Bertha Knight Landes of Seattle: Big-City Mayor

Sandra Haarsager, Author
Sandra Haarsager, Author University of Oklahoma Press $39.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2592-3
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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When Landes (1868-1943) became Seattle's mayor in 1926, she was the first woman elected to lead a major U.S. city. In a carefully researched study of Landes's political career, Haarsager, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Idaho, focuses on the women's club movement, which blossomed in the early 1900s and provided wives and mothers like Landes an opportunity to develop sophisticated administrative and organizational skills. Earlier in her career, Landes was elected to the Seattle city council and served as its president. As acting mayor, she shocked her colleagues by firing a corrupt chief of police. As mayor, she fought for social and municipal reform. Haarsager posits that Landes's bid for reelection was unsuccessful because of gender bias and negative campaigning. She provides an interesting analysis of women and power based on the theories of French philosopher Michel Foucault. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
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