New History Book: Wilma Mankiller: A Life in American History by Tamrala Swafford Bliss, Edited by Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier.

New History Book: Wilma Mankiller: A Life in American History by Tamrala Swafford Bliss, Edited by Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier.

Buy at Your Local Bookstore | | Amazon | ABC-CLIO

It’s always wonderful to share the nice news that the next book in the Women Making History series that I’m co-editing with my dear friend and colleague Peg Lamphier has been published by ABC-Clio this month. We want to congratulate author Tamrala Swafford Bliss for all her hard work on the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first female elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. 

We can’t wait to see the next few books in our series come to publication. The book on Delores Huerta was recently handed in, written by a colleague at Mt. San Antonio College, and one of our Stephens College MFA alums is scheduled to have her book on Sally Ride completed next year.

We know (being meant for libraries) that the volumes in this series are higher priced so we can’t ask everyone to buy a copy – but you can alert your local public or school library to their existence and ask that they by a copy for their stacks (or their Kindle offerings). 

Women Making History Series Description

Women Making History is a series of single-volume books that examine the lives and historical impact of the most iconic figures in American Women’s history.

Books in the Women Making History series explore the lives and contributions of important women in American history. Each volume goes beyond biographical details to consider historical context and explicitly discuss the world in which the individual lived and worked, the challenges she faced, and her lasting contributions. This approach allows readers to explore not just the life of a particular woman but also her various political, social, cultural, and historical contexts. In addition to chronological chapters, sidebars, a timeline, document excerpts, and a bibliography, an introductory chapter explores the cultural and historical significance of the individual and places her in the overall historical context, as well as how her actions, beliefs, or positions influenced not only women’s history but history as a whole.

See the entire series on the ABC-CLIO Web Site

New Reviews for American Women’s History on Film written by Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier


American Women’s History on Film, my newest book co-written with my colleague Dr. Peg Lamphier is out now and so some reviews are beginning to roll in. While this review in Booklist (March 2023) is mostly informational it’s always nice to hear that our writing style is “informative and engaging” and that this “makes the book a welcome addition to women’s and film-history collections.” That’s been our hope since being commissioned for the book a few years ago.

Yep, it takes a few years from being commissioned to do the research, do the writing, do the rewriting, do the editing, and then for the publishers to print and distribute the book. Our first book in the series covered Films of the Civil War – with that historical period being Peg’s academic specialty and film being mine. Covering women’s history and film this new book fits perfectly in each of our wheelhouses. 

The icing on the cake for me was the chance to celebrate films I adored in my childhood and that I now have on the viewing list for the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting like: Norma Rae, and Silkwood alongside films written and produced by friends of mine such as On the Basis of Sex (produced by Karen Loop) and Hidden Figures (written by Allison Schroeder).  

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “Son of a Gypsy” episode on the Zilch Podcast’s Monkees 101 Series 

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “Son of a Gypsy” episode on the Zilch Podcast’s Monkees 101 Series 

In my side hobby, I work on the Monkees 101 segment for the Zilch podcast by recording analysis of each individual episode of the show alongside my fellow Dr., Dr. Sarah Clark, a Library Dean in Pennsylvania.

Our latest episode covers ad problematic episode — #16 “Son of a Gypsy” — which aired 12/26/66. In this episode, “The Monkees are forced to steal a priceless statuette called the Maltese Vulture.” While it’s a fun send-up of The Maltese Falcon, it also includes a stereotypical portrayal of Romani people, which Sarah and I address. Part of the fun (and work) or watching classic TV is finding what’s timeless and naming what’s not for the new generation of viewers. On top of that it’s a great exercise in deciding how things could have been handled by more careful consideration during the writing process.

Drs. Rosanne Welch and Sarah Clark discuss The Monkees “Son of a Gypsy” episode on the Zilch Podcast's Monkees 101 Series 

Sarah and Rosanne Welch’s Monkees 101 segment for episode 16 “Son of a Gypsy” which aired 12/26/66

Synopsis “The Monkees are forced to steal a priceless statuette called the Maltese Vulture.”

Songs: “Let’s Dance On,” “I’m a Believer” and Davy does a bit of “Clarksville”.” 

Listen to this episode

Want to learn more about The Monkees? Buy Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture


A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy.

Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.

This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.

Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of the 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In, and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music, and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Rider, and Five Easy Pieces.

McFarland (Direct from Publisher) | Amazon | Kindle Edition | Nook Edition

Want to use “Why The Monkees Matter” in your classroom?

Order Examination Copies, Library and Campus Bookstore orders directly from McFarland

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Anita Loos: An Introduction with Dr. Rosanne Welch, Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting and the Retroformat Silent Film Society [Video]

Anita Loos: An Introduction with Dr. Rosanne Welch, Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting and the Retroformat Silent Film Society [Video]

During each of our Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting we take our MFA candidates on field trips around Los Angeles and this January that included the screening of a silent movie – “The Social Secretary” – hosted at the Historic Women’s Club of Hollywood with a full audience. Many attendees had never watched a film shown from a projector, much less a silent film on such a large screen with live piano accompaniment. The MFA co-sponsored the event with the , a group dedicated to promoting education and enthusiasm about the art of silent film.

