Friday, December 13, 2013

Helen Holmes and the First Female Action Heroes

I have a couple of new pieces out right now about the heroines of the silent movie serials of the 1910s. I'm excited to have them out, because these performers were an amazing group of women who created characters that deserved to be remembered.

In the new issue of MENTAL FLOSS you can find my profile of the fearless Helen Holmes. She wasn't the first or the biggest of the serial queens, but for my money she was the most radical. In the years before women got the vote, Helen produced an image of a strong working-class woman who could rise to any challenge. The issue is available on newsstands and better bookstores now. The article is called "The Girl At The Switch" and is located on page 32. 

Over at you can find my overview of the silent serial queens. I talk about Holmes along with Helen Gibson, Ruth Roland, Mary Fuller, and Pearl White. You can find that here.  


xcziel said...

I'm linking this post to Tumblr because I think the article would really appeal to Tumblr users (female action heroes FTW!), but I think it's sad that I can't find any way to link the actual article itself, as few will be likely (or able, internationally) to go out and buy a print edition and evidently the online version of the magazine is locked inside a subscription service that I suspect few will be willing to sign up for, especially as it's closed to anyone under the age of 18. (really, mental floss?)

Any chance of a reprise of this content in a more accessible format? (besides just looking up the sources you mention independently, I mean) I admit, it's weird to me to find unlinkable content in this day and age.

Jake Hinkson said...

Thanks for the comment and the link! I do wish the material was available online. Hopefully, down the road Mental Floss will release it that way, but at this point it's up to them. We'll see.

sf27shirley said...

I am Helen's great-granddaughter and gave Jake a little research assistance for his article. If you aren't able to get hold of the magazine/article, and want to read more about Helen Holmes, I wrote a short bio of her for the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in 2012. I'm not too savvy with social media sites, but if you can figure out a way for me to send you that bio, i would be happy to do it.