New Book Coming This November – “American Women’s History on Film” by Rosanne Welch and Peg A. Lamphier

I’m proud to announce my latest book (co-written by my colleague Peg Lamphier) is set for publication this November 2022 by ABC-Clio/Bloomsbury. In it we take a look at 10 films that tell stories about famous moments or women from Women’s History in the United States.

New Book Coming This November – 

Films covered in each chapter are:

  1. Norma Rae (1979)
  2. Silkwood (1983)
  3. Joy Luck Club (1993)
  4. GI Jane (1997)
  5. Iron-Jawed Angels (2004)
  6. Salt of the Earth (1954)
  7. Monster (2003)
  8. Hidden Figures (2016)
  9. Confirmation (2016)
  10. On the Basis of Sex (2018)

We’re particularly pleased with this cover. We learned from our Encyclopedia of Science and Technology that you have to ask for what you want upfront. For that one, the art department had chosen photos of 2 male inventors and the space shuttle to decorate the cover. We asked that it be 2 male inventors and one female inventor for balance. No one had thought about including a female until we asked. So for our Civil War on Film book, we asked for that upfront and sure enough, though the bulk of Civil War films are full of dudes in uniforms they found a photo of Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln sitting beside Mr. Lincoln.

For Women’s History in the United States, we asked to be sure to include women of color and you’ll see we succeeded at that request.

Similarly, a couple of years ago in my work as book reviews editor for the Journal of Screenwriting I asked to use a photo of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala on the cover since one major article was about her amazing career writing everything from Room with a View to Howard’s End to Jefferson in Paris. The editor agreed but then production hit a snag in that the only photo available in our price range was too small to blow up to fill the whole cover. But then someone in production had the great idea to use that small photo several times, strung along on a graphic that made it look like a strip of film with that same picture in every frame. Creative and brilliant and salvaged the idea of having a female face on the cover while simultaneously celebrating the work of a wonderful female writer.

I’m learning!

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From ABC-Clio…

By exploring a range of films about American women, this book offers readers an opportunity to engage in both history and film in a new way, embracing representation, diversity, and historical context.

Throughout film history, stories of women achieving in American history appear few and far between compared to the many epic tales of male achievement. This book focuses largely on films written by women and about women who tackled the humanist issues of their day and mostly won.

Films about women are important for all viewers of all genders because they remind us that the American Experience is not just male and white. This book examines 10 films, featuring diverse depictions of women and women’s history, and encourages readers to discern how and where these films deviate from historical accuracy. Covering films from the 1950s all the way to the 2010s, this text is invaluable for students and general readers who wish to interrogate the way women’s history appears on the big screen.

Features

  • Focuses on 10 films with an emphasis on racial and class diversity
  • Explores where storytelling and historical accuracy diverge and clarifies the historical record around the events of the films
  • Organized chronologically, emphasizing the progression of women’s history as portrayed on film
  • Accessible for general readers as well as students

 

The live reading cast of “Mount Wilson” at @seriesfest runs through their tech rehearsal for tonight’s show. [Photos]

The live reading cast of “Mount Wilson” at @seriesfest runs through their tech rehearsal for tonight’s show. [Photos]

The live reading cast of “Mount Wilson” at @seriesfest runs through their tech rehearsal for tonight’s show.

Written by Adam Parker @wawparker , Misty Brawner, Betsy Leighton , Dr. Rosanne Welch

From SeriesFest…

Join us for the first public read of Mount Wilson, a drama pilot which follows Edwin Hubble, a rising astronomer, as he navigates his own web of lies as he works to disprove the theories of some of the greatest minds of the 20th Century. Hubble finds an unlikely alliance in Milton Humason, a maintenance worker at the Mount Wilson Observatory, who may just hold the key to the secrets of the Universe. Mount Wilson was written in partnership with the SeriesFest Writers Room Initiative and produced by Dilettante Productions and Unreal Media.