I was happy to be asked to deliver this introduction to the work of screenwriter and novelist Anita Loos whose work bridged the worlds of silents – where she was instrumental in creating the swashbuckling character for Douglas Fairbanks – to talkies and screenplays to novels to Broadway plays. Her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes remains a classic, never having gone out of print, and it led to several film versions including the famous one starring Marilyn Monroe. Her book for Gigi helped give the play a successful transition to the well-known film that showcased Leslie Caron.

If you don’t know much about this prolific woman writer, check out my introduction and then go watch some of her films, many of which are on YouTube. Yet the experience of seeing it on the big screen became one of this Workshop’s most appreciated events.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web



…Rosanne Welch. [Applause]

Hello everybody. I am Dr. Rosanne Welch. I run the Stevens College MFA and TV and Screenwriting where we study film with a female gaze.

So we study Anita Loos and so I’m gonna –– we’re here for an hour and a half lecture right?

Very quickly, I just want to make sure people who are here know what we’re talking about. First of all, what we do in our program is we teach the history of screenwriting because in most places they teach you the history of film and that tends to be the history of directors which becomes the history of Great Men. While we love men, women founded Hollywood and need to be remembered.

So I was really pleased when Tom said I have the Anita Loos print and I was like, oh yeah Anita Loos. We study her. We love her and it would be lovely to see it with real live accompaniment. 


I’m gonna say a very quick things about Anita. I want people who don’t know her to know these things. First of all, we have to remember her as the first person to put wit in her title cards and today when someone writes a television or film script, in their action lines they use that technique. They use their own voice. They say funny things. They don’t just say the door opens right? They are still doing something essentially we learn from Anita. So I think that is a reason that she should stay with us. I think it’s also important to remember her as a star maker. She’s the reason you know who Douglas Fairbanks is. He was just the stumblebum actor until she made him a swashbuckler and then he became the Douglas Fairbanks –– the founder of the Academy right? She also –– I’m sure many of you can think about Carol Channing and Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Talk about a character that lived forever in that actress. So I think that’s brilliant for Anita. She was also known for her diligent work ethic. The woman got up at five o’clock and wrote until two or three in the afternoon and then dealt with business ––  that and she would tell people she didn’t work very hard. It wasn’t very hard at all. Think about that. So I think that’s really beautiful. I think it’s important to think about all the literary friends she had. She was friends with Theodore Dreiser , and H.L. Mencken –  these are major names of their day. Interestingly enough her name is still a little more famous than theirs are. So there’s something about her work. Though people made fun of films and film writing clearly she survived where some of their stuff isn’t read that much anymore and also she was a brilliant friend to other women in the business and we know that that’s how everyone who moves up in the world by taking the next person below you and bringing them up right? So she was friends with the young Ruth Gordon. Y’all don’t remember when she was young but she was and Anita was someone who helped her move forward in the business. She was best friends with Helen Hayes who many people remember. So the idea that she understood that sisterhood was the way to help everybody. So those are the reasons that I still admire Anita. I always say that I met her when I was six years old – not the person but in her memoirs and so if you haven’t read A Memoir of hers you should because they’re funny and witty and teach us a lot about this time period and also we’ve written about her in this book which we will have for sale afterward. There you go. I’ll teach Tom how to sell. Which was written by the first inaugural students in our program about seven years ago and there’s a chapter on 25 different famous female screenwriters of that period. So if you’re interested we’ll have some more of those and we’ll talk afterward and we have three of the original authors of chapters right here with me tonight. So with that, I hope that everybody adores if you haven’t met Anita Loos before you will listen to her voice today and laugh. Have a great night.



The new classics: 10 of the best feminist films you need to watch in your lifetime

The new classics: 10 of the best feminist films you need to watch in your lifetime

Recently, I was quite happy when sent this link to a RUSSH website and their article The new classics: 10 of the best feminist films you need to watch in your lifetime.

Why? Because among the 10 they chose are 3 that Peg and I cover in the new book American Women’s History on Film (On the Basis of Sex, Hidden Figures, Confirmation):

Check out the rest in American Women’s History on Film:

Remember, you don’t have to buy the book to read it – you can request that your local library buy a copy that can then be shared with many, many others!

My Reading Vacation over Winter Break

When a semester ends – even before grades are finished and posted – I dive into reading books I’ve been hoarding. While I love to physically travel on a break, one can’t travel across the WHOLE break, so books became my in-chair vacations.

This week I found myself immersed in two books that can best be described as biographies of books as much as they are biographies of writers. I’m not even a huge fan of The Great Gatsby but I found myself fascinated by the idea that Maureen Corrigan based a whole book on “How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures.”  

So for my first trip I visited 1920s New York and the life and (sad) times of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Again, not a fan of the actual Gatsby, but now a big fan of the book about the book. You can’t get much more meta than that.

I followed that up with Imani Perry’s Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (author of the play A Raisin in the Sun).

There I visited 1950s Harlem to find her and her circle of Black poets and writers and activists who truly did change the country through pacifist protests – and art. While most people recognize Hansberry as the author of the play, many don’t know that she also wrote the screenplay for the film. That’s catalogued in yet another book that I had already read: A Raisin in the Sun: The Unfilmed Original Screenplay which has a forward by Spike Lee.

