In the early 1900s women could not vote in U.S. federal elections and career opportunities were limited to mainly domestic servant or secretary, and only until she married and then bore children, in that order. Jean Marie Kaley, at age twelve, was not like other women in her family, her sex, her age group, or her lower socioeconomic class, however. She was going to be a ballerina—an American Pavlova, she had decided. But good girls from families such as hers, and from neighborhoods like hers, did not paint their faces, wear risqué costumes, show bare legs and trot themselves across music hall stages before loud, raucous audiences, primarily comprised of men. Despite her father’s harsh objections of his only child becoming one of the bad girls of ballet, and the odds against her succeeding, Jean was determined, and had it not been for a horrible tragedy, she might never have had the opportunity to try.
To be continued . . . .