Through extensive, original archival research, Independent Stardom uncovers this hidden history of women’s labor and celebrity in studio-era Hollywood. Carman weaves a compelling narrative that reveals the risks these women took in deciding to work autonomously. Additionally, she looks at actresses of color, such as Anna May Wong and Lupe Vélez, whose careers suffered from the enforced independence that resulted from being denied long-term studio contracts. Tracing the freelance phenomenon among American motion picture talent in the 1930s, Independent Stardom rethinks standard histories of Hollywood to recognize female stars as creative artists, sophisticated businesswomen, and active players in the then (as now) male-dominated film industry.
This encyclopedia is organized into four chronological volumes, with each volume further divided into three sections. Each section features an overview essay and thematic essay as well as detailed entries on topics ranging from Lady Gaga to Ladybird Johnson, Lucy Stone, and Lucille Ball, and from the International Ladies of Rhythm to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The set also includes a vast variety of primary documents, such as personal letters, public papers, newspaper articles, recipes, and more. These primary documents enhance users' learning opportunities and enable readers to better connect with the subject matter.
The A–Z entries address key individuals, events, organizations, and legislation related to themes such as industry, consumer and medical technology, military technology, computer technology, and space science, among others, enabling readers to understand how specific inventions, technological systems, individuals, and events influenced the history, cultural development, and even self-identity of the United States and its people. The information also spotlights how American culture, the U.S. government, and American society have specifically influenced technological development.