This Issue's Character feature

This issue features: Addy, Samantha, and Molly
(Kit was not yet introduced when the Handbook was published.)

From the American Girls Club Handbook:

Addy: Out of Slavery
The battle to end slavery divided America, North against South.

By 1864, when Addy made her daring escape from slavery, the slave trade had been in North America for more than 300 years. By 1804, people in the northern states had outlawed slavery. By the 1850's, Northerners wanted slavery to stop in the southern states, too. But many Southerners felt they needed the labor of slaves to run their plantations efficiently. In 1861, people in several southern states formed their own nation, called the Confederate States of America. President Lincoln declared war on these states, and the Civil War began.

Southern soldiers were called Rebels because they rebelled, or fought against the government. Enslaved people were not allowed to fight in the Rebel army, but their masters took them along as servants. At first, the Yankees, or northern soldiers, didn't allow African-Americans to fight, either. Enslaved peple who ran away to Yankee camps were only allowed to stay as contraband, or property taken from the enemy. Groups of contraband men began fighting as soldiers, and soon black regiments were formed. African-American soldiers had to take an extra risk. If they were captured by the enemy, they could be sold back into slavery.

People fought against slavery in other ways, too. Abolitionists worked to end slavery and hid runaway slaves in their homes. Lydia Ann Proctor was the daughter of abolitionists. One day she was playing hide-and-seek in her home. Her father was a cabinetmaker, and one of the things he made was coffins. Lydia slipped inside one of the coffins to hide. To her surprise, there was a live man in the coffin! She was sharing her hiding place with an escaped slave!

Samantha: A Woman's Place
Grandmary and Aunt Cornelia had very different ideas about what was proper for women in 1904.

Samantha saw changes happening everywhere, from the newfangled automobiles that rumbled down her street to the new ideas about women that Aunt Cornelia and Grandmary talked about in the parlor.

Women like Grandmary believed that a woman's place was in the home. They didn't think it was proper for girls and women to earn money--that was a job for men.

Women like Aunt Cornelia thought it was time to change some of these old rules. They wanted women to have more choices. Some women decided ot go to colelge. Some worked as teachers and nurses. Women were even beginning to prepare for jobs and secretaries, accountants, doctors, lawyers, and scientists--jobs that only men had done before.

Poor women and girls, like Samantha's friend Nellie, had no money for an education. They had to take low-paying jobs in factories or as servants so their families could have enough money to survive. Wealthier women like Aunt Cornelia helped poor women find better jobs. They also tried to get laws passed so the poor would be treated more fairly.

Women fought for fair treatment in other parts of their lives, too. When Samantha was growing up, only men could vote. Women had no say about who was elected mayor of their town or president of their country. Some women voted in elections anyway, although they were arrested for it. Many women and some men became suffragists, or people who worked for women's right to vote. One group of women even protested by chaining themselves to the White House fence!

It wasn't until August 28, 1920, that women officially won the right to vote--something most American men had been doing for almost 150 years!

Molly: In the News
In Molly's time, war news was everywhere.

What did the news talk about before there was a war? Children often asked that question in Molly's time. Many were too young to remember what America was like when there was no war. For thtem, the world's countries were divided into the Allies, led by England, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and the Axis, led by Germany, Italy, and Japan.

World War Two started in 1939, when Germany began attacking its European neighbors. Adolf Hitler, the German leader, wanted to control the world. The United States decided to enter the war when Japanese airplanes attacked an American military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.

From that time on, war news was everywhere--on the street corners, where newsboys yelled "Extra, extra! Read all about it!" to sell papers, and even at the movies. There was no television in Molly's time, so the only place people could see real, moving pictures of the war was at movie theaters.

Before each feature film, theaters showed newsreels, short motion pictures of war events. Molly saw the German leader Adolf Hitler saluting to his followers, called Nazis, as they marched past him. She watched scenes of men and women working in the armed forces. Women were not allowed to be soldiers, but they still worked as nurses, doctors, office workers, cooks, and pilots.

Every evening, Molly and her family gathered around the radio. They laughed at comedians like Jack Benny and hummed along to the music of the Glenn Miller Band. But when the news came on, everyone grew quiet and bent forward to listen. Through the static, Molly heard voices of reporters broadcasting all the way from London. Some nights she could even hear bombs whistling in the background as they spoke.