A Table Reading: “Mount Wilson: 4-hour mini-series based on a book about the life of Edwin Hubble” – SeriesFest 2022 – Denver, CO

Mount Wilson Observatory

I’m happy to announce the public table reading of a new script I’ve co-written with 3 alums of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting (Betsy Leighton, Misty Brawner, Adam Parker).  We were all involved in a mini-writers room earlier last year to come up with the outline for a 4-hour mini-series based on a book about the life of Edwin Hubble (of Hubble Telescope fame) – and we did.  Then the 4 of us wrote the pilot. Now we’ll all be attending the reading at the Gates Planetarium in Denver as part of SeriesFest.

Seriesfest

In honor of that project Douglas and I recently visited Mt. Wilson once again in this almost-post pandemic world and took photos of things like Hubble’s desk, and the wooden ladder they used to reach the platform – and, of course, the 100-inch telescope from which he made his major discoveries about the galaxy. 

What were these discoveries?  Well, you’ll have to attend the table reading – or watch the series when it sells – to find out.

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Rosanne is talking about The Monkees on The Colin McEnroe Show at WNPR Tomorrow (Feb 9, 1 pm)

Connecticut Public Radio WNPR Logo Download

 

@drrosannewelch I’m talking about The Monkees tomorrow on WNPR. Tune in live at 1 pm EST or listen to the archive. #themonkees #monkees #1960s #history #book #tv ♬ original sound – Dr. Rosanne Welch

Rosanne is talking aboiut The Monkees on The Colin McEnroe Show at WNPR Tomorrow (Feb 9, 1pm)

Tomorrow you can catch me chatting about Why The Monkees Matter on The Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR (or streaming online).

The whole show will cover The Monkees long and wonderful career from their music to the TV (my specialty)!   I’ll be in the 2nd segment from running from 1:28 to 1:43 p.m Eastern time (10:28-10:43 Pacific).

Get the Book Today!

Dr. Rosanne Welch Interviewed by the Journal of American Popular Culture – Fall 2021

What a lovely Christmas gift.

I was more than honored a couple of months ago when Leslie Kreiner Wilson (Associate Professor of Creative Writing & Film at Pepperdine University) asked to interview me for the special segment of the Journal of American Popular Culture called “Conversations with Scholars of American Popular Culture.

It was published this week in the Fall 2021 issue. 

Leslie and I found we share such similar interests in the ways women and their work is recorded in history that we could have stayed on the phone for hours – as it is we traversed topics ranging from how we both teach Anita Loos and other female screenwriters of Early Hollywood; how I found feminist messages in The Monkees thanks to the writing of Treva Silverman; how working on encyclopedias allowed me to curate which women were remembered; how Wally Funk, who learned to fly in the aviation program as a student at Stephens College became one of the Mercury 13 and finally made it into space on a SpaceX flight last year. 

It all boiled down to the fact that we both have dedicated our careers to writing about powerful women.  It’s nice to find kindred spirits in academia (all nods to author Lucy Maude Montgomery for teaching me the phrase ‘kindred spirits” when I read Anne of Green Gables – another story about an empowered young woman that deserves more attention).

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Dr. Rosanne Welch Interviewed by the Journal of American Popular Culture - Fall 2021Dr. Rosanne Welch Interviewed by the Journal of American Popular Culture - Fall 2021

Featured Guest:
Rosanne Welch

Rosanne Welch is the Executive Director of the MFA in TV and Screenwriting Program at Stephens College where she teaches the History of Screenwriting as well as Writing the One-Hour Drama. She has written for such television shows as Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Touched by an Angel, ABC/Nightline – as well as publishing novels.

Her critical studies books include Why the Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television, and American Pop Culture (McFarland, 2016) and The Civil War on Film (with Peg A. Lamphier, ABC-CLIO, 2020). In addition to publishing many chapters and journal articles, she has written or edited several essay collections and encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space (ABC-CLIO, 1998); Women in American History (with Peg A. Lamphier, ABC-CLIO, 2017); When Women Wrote Hollywood (McFarland, 2018); and Technical Innovation in American History (with Peg A. Lamphier, ABC-CLIO, 2019).

Dr. Welch sits on the Editorial Board for the Writers Guild Written By magazine and the California History Journal. She also serves as the Book Reviews editor for the Journal of Screenwriting where last year she co-edited (with Rose Ferrell) a Special Issue on Women in Screenwriting (11.3). Dr. Welch holds a Ph.D. in twentieth century American history with a focus on film from Claremont Graduate University.

