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The Precipice

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By: (1862-1935)

Elia Peattie was an outspoken journalist and social activist who gave her attention to such areas as orphanages, charity hospitals, the Wounded Knee massacre, capital punishment, and the like.

The Precipice is partially based on the life of her close friend Katherine Ostrander, a social work pioneer, and tells of the evolution of Kate Barrington after her college years and with it the evolution of society as a whole and women in particular in pre-World War I America. Friendship, romance, betrayal, searchings of the soul, dreams, and shattered hopes -- all the stuff of life -- bring Kate to full realization of her true self. (Introduction by Mary Schneider)

First Page:


A Novel





The Riverside Press Cambridge


A fanfare of trumpets is blowing to which women the world over are listening. They listen even against their wills, and not all of them answer, though all are disturbed. Shut their ears to it as they will, they cannot wholly keep out the clamor of those trumpets, but whether in thrall to love or to religion, to custom or to old ideals of self obliterating duty, they are stirred. They move in their sleep, or spring to action, and they present to the world a new problem, a new force or a new menace ....



It was all over. Kate Barrington had her degree and her graduating honors; the banquets and breakfasts, the little intimate farewell gatherings, and the stirring convocation were through with. So now she was going home.

With such reluctance had the Chicago spring drawn to a close that, even in June, the campus looked poorly equipped for summer, and it was a pleasure, as she told her friend Lena Vroom, who had come with her to the station to see her off, to think how much further everything would be advanced "down state... Continue reading book >>

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