Women held more positions of power in the silent film era than at any other time in American motion picture history. Marion Leonard broke from acting to cofound a feature film company. Gene Gauntier, the face of Kalem Films, also wrote the first script of Ben-Hur. Helen Holmes choreographed her own breathtaking on-camera stunt work. Yet they and the other pioneering filmmaking women vanished from memory.
Using individual careers as a point of departure, Jane M. Gaines charts how women first fell out of the limelight and then out of the film history itself. A more perplexing event cemented their obscurity: the failure of 1970s feminist historiography to rediscover them. Gaines examines how it happened against a backdrop of feminist theory and her own meditation on the limits that historiography imposes on scholars. A bold journey through history and memory, Pink-Slipped pursues the still-elusive fate of the influential women in the early years of film.
Written by Jane M. Gaines. Published by University of Illinois Press in 2018. Paperback, measures 10 x 7 inches, 328 pages. ISBN 9780252083433