Women's Work? American Schoolteachers, 1650-1920
by Joel Perlmann and Robert A. Margo
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-226-66039-4 | Electronic: 978-0-226-66041-7
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

American schoolteaching is one of few occupations to have undergone a thorough gender shift yet previous explanations have neglected a key feature of the transition: its regional character. By the early 1800s, far higher proportions of women were teaching in the Northeast than in the South, and this regional difference was reproduced as settlers moved West before the Civil War. What explains the creation of these divergent regional arrangements in the East, their recreation in the West, and their eventual disappearance by the next century?

In Women's Work the authors blend newly available quantitative evidence with historical narrative to show that distinctive regional school structures and related cultural patterns account for the initial regional difference, while a growing recognition that women could handle the work after they temporarily replaced men during the Civil War helps explain this widespread shift to female teachers later in the century. Yet despite this shift, a significant gender gap in pay and positions remained. This book offers an original and thought-provoking account of a remarkable historical transition.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Joel Perlmann is a senior scholar at the Jerome Levy Economics Institute of Bard College and Levy Institute Research Professor at the College. He is the author of Ethnic Differences: Schooling and Social Structure among the Irish, Italians, and Blacks in an American City, 1880-1935.

Robert A. Margo is a professor of economics at Vanderbilt University and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is the author, most recently, of Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860, published by the University of Chicago Press.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

Introduction

1. New England: The First Two Centuries

2. South versus North

3. Migrations

4. Explaining Feminization

5. Labor Market Outcomes in Urban Schools: The Role of Gender

Conclusion

Appendixes

Index