The Three Alices: Alice James, Alice Roosevelt & Alice Paul

They grew up in different times and in very different social cultures: Alice James in Boston, Alice Roosevelt in New York and Washington, and Alice Paul in New Jersey. But they shared one thing in common: their lives as women were lived with daring and unconventional tactics.

Alice James was the only daughter in a famous Boston family that included brothers Henry James the writer and William James the philosopher. Living in the second half of the Victorian era, she spent her life mostly in bed, diagnosed with hysteria. Her companion, the woman she loved, was Katharine Peabody Loring. Alice died at 43.

Alice Roosevelt was born at the end of the 19th century and lived a long life into the 20th century, enjoying much of the Gilded Age. Her mother died at her birth. Her father was President Theodore Roosevelt. Alice was known as a rule-breaker in an era when women were under great pressure to conform. She did not ever conform.

Alice Paul was the overt rebel of the three women in this course. Born into a Quaker family in rural New Jersey, Alice became the leading figure in getting the 19th Amendment passed and securing more rights for women. She led the more radical wing of the women’s suffrage movement. We shall explore the lives of each of these women and try to fit them into the development of Feminism in America.

We shall explore how James grew up in a Boston family where women were not to be seen, heard, or educated; Roosevelt’s outlandish life of daring and risqué behavior, and Paul’s living her life in accord with her famous quote: “There will never be a new world order until women are part of it.”

Suggested (but not required) reading:

Alice James, Jean Strouse;   Princess Alice, Carol Felsenthal;   A Woman’s Crusade, Mary Walton

Class Recordings:

Class 1- March 29

Class 2 - April 5

Class 3 - April 12


Group Leader: LINDA BERGER
Meets on: Mondays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 3/29/2021
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: 1 hour
Group Leader Biography:

Linda Berger is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education and has done doctoral work in educational psychology. This will be the eighteenth course in women’s history she has taught for Beacon Hill Seminars.