Looking through the lens of black business history, Beauty Shop Politics shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. Tiffany M. Gill argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly frivolous space of a beauty salon actually has stimulated social, political, and economic change.
From the founding of the National Negro Business League in 1900 and onward, African Americans have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit by starting their own businesses, but black women's forays into the business world were overshadowed by those of black men. With a broad scope that encompasses the role of gossip in salons, ethnic beauty products, and the social meanings of African American hair textures, Gill shows how African American beauty entrepreneurs built and sustained a vibrant culture of activism in beauty salons and schools. Enhanced by lucid portrayals of black beauticians and drawing on archival research and oral histories, Beauty Shop Politics conveys the everyday operations and rich culture of black beauty salons as well as their role in building community.
Struggling to survive in post–World War II Germany, Beate Uhse (1919–2001)—a former Luftwaffe pilot, war widow, and young mother—turned to selling goods on the black market. A self-penned guide to the rhythm method found eager buyers and started Uhse on her path to becoming the world’s largest erotica entrepreneur. Battling restrictive legislation, powerful churches, and conservative social mores, she built a mail-order business in the 1950s that sold condoms, sex aids, self-help books, and more. The following decades brought the world’s first erotica shop, the legalization of pornography, the expansion of her business into eastern Germany, and web-based commerce.
Uhse was only one of many erotica entrepreneurs who played a role in the social and sexual revolution accompanying Germany’s transition from Nazism to liberal democracy. Tracing the activities of entrepreneurs, customers, government officials, and citizen-activists, Before Porn Was Legal brings to light the profound social, legal, and cultural changes that attended the growth of the erotica sector. Heineman’s innovative readings of governmental and industry records, oral histories, and the erotica industry’s products uncover the roots of today’s sexual marketplace and reveal the indelible ways in which sexual expression and consumption have become intertwined.
From lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff, to corporate executives, like Enron's Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, recent scandals dealing with politics and government have focused only on men at the top. But do these high-profile men accurately represent the gendered make up of corporate-government in the United States?
In this first in-depth look at the changing face of corporate lobbying, Denise Benoit shows how women who have historically worked mostly in policy areas relating to "women's issues" such as welfare, family, and health have become increasingly influential as corporate lobbyists, specializing in what used to be considered "masculine" policy, such as taxes and defense. Benoit finds that this new crop of female lobbyists mobilize both masculinity and femininity in ways that create and maintain trusting, open, and strong relations with those in government, and at the same time help corporations to save and earn billions of dollars.
While the media focuses on the dubious behaviors of men at the top of business and government, this book shows that female corporate lobbyists are indeed one of the best kept secrets in Washington.
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
Investigating Mary Ellen Pleasant's convoluted legacy
Mary Ellen Pleasant arrived in Gold Rush-era San Francisco a free black woman with abolitionist convictions and a predilection for entrepreneurial success. Behind the convenient and trusted disguise of "Mammy," she transformed domestic labor into enterprise, amassed remarkable real estate, wealth, and power, and gained notoriety for her work in fighting Jim Crow.
Pleasant's legacy is steeped in scandals and lore. Was she a voodoo queen who traded in sexual secrets? A madam? A murderer? In The Making of "Mammy Pleasant," Lynn M. Hudson examines the folklore of Pleasant's real and imagined powers. Emphasizing the significance of her life in the context of how it has been interpreted or ignored in the larger trends of American history, Hudson integrates fact and speculation culled from periodicals, court cases, diaries, letters, Pleasant's interviews with the San Francisco press, and various biographical and fictional accounts.
Addressing the lack of a historical record of black women's lives, the author argues that the silences and mysteries of Pleasant's past, whether never recorded or intentionally omitted, reveal as much about her life as what has been documented. Through Pleasant's life, Hudson also interrogates the constructions of race, gender, and sexuality during the formative years of California's economy and challenges popular mythology about the liberatory sexual culture of the American West.
This volume makes available for the first time in English a variety of primary source materials relating to the life and work of Natalia Shelikov, a pioneering nineteenth-century Russian-American businesswoman. As a principal of the Russian-American Company, Shelikov worked in Alaska, and her business acumen and wide-ranging connections—including the empress of Russia and a swathe of northern leaders—were crucial to the growth of Alaska’s economy, as well as to the welfare of the Native people, in whose life and culture she took a strong interest. The letters, petitions, and personal documents presented here will be indispensable for students of Alaska and nineteenth-century women’s history.
This young adult biography introduces middle school readers to a remarkable woman who founded the Women’s Army Corps, served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and ran a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations.
Winner, Gold Medal for Biography, Military Writers Society of America, 2015
Oveta Culp Hobby (1905–1995) had a lifetime of stellar achievement. During World War II, she was asked to build a women’s army from scratch—and did. Hobby became Director of the Women’s Army Corps and the first Army woman to earn the rank of colonel. President Eisenhower chose her as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, making her the second woman in history to be appointed to a president’s cabinet. When she wasn’t serving in the government, Hobby worked with her husband, former Texas governor William P. Hobby, to lead a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations. She also supported the Houston community in many ways, from advocating for civil rights for African Americans to donating generously to the Houston Symphony and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Oveta Culp Hobby is the first biography of this important woman. Written for middle school readers, it traces her life from her childhood in Killeen to her remarkable achievements in Washington, DC, and Houston. Debra Winegarten provides the background to help young adult readers understand the times in which Hobby lived and the challenges she faced as a woman in nontraditional jobs. She shows how Hobby opened doors for women to serve in the military and in other professions that still benefit women today. Most of all, Oveta Culp Hobby will inspire young adults to follow their own dreams and turn them into tangible reality.
These poems give voice to the life of the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound. While Jacqueline Cochran was alive, no man or woman in the world could match her records for speed, distance, and altitude flying. Founder and director of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II, Cochran continued to fly competitively until she was sixty, owned and operated her own line of designer cosmetics for three decades, ran for Congress, and generally placed herself on the path of history. Having begun life as a foundling in the crushing poverty of a lumber company town of the Florida panhandle, she described her life as “a passage from sawdust to stardust.” Yet after her death she has barely been remembered.
Poet Enid Shomer brings back this mercurial, dazzling, powerful woman. These poems speak in her voice and in the voices of her mother, teachers, husband, confidants, and political opponents, shaped by Shomer’s consummate formal control and stunning lyricism.
In her introduction to the novel, Charlotte J. Rich highlights Gilman’s engagement with such hotly debated Progressive Era issues as the “servant question,” the rise of domestic science, and middle-class efforts to protect and aid the working girl. She illuminates the novel’s connections to Gilman’s other feminist works, including “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and Herland; to her personal life; and to her commitment to women’s social and economic freedom. Rich contends that the novel’s engagement with class and race makes it particularly significant to the newly complex understanding of Gilman that has emerged in recent scholarship. What Diantha Did provides essential insight into Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s important legacy of social thought.
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