Pretty Typewriters, Melodramatic Modernity: Edna, Belle, and Estelle

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Edna Boynton, Belle Randall, and Estelle Everett share several traits: all are fictional, young, American women; all work as secretaries or, in the terminology of their day, are "typewriters" or "typewriter girls," and, as those terms will signal to connoisseurs of period idioms, they thrive in the decades between 1890 and 1910. Their stories are all set in what were then the largest cities of the United States, New York (Edna, Estelle) and Chicago (Belle). Two of them work for bankers or banker-brokers (Belle, Estelle), those critical components of finance capitalism, while the other (Edna) works for a shipowner. At first glance these fictional young women epitomize the modern experience, situated (as they are) at the intersection of changing gender roles, new technology, metropolitan experience, and modern capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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