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City of Clerks: Office and Sales Workers in Philadelphia, 1870-1920
by Jerome P. Bjelopera
University of Illinois Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-252-02977-6 | Paper: 978-0-252-07227-7 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09055-4
Library of Congress Classification HD8039.M4U5325 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 331.761651370975

Below the middle class managers and professionals yet above the skilled blue-collar workers, sales and office workers occupied an intermediate position in urban America's social structure during the age of smokestacks. Bjelopera traces the shifting occupational structures and work choices that facilitated the emergence of a white-collar workforce.  He paints a fascinating picture of the lives led by Philadelphia's male and female clerks, both inside and outside the workplace, as they formed their own clubs, affirmed their "whiteness," and even challenged sexual norms. By mapping the relationship between these workers' self-expectations and the shifting demands of their employers, City of Clerks reveals how the notion of "white collar" shifted over half a century.

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