Hope you’re finding some fun books to tuck into over this holiday season. You’ve probably heard about the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod, which translates into “Christmas Book Flood.”

 Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod

The tradition is to give or receive new books on Christmas Eve and then read them late into the night. I’ve always read before bed. It helps me fall asleep so I’m not sure I could read all night long – but I’m more than happy to read all DAY long. THAT’s what I call a vacation.

Rosanne at Shakespeare and Company Booksellers in Vienna, Austria [Photography]

Rosanne at Shakespeare and Company Booksellers in Vienna, Austria  [Photography]

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New Book Available: American Women’s History on Film – Hollywood History Series #2 – Dr. Rosanne Welch and Dr. Peg Lamphier

It never grows old… today the 2nd book in the Hollywood History series that I co-wrote with my dear friend and colleague, Peg Lamphier, arrived on my doorstep. American Women’s History on Film covers 10 films that focus on some area of women’s history, usually through the eyes of a bio-pic since that is mostly the way women’s history is told.

New Book Available: American Women’s History on Film - Hollywood History Series #2

American Women’s History on Film is part of the Hollywood History series from ABC-Clio that included our earlier title The Civil War on Film. What’s been most fun about being part of this project has been the perfect way it split between my and Peg’s specialties. She is a Civil War historian, and my specialty is Screenwriting Studies — together we are both women’s history professors – so each book focused on an area in which one of us had perfect expertise.

Hollywood History Civil War On Film cover

As well, we learned from earlier books that we had to be very specific about the cover art we wanted on each of these books – that it should have a female presence on the Civil War book (since the assumption was they’d choose some photo of male soldiers on a battlefield) so for that book, they gave us a photo including Sally Field playing Mary Todd Lincoln beside Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln. For the current book, we were even more specific and requested women of color – and they gave us this lovely photo from Hidden Figures.

A new review of “When Women Wrote Hollywood”

It’s been 4 years since publication of ‘When Women Wrote Hollywood’, a collection of essays by the inaugural class of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting but reviews continue to arrive in our inbox including this one today:

“WHEN WOMEN WROTE HOLLYWOOD” is a collection of more than 20 essays focusing on the lives of female screenwriters of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Their writings helped create unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences to this 2022 year. Whoever heard of Ida May Park, Eve Unsell, Gene Gauntier, Lillian Hellman, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Anita Loos, let alone what they wrote. Absolutely a must read for the serious Hollywood buff, or student of cinema resolute in finding a career in the motion picture industry.”


Many congratulations to all the writers who contributed to this volume. It is a staple of the History of Screenwriting courses in our Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and at a few other schools as I’ve been told.

Perhaps a sequel is in order…?

21 Examples of the Heroine’s Journey from What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video]

21 Examples of the Heroine's Journey from What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video]


Host: What are the examples of the heroine’s journey? What are some of those the stories that are in the heroine’s journey format template? I’m curious.

Rosanne: Oh I would obviously “The Wizard of Oz” like I said. In a TV world, we claim that for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” right? Very much so about that. The joke becomes you could say “Scooby-Doo” does that. It’s anything that involves a team coming together and so in a fun way that can also be sometimes a male-focused team. If you think about war movies they’re all about a team of people coming together for the betterment of each other. Even though they’re like the most dude movies and you could say the same thing about westerns. If it’s a group of people an Oregon Trail kind of thing or group of men in a town or the sheriff and a couple of his buddies. The heroine in terms of pulling away from being female and then pulling back into it, that tends to happen more often in sort of romantic comedy or something like “The Intern” where she’s trying to figure out how to be a leader of these other men and then she has to realize it’s about the nurturing that I do. That is better than me being more loud and annoying and stuff but I can make a list for you that I can have.

Host: Okay great. Well, I’ll claim “The Wizard of Oz” and “Buffy” as westerns. I think Sunnyvale – Sunnyvale? Is that – I think that’s in California we can call it

Rosanne: it is. That’s true. It is about making the town safe for the new inhabitants.

Host: Right.


The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is building a relationship with the Autry Museum of the American West since both organizations are devoted to bringing out more diverse and untold stories.  Last year we were able to take our cohort of graduating MFA candidates to the museum’s theatre for a showing of Michael Wilson’s Salt of the Earth and we had plans to present a film of our choice this year – but of course the pandemic changed all that.  Instead, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis asked me if I would sit for an interview about female screenwriters in the western genre and so “When Women Wrote Westerns” came to be a part of their “What Is a Western? Interview Series”

I had a great time discussing so many wonderful women writers – from Jeanne MacPherson to D.C. Fontana to Edna Ferber to Emily Andras.  If you love westerns I suggest you watch Josh’s other interviews covering everything from the work of Native Americans in Western movies to films in the western-horror hybrid. — RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

What this entire presentation

As part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the movies shape our understanding of the American West, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Professor Rosanne Welch about the women screenwriters of Hollywood and their contributions to the Western genre.

Find more information at the Autry Museum of the American West