We talked to her about her teaching, research, and writing, which consistently empowers women.


When you were writing Touched by an Angel, were you conscious of writing a strong female-centered show? Was that discussed in the writers’ room?

Oh yes, I always felt the show was really Cagney & Lacey without guns. I’m Sicilian-American, so I’m loud and assertive. People thought I would write for Roma Downey’s sweet, quiet character, but soon realized my personality was better suited for Della Reese. I wrote her dialogue.

The series was about two women trying to change people’s lives for the better. When they resisted the change, God was mentioned, and then they changed. We were empowering women to empower others.

What attracted you to directing the MFA program at Stephens College and teaching the History of Screenwriting?

The history of film is usually taught as the history of directors, which is the history of great white men. Why don’t we equally teach women and men’s contribution to the industry? I want students to know how important women were and are to the movies and television. Stephens is a woman’s college, but the graduate program is co-ed, so we get a lot of cool feminist guys who want to know the full truth, too.

I want them to know about Anita Loos and Gentleman Prefer Blondes – haven’t we heard enough about F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby? I teach the fact that Nora Ephron got an Oscar nomination [with Alice Arlen] for a serious drama they never heard of – Silkwood. They only know her for her funny stuff. When I teach Rocky, I want them to learn about Norma Rae, written by a woman – Harriet Frank Jr. and her husband, Irving Ravetch. How can they not know about Norma Rae? How can they not know all the unrecognized contributions of women in this industry?

I liked how Fosse/Verdon showed how important Gwen was to his career. Most of my students never even heard of Gwen Verdon. I made them watch the show. You know, her daughter was a producer. I think that’s why it was so good. She was saying, “Now mom gets her due.”

I teach the women in the beginning of film, then I do the men, Trumbo, all that, then I return to the women screenwriters emerging in the late seventies and early eighties. But they need to know Lucille Kallen and Selma Diamond, the only women in Sid Caesar’s famous writers’ room for Your Show of Shows in the 1950s. And writers like Suzanne De Passe – she co-wrote Lady Sings the Blues in the 1970s and was nominated for an Oscar, but is rarely included in most film history courses.

Your first book was Why the Monkees Matter. It might surprise readers to know you have a chapter on feminism, gender, and sexuality in relation to the show.

The Monkees was my favorite show when I was a kid. I went back and re-watched all the episodes as a pop culture-cultural studies professor and realized there were a lot of feminist messages that I hadn’t caught when I was little.

I focus on Treva Silverman who was a prominent television writer in the sixties and seventies with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, That Girl, The Monkees, He & She, and Room 222. She won two Emmys in 1974. Most people don’t know there was a woman in the writers’ room. A woman in the room makes a huge difference.

For example, every single girl who dated one of the main characters on the show had a job. Not one was a bubble head or waiting to get married, so someone else could take care of her. They had jobs – in record stores, television studios, reporting the news. That was an interesting message to send in 1966. Every time we met a girl, she was defined by her job first.

In the first episode that aired, Princess Bettina of Harmonica turns down the cute boy because she has “responsibilities for the welfare of [her] people.” They even flip the trope in the episode of the girl getting kidnapped and the boys having to save her. Here, The Monkees get kidnapped, and Princess Bettina has to save them. When they meet the Julie Newmar character in another episode, she’s working on a Ph.D., and they learn “the fastest way to a woman’s heart is through her mind.”

At the end of the book, I make the point that if you were to girl in 1966, you learned that if you wanted to date a Monkee you should be a woman of value. That was an interesting feminist thought – that you should think about your purpose in the world and be led by it.

You have published several encyclopedias. What is it about that form that excites you?

Choice. I get to choose who is included. When ABC-CLIO put me on Technical Innovation in American History, there were no women. They also didn’t included innovations that have made women’s lives easier such as dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Having a say in who or what is included makes a difference in how we teach and understand history. We, as women writers, have the ability to be our own gatekeepers.

