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, editedby 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
Why did African Americans move from the rural South to the metropolitan North? Scholars have shown that African Americans took part in the urbanization of American society between the Civil War and the Great Depression, but the racial dimensions of their migration have remained unclear. A Little More Freedom is the first study to trace African American locational choices during the crucial period when migrants created pathways that would shape mobility through the twentieth century and beyond.This book identifies an "age of the village" for black Midwesterners, when Civil War and postwar migrants distributed themselves evenly across the urban hierarchies of the region. Using four case studies of Washington Court House, Ohio; Springfield, Ohio; Springfield, Illinois; and Muncie, Indiana, Blocker shows what life was like for African Americans in small towns and small cities, thus illuminating the reasons why most blacks ultimately chose to leave such places in favor of metropolitan centers such as Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cleveland. Previous scholars have emphasized the role of racist white violence as the catalyst, but A Little More Freedom takes a more nuanced approach.Emphasis upon racist violence and Jim Crow has inadvertently tended to portray African Americans as victims and their migrations as flight from danger and oppression. While not downplaying white racism, A Little More Freedom tries to recreate the threats and opportunities in urban places of different sizes as seen through the eyes of migrants.