The Female Economy: The Millinery and Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 1997 - Business & Economics - 300 pages
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

 

Contents

Fashion and Independence Dressmakers and Milliners in the Antebellum City
9
The Female Economy Proprietors Workers and Consumers ca 18601910
23
A Precarious Independence Female Proprietors in Gilded Age Boston
25
The Female Aristocracy of Labor Workers in the Trades 18601917
55
The Social Relations of Consumption Producers and Consumers in the Era of Custom Production
96
Gendered Transformations Toward Mass Production 18601930
125
A Feminine Skill Work Technology and the Sexual Division of Labor in the Dressmaking Trade 18601920
127
Commerce over Craft Wholesalers and Retailers in the Millinery Trade 18601930
157
Engendering Change The Department Store and the Factory 18901930
190
Conclusion
229
Appendix
233
Essay on Primary Sources
235
Notes
239
Bibliography
275
Index
293
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Wendy Gamber is a member of the Department of History at Indiana University, Bloomington.