Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Books: Two fascinating women, and more

There are two new books out which silent film buffs, Jazz Age enthusiasts, and those interested in social history and women's herstory will want to know about. Each tell the story of a little known woman from the early decades of the 20th century. Each are fascinating accounts, and each reveals that there still many undiscovered stories left to be told. Each book are recommended reading.

The Lives of Justine Johnstone: Follies Star, Research Scientist, Social Activist (McFarland)
by Kathleen Vestuto

From the publisher: As a Ziegfeld Follies girl and film actress, Justine Johnstone (1895-1982) was celebrated as "the most beautiful woman in the world." Her career took an unexpected turn when she abruptly retired from acting at 31. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to medical research and social activism. As a cutting-edge pathologist, she contributed to the pre-penicillin treatment of syphilis at Columbia University, participated in the development of early cancer treatments at Caltech, and assisted Los Angeles physicians in oncology research. As a divorced woman in the 1940s, she adopted and raised two children on her own. She later helped find work for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters and became a prominent participant in social and political causes.

The first full-length biography of Johnstone (who travelled in the same social circles as Louise Brooks in 1925 New York City) chronicles her extraordinary success in two male-dominated fields--show business and medical science--and follows her remarkable journey into a fascinating and fulfilling life.

"Here is a book that might otherwise escape you, but if you're lucky you'll find it and read it.... From her humble upbringing in New Jersey to her days as a Broadway and Hollywood fixture to her life as a research scientist and social activist, Johnstone emerges as a fascinating person. Vestuto sprinkles her life story with anecdotes that include some of the people in Justine's world which included, among many others, Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx, Marion Davies, Joan Blondell and W.C. Fields...." – Jeff Still, amazon review

About the Author
: Kathleen Vestuto is a former theatre professional working in the nonprofit social services sector. She lives in New York City.

Southern Belle To Hollywood Hell: Corliss Palmer and Her Scandalous Rise and Fall (BearManor Media)
by Jennifer Ann Redmond

From the publisher: Winning the Fame and Fortune Contest of 1920 made Corliss Palmer a star. It was the worst thing that ever happened to her. Come along as the author of Reels & Rivals: Sisters in Silent Film charts Corliss and publisher Eugene Brewster’s attempt to fashion a Jazz Age empire, only to end up ruling the gossip columns. Over 70 images, including never-before-seen photos from the Palmer family scrapbook, illustrate this incredible tale of obsession, glamour, and why you should always be careful what you wish for.

“Remarkably intimate and detailed… author Jennifer Ann Redmond offers a juicy account of the short but colorful and tumultuous life of a southern beauty queen-turned model and actress who ‘wasn’t the angel people think she was.” – Paula Uruburu, History Channel consultant and author, American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the “It” Girl, and the Crime of the Century

About the Author: Longtime Louise Brooks Society member Jennifer Ann Redmond found her calling at age 7, when her essay won a countywide contest. Since then, her passion for writing, especially poetry, has been rivaled only by her love of the 1920s and 1930s. Silent and pre-Code (1929-1934) films are a particular favorite, and she counts Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, and Jean Harlow among her muses. She currently resides on Long Island, NY.


And for good measure, consider this worthwhile book as well. It contains a bit of material on Frederica Sagor, the silent era screenwriter who penned the story for the 1927 Louise Brooks film, Rolled Stockings.

When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry (McFarland)
by Rosanne Welch; Foreword by Cari Beachamp

From the publisher: This collection of 23 new essays focuses on the lives of female screenwriters of Golden Age Hollywood, whose work helped create those unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences--but whose names have been left out of most film histories. The contributors trace the careers of such writers as Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Lillian Hellman, Gene Gauntier, Eve Unsell and Ida May Park, and explore themes of their writing in classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ben Hur, and It's a Wonderful Life.

About the Author: Rosanne Welch teaches the history of screenwriting and one-hour drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting. As a television writer/producer, her credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. Her other books include Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture (McFarland, 2017) and Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection (ABC-CLIO, 2017), named to the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List, by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association. Welch has also published chapters in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television (I.B.Tauris) and The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color (Lexington Books, 2018) and essays in Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology and Outside In Makes it So, and Outside in Boldly Goes (both edited by Robert Smith). She lives in Los Angeles, and is the book reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant and respectful comments are welcome. Off-topic comments and spam will be removed, and you will be cursed from henceforth.

Powered By Blogger