Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James Darsey - Chair

Second Advisor

David Cheshier

Third Advisor

Mary Stuckey


ABSTRACT Dr. Alice Hamilton (1869-1970), the leading American figure in industrial medicine during the early to mid-1900s, left behind a body of rhetoric that is important in the history of American feminist discourse and American public address. Her discourse is the exemplary of feminist-pragmatist rhetoric, a genre of cross-gender communication developed by New Women associated with Hull House and the University of Chicago between 1892 and 1918. Hamilton’s rhetoric illuminates a key event in the history of the American rhetorical tradition—the emergence of the modern woman from her late-Victorian beginnings through her Progressive self-transformation. This study is approached as a rhetorical biography. It tracks Hamilton’s evolution from “reticent scientist” to outspoken feminist-pragmatist by examining family, educational, peer and social influences on her development; and through critical analysis of her speeches, technical writing, books, and popular and specialty magazine articles over a 36-year period, from 1907 to 1943.


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