With questions, small group discussions, big group feedback, and culminating projects are always recommended.  You may wish to supplement these with basic fact check questions and questions about parallels today.  One great lesson plan is to have the students generate their own list of questions!


           - CHAPTER ONE - People in a Small Town 

1) What small town features would be welcome in the modern city?  And how might we introduce them? What different possibilities and obstacles confront activists?

2) Could we groom youth as consciously as Kellor's mentors did?  What features might we adopt?  Why did this training work so well with Kellor?  Do you give credence to the argument that peoples' childhood influences them as adults? What does this say about the importance of environment? If environment is so important, do we have free will? 

3) What positive contributions to society did organizations like the Women's Christian Temperance League give to society? How might Kellor's time been different without them?

4) How do Kellor's newspaper articles seem to compare to today's papers? What topics do we see more of? What of the tone?

5) Describe the Social Gospel.  In what respects did Kellor's Americanization program reflect the social gospel program? 

       - CHAPTER TWO - Cornell, Basketball, and Women's Americanization

1) In what ways did gender segregation in Cornell support or hinder women? Might your evaluation have depended upon whether or not you were lesbian or transgendered? 

2) In what ways do sports change men and women's character?  What are the possible moral implications?  If sports can influence character, does this give validity to critics of women's basketball such as Coach Hill?

3) How is Kellor's sports decorum a Christian ideal?  How is it progressive?  If made sports a vehicle for ethics, how might that impact society? What characteristics did society fear competition might undermine in women? What does that tell you about gender roles in Kellor's day?

4) Does Kellor's activism vision for women conflict with the traditional roles? Is progressivism intrinsically in conflict with multiculturalism?

5) Do the same concerns for women's sports still exist in some form today?  If a person suggested making women's clothing in sports sexier would there be a gendered conflict?  What of the same suggestion for men?

          - CHAPTER THREE - Southern Female African-American Prisoners and White Women 

1) Are you convinced by Kellor's argument that women, given the same opportunities, would be just as criminal as men?  What does her argument about gender bias in crime reporting tell us about the time? What does it tell us about gender and society today?

2) Did Kellor condescend to the African - American women? Did they disrespect African - American culture? Might some culture's environment make their child rearing worse?  Do we still use environmental explanations for causes of crime?  Does this not imply judgment?

3) Do you think that, as Kellor stated in her history of the idea of crime, that society has progressed?  Are we more advanced? If so, are some ideas backwards? If not, on what grounds could we judge the South of the time?

4) What did Kellor's sociological snapshots of the women's histories and the inclusion of their voice reveal about them?   What does Kellor's including these details tell you about her values?

5) What were the strongest reform recommendations? Did her blaming African - American imprisonment on the attitudes of the majority culture have much impact?

6) How did the switch of believes concerning the cause of crime switching from individual morality, to genetic theories, to the environmental causes Kellor championed, reflect changes in society in general?  What are the moral and social implications of each view?

         - CHAPTER FOUR - For the Love of Women

1) What do you think of the definitions of lesbianism offered?  How would taking one version or another change the way we see the world? Do you think such a status matters to the types of reforms one undertakes? If so, how so? If not, why have gender or sexuality mentioned in history classes? If so, are all lesbians then somewhat alike? Would we be wrong to stereotype the transgendered?

2) What counts as an intellectual?  Would all reformers be considered intellectuals?  If an activist leaves no written record, could we still discuss their ideas?  Could someone who never tried to change society and lived a purely private life be considered an intellectual?  What do our definitions do to the inclusion and exclusion of certain groups?  If Kellor wrote for People magazine instead of The Ladies Home Journal, would she still be considered an intellectual?

3) Did Kellor's attitudes towards "white slavery" show a lingering Victorianism on her part?  Were these women liberated in a way that paralleled unmarried activists such as Kellor? In what ways were women oppressed and liberated by sex work? 

4) Should Kellor have treated rural white women, African-Americans coming North, and immigrants differently?  Do cultural differences not matter in this context?  What different challenges faced these groups then?

          - CHAPTER FIVE - Kellor Crosses the Color Line

1) How does Kellor's gender image compare with that of different settlement house reformers? 

