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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

She Devils at the Door

The true story of the Gilded Age’s “political twins” who brought women’s suffrage and political reform to the city of Pittsburgh.

Sometimes troublemakers emerge from the most unlikely of places. This true story follows the lives of two daughters of the Gilded Age—Lucy and Eliza Kennedy—who were educated at Vassar College and became leaders of the suffrage movement. Then, after the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, they spent the next forty years fighting corruption in politics and government.

Tenacious, smart, and witty, they captivated crowds, disarmed their opponents, and instilled particular dread among the corrupt politicians who were the unfortunate targets of their nonpartisan crusade. Their entry across the threshold of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building would reportedly invoke a flurry of hushed warnings through the halls: “The She Devils are at the door!” Together, Lucy and Eliza fought for the vote, empowered women to use it wisely, forced a mayor out of office in disgrace, took control of the city budget, exposed a series of scandals, spearheaded police reform, and launched a campaign that would eventually clear Pittsburgh of its smoky veil.

Featuring the true story of two powerful women, this book comes at a propitious time, reminding us how far women have come and how vigilant we must remain.

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"One of the greatest stories of the American 19th and 20th centuries is that of the long, heroic struggle for women's suffrage. It began in the middle of the 1800s and lasted until after World War I, and it involved thousands of women, and some men, in a fierce and relentless fight for the right of women to vote. The Pittsburgh chapter of this great story stars the two Kennedy sisters, Lucy and Eliza, who fought for the vote and later for good government and better public education in Pittsburgh. And they fought with a ferocity and dedication and passion that was matched only by the sophistication of their intelligence. Their story is told in rich detail by Pittsburgh writer and nonprofit leader Eliza Smith Brown, who mines voluminous family records to shape this compelling story of her forebears. This book is an homage to those, like the Kennedy sisters, who fought so heroically for their rights; and it is a compelling history of the exciting Pittsburgh era in which they lived."

Maxwell King

"This is an amazing slice of American history shaped by formidable women!"

Susan Nagel

"Eliza Brown’s She Devils at the Door is the fascinating and untold story of how two sisters, Lucy and Eliza—respectable and educated 'society girls'—not only pioneered the fight for women's suffrage more than a century ago, but helped reform waste and corruption in city government. This book is a valuable and enlightening history told dramatically and with unforgettable intimacy by Eliza’s granddaughter. No one else could tell this story better with masterful authority and endearing affection."

Lee Gutkind, Founder and Editor, Creative Nonfiction

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