enid," she unceasingly promoted women’s right to vote and denounced the prison conditions for jailed suffragettes.
Banks’s memoir is full of personal and fascinating anecdotes about her neighbors George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, and Thomas Hardy; her friends H. G. Wells and suffragette Henrietta Marston; her meeting with Theodore Roosevelt; and daily life in London during the war.
Although she never gave up American citizenship, Banks remained in England throughout her life, torn between the two countries and cultures that she loved passionately.
Jane S. Gabin, assistant director of undergraduate admissions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of <i>A Living Minstrelsy: The Poetry and Music of Sidney Lanier.</i> She has contributed to the <i>Encyclopedia of American Poetry, Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia,</i> and the <i>American National Biography.</i>
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