New publication: The Woman Who Dared The Life and Times of Pearl White, Queen of the Serials
Coming March 7, 2023: The Woman Who Dared: The Life and Times of Pearl White, Queen of the Serials by William M. Drew.
From the University Press of Kentucky website:
In the early days of motion pictures—before superstars, before studio conglomerates, before even the advent of sound—there was a woman named Pearl White (1889–1938). A quintessential beauty of the time, with her perfectly tousled bob and come-hither stare, White’s rise to stardom was swift; her assumption of the title of queen of American motion picture serials equally deserved.
Born the youngest of five children in a small, rural Missouri farm town, White first began performing in high school. She would eventually make the decision to cut her education short, dropping out to go on the Trousdale Stock Company. A bit player in the early years of her career, she was eventually spotted by the Powers Film Company in New York. She made her film debut in 1910 and soon set herself apart from her female colleagues with her reputation for fearless performances that often involved her own stunt work.
It was that same daring attitude that would put her on the map internationally as an actress. From flying airplanes to swimming across rapid rivers, to racing cars in serials like The Perils of Pauline (1914), White was undaunted by the demands of her onscreen career. She went on to star in popular serial classics such as The New Exploits of Elaine (1915), The Iron Claw (1916), The Fatal Ring (1917), and The Lightning Raider (1919). As active socially as she was professionally, White would also lend her audacious spirit to activism as she took part in the early feminist movement. Her bravery and mastery of her craft made her a positive role model for suffragettes who battled for women’s rights in the United States.
The Woman Who Dared: The Life and Times of Pearl White, Queen of the Serials, is the first full-length biography of this pioneering star. In this study of film history and female agency, Drew delves into the cultural impact of White’s work and how it evolved along a concurrent trajectory with the social upheavals of the Progressive Era.