For Women in American History, I was able to include people like Cyndi Lauper who others might dismiss as a silly pop star, but she was the first woman in history to win a Tony for writing the lyrics and music without a male partner. Her Broadway musical Kinky Boots got thirteen nominations. I like having a say in who’s going to be remembered and why.

You collected essays written by your students for When Women Write the Movies and the publisher asked you to write a chapter as well. You did. Tell us why you chose to focus on Ruth Gordon.

A lot of people attribute the feminism of the Spencer-Tracey films to Katherine Hepburn, but I contend that Ruth Gordon deserves the credit. She co-wrote those films with her husband Garson Kanin who was a cool guy, and they were Oscar-nominated for Pat and Mike and Adam’s Rib.

George Cukor gets the credit for the film because he directed it. However, Ruth’s voice comes through in the feminist message of Hepburn’s character. Gordon essentially invented the popular culture image as a feminist that Hepburn enjoyed – more from the power of the characters Ruth wrote than the events of Hepburn’s actual life.

Gordon is more famous as an actress – she won an Oscar for Rosemary’s Baby and starred in Harold and Maude, which has become a cult classic – but she was an accomplished writer and hard worker – working and writing plays and films all the way until her death.

In 2020, you published The Civil War on Film with Peg A. Lamphier. What was the most interesting thing you learned in writing and researching the book?

Right up front, we asked the publishers to make sure there was a female in the photo chosen for the front cover, and they listened. Sally Field as Mrs. Lincoln appears on the cover along with Daniel Day Lewis. Yes! Usually, Civil War studies only feature the men – and usually men in uniform glorying war which was not the message of our book at all.

You know, Glory is the film that historians and scholars point to as the best, most accurate Civil War movie ever made, so I was surprised that they didn’t include the fact that Harriet Tubman was a spy at that point and could have been included in that story – a young woman running around doing things – not the old lady in the rocker – the one image we have of her.

Written by boys. Produced by boys. Reminds us why it’s important to have a woman in the room. I’m writing a chapter right now about the women who created A Star Is Born. When Dorothy Parker wrote it – and Joan Didion remade it for Barbara Streisand – I could see the female gaze, but the last version by Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, and Eric Roth focused on the man’s point of view. It didn’t work creatively. Frankly, it became more like A Star Is Dying.

What’s the most interesting story from your first encyclopedia Women and Aviation in Space?

The Powder Puff Derbies are interesting – women flying in races all across the country from Cleveland to Los Angeles. You know, they said Amelia Earhart was not the best flyer – others were better than she was, but she had a publicist for a husband.

Women were tested as Mercury 13 astronauts, and they did very well – better than the men in some cases – but the program was quickly cancelled.

But the most interesting story is the WASPS. Over a thousand women were flying in World War II – the Women Airforce Service Pilots – civilian volunteers flying all the military planes. They delivered the new ones to bases, worked as test pilots, hoped to join the military, but that program was cancelled after two years.

It would be many years before women got their due. One of the original Mercury pilots Wally Funk just went up in the Blue Origin launch at the age of 82. She said she can’t wait to go up again. Happily enough, she learned aviation as a student at Stephens College in the run up to World War II.

I have so much respect for these women because they love one thing so much they don’t want to do anything else. It’s passion. I feel that as a writer. I must write. It’s my passion.

What’s next? What are you writing now?

I’m editing the ABC-CLIO Women Making History Series, a set of biographies with primary documents (so we can let these women speak for themselves). We’re working on Ida B. Wells, Sally Ride, Delores Huerta, and Wilma Mankiller now. We’ve recently published books on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, and Helen Keller.

I’m also writing a chapter for Palgrave – “Women Screenwriters in Early Silent Film” and one for Bloomsbury on A Star is Born. The next book I’m finishing is similar to the Civil War one – this one on Women’s History on Film – a collection of films about moments in women’s history.

And in a completely other vein, though still connected to celebrating empowered women, I just published a chapter in Doctor Who New Dawn: Essays on the Jodie Whittaker Era which details the work of screenwriter/showrunner Christopher Chibnall in creating the first female incarnation of this fifty year old sci-fi icon.

So you enjoy writing about powerful women.

