Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Jonathan Barron, Ph.D.

Advisor Department



My thesis explores the typewriter’s impact on early 20th century American literature. By providing authors with the means to produce work accurately and effectively, the typewriter changed the process of writing. Typewriters also created job opportunities for women, who often served as typists. The typist became the foothold position that changed America’s perception of women in the work force and helped usher in a new social concept, “the New Woman.” To illustrate my claim, I show how the typewriter allowed poets like E. E. Cummings to experiment with spacing. Cummings made the typewriter’s standardization of text and spacing into a revolutionary technique for poetry. After Cummings, poetry was no longer just the text; the form that the text took created new meanings. In short, I show that the typewriter revolutionized American literature; it made literary production easier and enabled the production of standardized texts.