2) Did the Education Alliance program disrespect immigrant culture?  What do you suppose the organizers and participants valued? What did the existence of these programs say about immigrant attitudes?  What percentage of immigrants participated?  Was not participating a form of resistance?

3) Is society to blame for creating a situation wherein assimilation was desirable?  Did adopting American ways necessarily mean losing traditional values? Should government schools seek to assimilate you to the dominant country into which you move or maintain your traditional culture?  What do you think old and young immigrants thought?  What evidence would you need to make such a claim?

4) What conflicts do you think happened inside an immigrant if they worked to assimilate?  Would assimilation in school cause intergenerational conflict?   

5) If you were to start an organization for social reform today what names might you give them?  Which pre-existing organization could you involve in it?

6) How did class, racism and cultural differences create difference and similarities in Kellor's approach to African -Americans and immigrants? In what ways might different programs been justified?

7) Would you agree with Kellor's level of adopting Booker T. Washington's assumptions? Should she have taken Victoria Matthews' lead on this?  At what level was the hope that African - American women would stay in the South racist?  Was the level at which they were scammed a reasonable justification for their not coming?

          - CHAPTER SIX - Americanization from the Trenches

1) Why are the abilities of a settlement house and the government different? What are the abilities and deficits of each?

2) What issues were considered proper and improper for a woman to work on reforming?  Did Kellor's rise into government work get made easier by her gender identification? Why?  What might the reactions to a feminine woman running an industrial regulation organization might have been?

3) In what ways were her views of rowdy immigrant camps racist or culturist? Can there be a purely material view of the "American Standard of Living?"  What did she mean by "assimilation?"  How is it different than the views we have now?


1) What do these photos tell us about Kellor as a person? What do her surroundings, including people, tell you?

2) In the progressive era what would immigrants have thought of Kellor's clothes? Would they have worked in a settlement house?  What might have been the reactions from the general public?

           - CHAPTER SEVEN - The Nation Sours and New Nationalism is Born

1) What does the Dillingham Commission recommend? Might cultural groups acclimate to America differently? 

2) Do Kellor's criticisms of the Dillingham commission ring true today? What would a domestic plan for immigration look like today? Should it include distribution?

3) To what extent did Kellor remain idealistic in her efforts?  To what extent did she bend to the popular hostility?  What would have been the impact of ignoring popular discussions or taking them more seriously?

4) How might our nation be different if Kellor's Service rose on the back of a Teddy Roosevelt victory? 

5) Could the Service work today?  Would the obstacles be the same as those she faced?

6) What place does Kellor's push for suffrage deserve in women's history? Is it minor?  How would you gauge that?

          - CHAPTER EIGHT - Multicultural Nationalism

1) Does the impact of contributing money to causes differ from participating in their solution?

2) What would the reception to Americanization Day be today?  Who would embrace and reject it? 

3) In what ways does immigrant participation in Americanization day surprise you? 

4) How might "the hyphen" been viewed differently then and now?

5) Please explain what the author means about the tension between multiculturalism and nationalism.

6) Compare Fleishman and Kallen's views of our national identity.  How do they differ?  How do they overlap?  Where do you think Americanization Day concords with them?

          - CHAPTER NINE - Living in a Material World

1) What problems are better approached from a national perspective?  What problems are approached from a local perspective?

2) What issues does her discussion of women in Out of Work, raise?  Did gender roles justify some differences in policies?  Do perils facing women differ from those facing men?  Is women's role in the social order different from that of men?

3) Does Kellor's Americanization curriculum under emphasize history?  Should we have more community learning and less history in our curriculum?

4) Did Kellor's educating via changing material conditions ignore factors of race and culture too much?  What adjustments did the status of gender, race, and culture demand?

          - CHAPTER TEN - Forced Activism

 1) Does Jane Addams' pacifist stance or Frances Kellor's pro-War preparations stance seem more or less feminine?  What would contemporaries think?  Is gender irrelevant herein?

2) Is Randolph Bourne's pacifist stance or the John Dewey's pro-War stance more in line with progressive values?  Which ones?

3) In which ways did the progressives disagree about civilian training? How did the ideas conflict with our traditions or enhance them?

4) Does gender enter into the Service program?  In what ways would one differentiate women's training and men's training?  Would it be the same? What would people of 1916 expect?

