Guided Primary Source Analysis: Concerning the American Girl

Concerning the American girl
Ehrhart, S. D. “Concerning the American girl.” Illus. in: Puck, v. 54, no. 1401 (1904 January 6), centerfold. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Caption: Puck — Do you really think, my clerical friend, that the old ideals were better than these? Summary: Illustration shows a priest standing on the left holding a paper that states “The steady decline of womanhood from its old ideals”; Puck pulls back a curtain to reveal women in many roles in society, such as doctors, lawyers, school teachers, athletes, artists, nurses, secretaries, “Tenement House Inspectors”, and as members of such organizations as the “S.P.C.A.”

List the different career paths illustrated in this political cartoon. Did any surprise you? Why or why not?

Political cartoons often contain irony. What example of irony do you find in this political cartoon? (If you need help, review the post Analyzing Primary Sources: Reading Cartoons.)

What do you think were the “old ideals” of womanhood in 1904? What would you tell someone are the “old ideals” of womanhood today? Work with a partner or small group to re-create this cartoon for today.

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!