The Feminist

In the biography "Floyd Dell - The Life and Times of An American Rebel" author Douglas Clayton wrote: "In scattered essays and reviews--and a series of articles in 1912--Dell established a reputation as a vociferous champion of the Woman's Movement. In 1972 Fanny Butcher wagered that Dell "would have been patron saint to today's Women's Liberation for the series of articles he wrote about the Free Woman . . . Floyd's articles caused a terrific uproar, especially those in which he advocated sexual freedom for women."

Dell was fascinated by feminism and the ways in which it was changing the world . . . In a series of front-page articles in the summer of 1912 he provided portraits of american and European leaders of the suffrage movement. In the spring of 1913, the essays were collected in a book titled Women as World Builders. The portraits themselves --of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Addams, Olive Schreiner, Isadora Duncan, Beatrice Webb, Emma Goldman, Margaret Dreier Robins, Ellen Key, and Dora Marsden--introduced the works and ideas of these women to an uninformed audience.

"Women as World Builders was written in an experimental spirit, and it managed to introduce feminism to a large number of readers. A reviewer for the New York Times called the book "provocative" and "well worth the reading of any one who wants to have his ideas on this subject well raked over and stirred up." Elia Peattie of the Chicago Tribute described it as "an exhilarating book, daring of youth, and as heartening to the women actors in this new vivid drama of unknown documents as the applause of many hands in a darkened theater." Even a number of feminists praised Dell for having done feminism a public service. Frances Maule Bjorkman, of the National American women Suffrage Association, wrote Dell while the series was running in the Friday Literary Review during the summer of 1912: "Your have to me a quite unique quality. Psychological analysis in connection with the woman movement being very rare. I hope you will do some more along this line."