History ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-12-2017


Not Your Mother’s PTA: Women’s Political Activism in Twentieth-Century America provides the first in-depth study of women’s political activism in the National PTA and its local PTA units. It closely examines how women integrated themselves and their ideas on women’s and children’s welfare reform into government from the 1890s through the 1970s. This project explores the resources, strategies, and methods used by PTA women working for women and children’s interests at the local and national level, primarily in public schools and government agencies. Not Your Mother’s PTA challenges the subtext of the PTA mother/housewife and shows how women used the language and identity of motherhood and later parenthood to expand women’s role in government, increase women’s political activism, and its ability to sustain a Progressive-era, female-led maternalist organization in the face of transformative social, economic, and racial changes in the twentieth century.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Nickerson

Third Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Sandoval-Strausz

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Virginia Scharff

Fifth Committee Member

Dr. Jason Scott Smith




parent-teacher association, public education, women's politics, public schools, community organization

Document Type


Available for download on Wednesday, July 31, 2019