february, 2023

14feb6:00 pm- 7:00 pmConversations from the Cullman Center: Inventing the It Girl (Hilary A. Hallett with Alice Kessler-Harris)

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

Location: Margaret Liebman Berger Forum, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street New York, NY 10018

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EST

Register here for in-person attendance and here for remote livestream attendance.

This Valentine’s Day, discover the story behind the modern romance novel and its connection to the life of celebrity author Elinor Glyn. From rose petals and silken lingerie to smoldering looks and lingering caresses, Elinor Glyn’s work in fiction and film laid the foundations for much of modern romance on the page and the screen. Her scandalous, sexually charged 1907 novel, Three Weeks, was simultaneously a bestseller and one of the most denounced books of its time. Working in early Hollywood films, she coined the term “It Girl” and turned actor Clara Bow into a symbol of America’s first sexual revolution.

Hilary A. Hallett’s biography, Inventing the It Girl: How Elinor Glyn Created the Modern Romance and Conquered Early Hollywood, traces Glyn’s sensational life. She wrote it during her 2016–2017 Fellowship at the Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. She will be discussing the book with historian Alice Kessler-Harris.

Hilary A. Hallett is the Mendelson Family Professor and director of American Studies and Associate Professor of History at Columbia University. She is also the author of Go West, Young Women! The Rise of Early Hollywood, and has written for the Los Angeles Times.

Alice Kessler-Harris is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor Emerita of American History at Columbia University and Professor Emerita at Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She is the author of many books, most recently A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman.


(Tuesday) 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street New York, NY 10018