Women Writers of the Provincetown Players

A Collection of Short Works

Edited by Judith E. Barlow

Subjects: Drama, Women's Studies, American Literature
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438427904, 369 pages, October 2009
Hardcover : 9781438427898, 369 pages, October 2009

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Table of contents

Introduction to Winter's Night
Neith Boyce, Winter's Night
Introduction to The Game
Louise Bryant, The Game
Introduction to The Slave with Two Faces
Mary Carolyn Davies, The Slave with Two Faces
Introduction to The Rib-Person
Rita Wellman, The Rib-Person
Introduction to Woman's Honor
Susan Glaspell, Woman's Honor
Introduction to The Rescue
Rita Creighton Smith, The Rescue
Introduction to The Widow's Veil
Alice L. Rostetter, The Widow's Veil
Introduction to The Baby Carriage
Bosworth Crocker, The Baby Carriage
Introduction to The Squealer
Mary Foster Barber, The Squealer
Introduction to Aria da Capo
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Aria da Capo
Introduction to The Eldest
Edna Ferber, The Eldest
Introduction to Kurzy of the Sea
Djuna Barnes
Appendix: Rita Leo (Rita Wellman), The Horrors of War
Selected Bibliography

Thirteen short plays by women that were originally produced by the Provincetown Players.


Women Writers of the Provincetown Players features thirteen short plays written by women and performed by America's most influential early twentieth-century noncommercial theater, the Provincetown Players. From their beginnings on Cape Cod in 1915 to their disbanding in New York City in 1922, the Players staged nearly one hundred dramas, roughly a third of which were composed by women, and in the process changed American drama and theater forever. Dedicated to fostering new work by Americans, the group attracted an impressive collection of talented writers, and among its offerings were some of the first modernist plays written in the United States.

Chosen for both their artistic merit and their cultural importance, the plays included here range from naturalistic tragedies to poetic allegories to witty satires, and together they provide a valuable look at women's concerns during a period of intense civil rights activity just prior to the granting of female suffrage. In addition to works by well-known writers like Susan Glaspell, Djuna Barnes, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, the book also includes works by such significant but lesser-known figures as Neith Boyce, Louise Bryant, Rita McCann Wellman, and Alice Rostetter, as well as critical-biographical prefaces to each play and an introduction that explains the importance of these plays and the role of early twentieth-century women playwrights in American theater history.

Judith E. Barlow is Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University at Albany–SUNY. Her books include Plays by American Women: 1900–1930; Plays by American Women: 1930–1960; and Final Acts: The Creation of Three Late O'Neill Plays.


"Barlow's collection introduces readers to fascinating plays from a rich and important historical era. " — J. Ellen Gainor, author of Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theater, Culture, and Politics, 1915–48

"These are plays that we have been reading about for years; it is exciting to experience the actual texts and make one's own judgment. " — Carol DeBoer-Langworthy, editor of The Modern World of Neith Boyce: Autobiography and Diaries