Holliday’s painstaking research brings Colby to life from dry, dusty history pages, piecing together her story and its context from letters, newspapers accounts, and her personal papers. He respectfully yet comprehensively chronicles Colby’s personal challenges—including raising two adopted children, Zintka, an infant survivor of the Battle of Wounded Knee, and Clarence, an intellectually disabled 11-year-old, as well as learning that her husband fathered at least one illegitimate child—and painstakingly celebrates her triumphs, as well as the victories of a nascent movement for women’s rights. Colby was the first woman in the United States to receive a war correspondent’s pass (as founder and editor of the Woman’s Tribune), and participated in the 20th-century precursor to the modern-day Women’s March, held in London in 1911. Sadly, Colby died four years before women finally gained the right to vote, and emotionally invested readers will feel a pang at the knowledge that she never saw her movement’s success.
Colby isn’t as well known as Anthony and Cady Stanton, but Holliday’s biography may well change that. Impeccably and lovingly researched and punctuated with firsthand sources and historical photos, this work is ideal for anyone wanting to take a deep dive into the women’s suffrage movement.
Takeaway: Historians and feminists alike will relish this robust biography of a little known suffragist who played a major role in helping women get the power to vote.
Great for fans of Ida Husted Harper’s The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler’s The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+