chapter  Chapter 4
21 Pages

Beyond the Committee Stage

ByElisabeth Israels Perry

This chapter presents a case study of Belle Israels’s. Cleaning up dance halls was Israels’s way of expressing the reform impulse of her age. Like other progressives, she wanted the state to act as a beneficent parent, sheltering the weak and leading the strong to serve society as a whole. Her energy persisted despite heavy domestic load. In 1904, she nearly died delivering her first child. In the summer of 1909, the Israels family moved from Manhattan to Yonkers so that the children could grow up in the country. Belle and Charles bought a home in a new development called Park Hill. Belle’s social service work kept her away from home several days a week during the season, and occasionally for days on end when she attended conventions in other cities. In 1912, the Committee included just the kind of people she had on her Committee on Amusements: lawyers, clerics, social reformers, settlement leaders, a publisher, and several manufacturers.