The Role of Women

Survey Graphic, founded by Paul Kellogg, publisher of The Survey (a magazine for the burgeoning social work profession) wanted to create a journal that would be aimed at a socially conscious public, similar to the New Republic and The Nation — integrating art, literature and psychology into analysis of public issues.

Adding “Graphic” to the title was more than nominal, Kellogg wanted to use graphic depiction to convey what he called “social facts” through the use of charts, graphs, illustrations, cartoons and photographs. Kellogg hoped to “engage the attention of a wide audience by use of graphic and literary arts in partnership with the social sciences, to catch the eye and heart as well as the intellect,” writes Cara Finnegan, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Survey Graphic coverage of issues was years ahead of their time. Survey Graphic published special issues on heart disease (1924), the Harlem Renaissance, “Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro” (1925), “Family Life in America” (1927), government intervention in the power industry (1927), the emergence of fascism (1927) and, ominously, the specter of growing mass unemployment (1928) and “Woman’s Place” (1926) below.

 

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Given the recent blocking of the Equal Pay Bill by Congressional Republicans, this special issue gives one pause, if not concern. It has been almost 90 years since this foresighted issue devoted to the changing role of women in American society hit the newsstand. Featuring many of the same issues still discussed (“Four Ways to Support a Family” and “Shall We Have a Child?”) it makes one wonder whether progress is relative. Women are in the majority and in many once male dominated situations, but is 1926 all that different from 2014? Look at the headlines above and the stories below — and think about it.

 

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