Clearly, women who make things happen fascinate me. In fact, last year I published a novel about Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who united Italy in 1860, and in the research I discovered his Brazillian-born wife, Anita, joined his band of soldiers and fought side by side for that dream. I enjoyed bringing her story to the forefront of his oft-told (at least in Italy) tale.

Interestingly enough, Anita Garibaldi brought me back to American History when she crossed paths with journalist and Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, who was the first correspondent sent to Italy to cover the fight for unification. The two women worked together as nurses for fallen soldiers. Imagine what they talked about as they created their cross-cultural friendship.

So even when writing about an international couple, I found my way back to an icon of American popular culture.

Fall 2021
Leslie Kreiner Wilson, Interviewer and Editor

Now Available: Gloria Steinem: A Life in American History by William H. Pruden III, Edited by Drs. Rosanne Welch and Peg Lamphier

Good Morning to all our dedicated authors in the Women Making History series for ABC-Clio.

Peg and I wanted to share the nice news that Book #2 has been published and congratulate author Bill Pruden for all his hard work on the life of Gloria Steinem.  We can’t wait to see the rest of the books in our series come to publication. 

Now Available: Gloria Steinem: A Life in American History by William H. Pruden III, Edited by Drs. Rosanne Welch and Peg Lamphier

We know (being meant for libraries) that the volumes are higher priced so we can’t ask you all to buy a copy  –  but you can alert your local public or school library to their existence and ask that they buy a copy for their stacks (or their Kindle offerings). (Download A PDF Flyer for the book

Stay safe and keep reading! — Rosanne and Peg

Mentoris Project Podcast: Building Heaven’s Ceiling: A Novel Based on the Life of Filippo Brunelleschi with Author, Joe Cline [Audio]

Mentoris Project Podcast: Building Heaven's Ceiling: A Novel Based on the Life of Filippo Brunelleschi with Author, Joe Cline [Audio]

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His greatest accomplishment came after his greatest disappointment.

One of the founding fathers of the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi was more than an Italian designer. Brunelleschi made his mark in architecture and construction.

In his early years, sculpting was Brunelleschi’s passion. But after being passed over for a major commission, he set his sights on architecture, and changed the landscape of Italy as it is known today.

Brunelleschi’s most prominent contribution, the dome of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, was the first of its kind, paving the way for bigger and more elaborate domes to come. His invention of machines to facilitate the construction of the dome allowed future structures to not only be imagined, but to be erected as well.

With his imagination, understanding of linear perspective, focus on geometric principles, and intellect for mathematics, Brunelleschi influenced the rise of modern science and architecture worldwide.


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Want to use these books in your classroom? Contact the Mentoris Project!`

An update – Thanks for 2600+, Find videos on YouTube, and San Diego Who Con talks announced via TikTok [Video]

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An update – Thanks for 2600+, Find videos on YouTube, and San Diego Who Can talks announced ##doctorwho ##whocon ##screenwriting ##thanks

♬ Doctor Who (Main Theme) – TV Generation

An update - Thanks for 2600+, Find videos on YouTube, and San Diego Who Can talks announced via TikTok [Video]

500+!!!! Also, send your Questions and see complete clips and presentations on my YouTube Channel

@drrosannewelch

500+!!!! Also, send your ##Questions and see complete ##clips and ##presentations on my ##YouTube ##screenwriting ##doctorwho ##history

♬ original sound – Dr. Rosanne Welch


500+!!!! Also, send your Questions and see complete clips and presentations on my YouTube Channel

 


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Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting will be at the 2021 True/False Film Fest, Columbia, Missouri, May 7-9, 2021

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting will be at the 2021 True/False Film Fest, Columbia, MissouriStephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting will be at the 2021 True/False Film Fest, Columbia, Missouri, May 7-9, 2021

The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is hosting a booth at the True/False Film Fest taking place in Stephens Lake Park, Columbia, Missouri this May 7-9th.  

Come out to meet us and find out how to Write – Reach – Represent the stories that need to be told.

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting will be at the 2021 True/False Film Fest, Columbia, Missouri, May 7-9, 2021

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting will be at the 2021 True/False Film Fest, Columbia, Missouri, May 7-9, 2021