ABOUT THIS BOOK
Hemmed in by "women's work" much less than has been thought,
women in the late 1800s and early 1900s were the primary entrepreneurs
in the millinery and dressmaking trades.
The Female Economy explores that lost world of women's dominance,
showing how independent, often ambitious businesswomen and the sometimes
imperious consumers they served gradually vanished from the scene as custom
production gave way to a largely unskilled modern garment industry controlled
by men. Wendy Gamber helps overturn the portrait of wage-earning women
as docile souls who would find fulfillment only in marriage and motherhood.
She combines labor history, women's history, business history, and the
history of technology while exploring topics as wide-ranging as the history
of pattern-making and the relationship between entrepreneurship and marriage.
A volume in the series The Working Class in American History, edited
by David Brody, Alice Kessler-Harris, David Montgomery, and Sean Wilentz,
and in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott,
Nancy A. Hewitt, and Stephanie Shaw