Great Aunt Mabel

Production Year: 
Mabel Gilmore Reinecke

Digging through a box of old family photographs, filmmaker H. James Gilmore found a faded envelope containing newspaper clippings, pictures and memorabilia of his great aunt: Mabel G. Reinecke of Chicago. Although she died before Gilmore was born, it turns out Mabel was a pioneer-- and a groundbreaking woman of "firsts." At the age of 18 she organized the Women's Progressive Republican League. After passage of the women's suffrage amendment, she visited every state west of the Mississippi to organize new voters. She was the first woman ever to receive a presidential commission and to occupy a federal executive position. In fact, she was the highest paid woman in federal service. But her life was also filled with challenge, disappointment and addiction, and after she died her legacy was largely forgotten. 
As Gilmore pieced together the amazing story of her life, he discovered articles, additional photographs and even a rare clip of newsreel film.

This documentary short, created entirely of found-footage, is dedicated to Aunt Mabel and the forgotten stories of long-lost women everywhere.

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