The Weekly Outlook: featuring Miss Susie Glaspell

The July 25, 1896 issue begins to get more titillating as Banks’ POINTS OF VIEW segment berates the condition of the Scott County Jail, calling it an “abomination”, and stating it is “alive with vermin, many of these large enough to kick a stone out of the falling walls when they are irritated.”

A detailed review of a recent Watch Tower Opera Company performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado includes a backhanded compliment to tenor Harry Davis who was described as “a clever actor when he is singing, but his speeches were delivered in a listless way that should be corrected at once”.  Ouch.  So much for MUSIC AND THE DRAMA this week!

WHEEL LIFE includes a poem by Charles Eugene Banks entitled “A Morning Spin” and more talk of a cycling club but concerns regarding keeping men and women separated.  The opinion expressed in the  Outlook appears to lean toward a unisex club;  “The man who is afraid to have a woman peep into his club life must be doing things there that are against morality and good breeding.”

SOCIAL LIFE has now grown to include “Socialettes” about a variety of lovely lawn fetes as well as the Denkmann family entertaining 160 people for lunch and dancing on their steamer last Wednesday and the “In and Out of Town” section which keeps us apprised of who is where and with whom. This segment of the newspaper is the responsibility of Miss Susie Glaspell.

Susan Keating Glaspell  graduated from Davenport High School just two years prior to obtaining her position as society editor of the Weekly Outlook. Her social “news” morphs from somewhat pithy stories regarding prominent locals to Glaspell essays that use the space to stretch her literary wings, sometimes faltering but other times with success. She still included the “Socialettes“ and ”In and Out of Town” sections, but they became less the focus as she began to try tongue-in-cheek approaches to her columns, at one point editorialized that “being in society was all very nice, but it had its penalties, and mighty severe penalties they were”.

No doubt the elite of Davenport relished each issue of this magazine, wondering if they would be included in some manner and how their activities would be related by Miss Glaspell. Would they receive one line? A brief paragraph? Would their Club get a thumbs up or down on their decorations and choice of refreshment?

Glaspell left the Weekly Outlook to enter Drake University in Des Moines in the fall of 1897, quite unusual for a young woman in the 1890’s. Ironically her future husband, George Cram Cook was co-authoring a drama with her Outlook boss, Charles Eugene Banks, called In Hampton Roads at this same point in time. Did Banks ever introduce them? Probably, but their relationship would not become the subject of the society page for some time yet.

(posted by Karen)

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