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Mary Ritter Beard

  • The volumes which record the history of the human race are filled with the deeds and the words of great men ... [but] The Twentieth Century Woman ... questions the completeness of the story.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "The Twentieth-Century Woman Looking Around and Backward," Young Oxford ()
  • Every revolution has its counter-revolution.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "Mothercraft," in The Woman Voter ()
  • To ignore [the] great social facts — political facts, if you please — and over-emphasize the old moral responsibility of the 'domestic' mother is a hollow mockery and betrays a hopeless ignorance of industrial and urban conditions in the Twentieth Century. ... Everything that counts in the common life is political.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "Mothercraft," in The Woman Voter ()
  • The origin of the labor movement lies in self-defense ...

  • ... the 'public' — a term often used in America to indicate the great metropolitan newspapers.

  • The trade agreement has become a rather distinct feature of the American labor movement. ... It is based on the idea that labor shall accept the capitalist system of production and make terms of peace with it.

  • ... the precedents for feminine self-expression run back through all the ages since the art of writing was invented. ... The era may witness the first female engineer, motor truck chauffeur, radio broadcaster, head of an aviation school, or federal prohibition officer, but it has not produced the first thinking, creative, and writing woman by any means.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "American Women and the Printing Press," in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science ()
  • Every great creative idea, formulated as a philosophy, has a social setting — in time, in a geographical location, in a political economy, in a matrix of interests and knowledge. It is not a free-swinging phenomenon like a balloon without moorings. It is not produced in a vacuum and, being creative, it does not work in a vacuum. Nurtured on things experienced and things known, it reaches out toward the unknown like a flower on a stalk growing out of the soil.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "Feminism as a Social Phenomenon," in Woman's Press Magazine ()
  • Despite the modern dogma to the effect that women were a subject sex until the nineteenth century 'emancipated' them from history, women in history had demonstrated strong wills and purposes, had made assertions, and had directed or influenced all human destiny, including their own, since human life began.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "Feminism as a Social Phenomenon," in Woman's Press Magazine ()
  • ... the dogma of woman's complete historical subjection to man must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind.

  • For hundreds of years the use of the word 'man' has troubled critical scholars, careful translators, and lawyers. Difficulties occur whenever and wherever it is important for truth-seeking purposes to know what is being talked about and the context gives no intimation whether 'man' means just a human being irrespective of sex or means a masculine being and none other.

  • The woman's bill of rights is, unhappily, long overdue. It should have run along with the rights of man in the eighteenth century. Its drag as to time of official proclamation is a drag as to social vision. And even if equal rights were now written into the law of our land, it would be so inadequate today as a means to food, clothing and shelter for woman at large that what they would still be enjoying would be equality in disaster rather than in realistic privilege.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • 1937, in Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History ()
  • In brief, we who write are all in the same boat, as if we are survivors of torpedoes, and we hope to reach the shores of thought with strength for more activity.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • 1943, in Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History ()
  • Could anyone fail to be depressed by a book he or she has published? Don't we always outgrow them the moment the last page has been written?

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • 1943, in Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History ()
  • It is grievous to read the papers in most respects, I agree. More and more I skim the headlines only, for one can be sure what is carried beneath them quite automatically, if one has long been a reader of the press journalism.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • 1948, in Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History ()
  • Democracy cannot sustain itself amid a high degree of violence.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • 1950, in Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History ()

Mary Ritter Beard, U.S. historian

(1876 - 1958)