Elizabeth Turner addresses a central question in post-Reconstruction social history: why middle-class women expanded their activities from the private to the public sphere and began, just before World War I, an unprecedented period of women's activism. Using Galveston as a case study, Turner examines how the ubiquitous community organizations, particularly churches, provided a nurturing environment for budding reformers. and a foundation for activist organizations and programs such as poor relief and progressive reform.

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