          - CHAPTER ELEVEN - Taking it to the Streets

1) Could women transcend class by identifying as women?  Did the media attention on class push this debate in towards solidarity as women? What does this tell you about gender and class in the progressive era?

2) What did Kellor's gender lessons in her speeches to her train mates indicate about her character?  What did it say about gender relations of the time?

3) How did elections then seem to differ from elections now?  What were the good parts of elections then? What seems weaker?

4) What does the women's segregation to suffrage states tell you about politics at the time?  What options did Kellor have?  What would you have said to such a train? 

5) Can you find any consistency between Kellor's take on hyphens here and in her work on Americanization Day?

6) Does Kellor's attitude towards suffrage make sense?  Does the argument that democracy happens between elections have any merit?

7) What might have been the sectional issues that divided the nation?  What would the nation gain by unifying or diversifying at the time?

          - CHAPTER TWELVE - Wartime Americanization

1) Which of Kellor's four types of wartime Americanization held the most promise for change?  Which seemed least realistic?

2) Do you believe that Kellor meant the anti-immigrant sentiments she expressed in the beginning of her one Neighborhood Americanization speech? How do you judge a person?

3) What were the main arguments for Neighborhood Americanization? What were some of the pitfalls Kellor sought?  How did this program reinforce gender segregation?  How did it remove gender segregation?

4) What level of coercion for Educational / Industrial Americanization can be justified?  Are all attempts to encourage education in an industrial setting immoral?

5) Do people really wish to participate in industrial policy?  Does the idea that industries should have as much civic influence as she hopes conflict with ideals of individual liberty?  Did they then? What were the positive potentials of social engineering that Kellor saw for the work place?

6) Critics of progressivism, such as Jonah Goldberg, have contended that controlled state solutions such as in Kellor's second edition of Out of Work and her appreciation of Lenin and Britain's war economy show progressives were proto-fascists.  What evidence have you seen herein for and against that stance?

7) Why might private contributions to Federal agencies have been halted? What was lost?  What was gained?

          - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - Media Americanization

1) How might we see Kellor's practice of releasing pro-American statements from immigrants as part of the problem or part of the solution? 

2) Does the wealthy backing of Kellor's AAFLN make it a right wing organization? How might you square that with its pro-immigrant stance?  What does this mean that categories of left and right were different in the progressive era? 

3) In what ways do Kellor's consumer Americanization ideals accept or recognize diversity?  Does her development of this angle indicate that she had given up on unity through activism?

4) To what extent do you agree that using American products makes one an American? What practices might have fostered or hindered this Americanization program?

          - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - Internationalism Versus Americanism

1) What does Kellor's denunciation of Americanization tell you about the Americanization movement around her?  How might we tell if this Americanization leader had a following or simply rich friends? 

2) Did her argument concerning our need to compete for immigrants seem genuine? If not, what does her use of such arguments say for her morals? 

3) Does Kellor's argument for open borders at a time of ever-increasing immigration restriction show her to have been impractical?  Does this conflict with her strategic use of internationalism in the prior question? What does her crusade tell you about her morals?

4) Does her separation of political citizenship and economic immigration make sense?  What perils and benefits might accrue from such a perspective?

5) What might immigrants have thought of the "International Human Being" concept? What arguments might a conservative Senator have made against such a proposal? 

          - CHAPTER FIFTEEN - Kellor Takes Off

1) To what extent did Kellor's anger over the lack of political engagement of women show a failure to understand newer models of women's liberation in the roaring 1920s? 

2) What consistencies and inconsistencies do you see in the gendered attitudes expressed in her sex cloisters article?  Does a tension exist between the belief in a feminine voice and the desire to disband women's groups?  In what ways does this express a consistent philosophy?

3) What parallels exist between Kellor's Americanization work and her arbitration work? 

4) How might her intellect and her upbringing influence her arbitration program?  Could a biographer sort these out in a person?  Might you have emphasized one more than the other?  What would the implications of emphasizing each be?

5) Does our legal culture impact our larger culture?  How much has her organization contributed to world peace? How might you quantify that?

6) What of her final statement on immigration confused you?  Can you see echoes of it in her past work? What surprised you? 

7) What techniques for reform did Kellor use most effectively?  What were the most common tactics taken in the progressive era?  Who else used them?