Women & Work in America Text Suggestions

Query From Stephanie Pilachowski stephanie m. pilachowski@juno.com 26 Jan 1998

I am working on updating a course entitled "Women & Work: the American Experience" and I am looking for ideas for books to use for the course. (It's a 300 level course.) In the past I have used such books as Alice Kessler-Harris, *Out to Work*; Jacqueline Jones, *Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow*; Julia Cherry Spruill, *Women's Life & Work in the Southern Colonies*; and Leslie Tentler Woodcock, *Wage-Earning Women*. I"ve never really found the right book for the modern period and would be especially open to ideas for that era. Thanks.


Anderson, Karen _Changing Women_

Braxadal, Rosalyn Fraad, Ed. _America's Working Women: A Documentary History, 1600 to the Present

Higonnet, Margaret Randolph, Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel, Margaret Collins Weitz, Eds. _Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars_(Yale U Press, 1987) See sections on Employment, women; and Childcare

Oakley, Ann _Woman's Work: The Housewife, Past and Present_(Random House, 1974)

Rothman, Sheila M. _Woman's Proper Place_(Basic Books,Inc., 1978)

Ruiz, Vicki _Cannery Women, Cannery Lives_

Shaw, Stephanie _What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers in the Jim Crow Era_

Stansell, Christine _City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860_

Tucker, Susan _Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South_ (Schocken, NY, 1988)

Van Vorst, Mrs. John (Marie) _The Woman Who Toils_(Doubleday, 1903)

Sheila M. Rothman's _Woman's Proper Place_(Basic Books, 1978)...the last chapter

Susan Tucker's _Telling Memories Among Southern women: Domestic Workers and their Employers in the Segregated South_(Schocken, 1988)

Ann Oakley's _Woman's Work: The Housewife, Past and Present_(Random House, 1974)

Higonnet, Margaret Randolph, et al, Eds. _Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars_(Yale U Press,1987).see sections on Employment, women

and for a very old look at factory workers in clothing and cotton mills see
_The Woman Who Toils_ by Mrs. John (Marie) Van Vorst (Doubleday, 1903)

Query From JoAnne Thomas x93thomas2@wmich.edu 12 June 1997

This fall I will be teaching a "Women and Work" course on United States women and their experience with various forms of paid and unpaid work. This is the first time I have taught this course. It is a junior-level survey, stretching from colonial America through the twentieth century. For the backbone of the readings I want to pair a general women's history text with a synthesis on women and work. I will also assign some article-length readings.

While there are several good general texts that I could use for context, I'm not having much luck finding a recently published "women and work" overview. Most of what I've found are around ten years old. That leaves about 15 years uncovered. One suggestion I've received is to divide the students into groups and have each group responsible for updating a topic discussed in the text. I think that could work, but I'd rather have more up-to-date readings, either a newer text or suggestions for supplemental materials. What have others on the list done for similar classes? I am fairly new at teaching and most of my experience/training has been in a much earlier time-frame. I appreciate your sharing your experience with me.


From Katherine C Larson kcl@hopper.unh.edu 13 June 1997

I would suggest taking a look at Teresa L. Amott and Julie A. Matthaei, _Race, Gender & Work: A Multicultural Economics History of Women in the United States__(South End Press,1991); Carol Groneman and Mary Beth Norton, _To Toil the Live Long Day: America's Women At Work, 1780-1980_(1987); Moynihan, Russett, and Crumpacker, _Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women, Vols. I and II_(1993). This selection contains a wealth of primary material covering the early and modern period of women's paid and unpaid labor contribution, and also covers race and class perspectives as well; Ruth Cowan's latest work; Statham, Miller and Manksch, _The Worth of Women's Work; and I would not discount some texts because they are 10 years or older. _Unequal Colleagues_ by Glazer and Slater; _Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow_ by Jacqueline Jones; _Women, Work and Protest_ by Ruth Milkman; as well as work by Cott, Dovdston, and Diewett would be appropriate as well. I'm sure you could find a couple of films to show...(like good old Rosie the Riveter!).

From Dolores Janiewski dolores.janiewski@vuw.ac.nz 13 June 1997

...for primary sources look for the second edition of _America's Working Women_ by Roslyn Baxandall, Linda Gordon and Susan Reverby; or for articles about gender and work, _Work Engendered: Toward a New History of American Labor_, Ava Barton, Ed.(Ithaca/London;Cornell U Press, 1991) which, of course, includes articles about men.

From Ann Wentworth awentworth@sescva.esc.edu 13 June 1997

...The introductory chapters in Mary Romero's _Maid in the USA_(Routledge, 1992) has useful material on the history of paid/unpaid work and "double day" aspect. I have used [this] successfully in 300-level survey course.

From Jeff Haydu jhaydu@ucsd.edu 13 June 1997
(X-Posted from H-Labor)

Just out from Roxbury (1997) is an anthology edited by Dana Dunn, _workplace/Women's Place_. It's much stronger on contemporary social psych and sociological perspectives than on historical ones, but for that "last 15 years"...it might be appropriate

From Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1@osu.edu 13 June 1997
(X-post from H-Labor)

I recommend _Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women's History_, Ellen Carol DuBois and Vicki L. Ruiz, Ed. (NY; Routledge, 1990)

[P.S.] I might add that in the recent H-EH review of _The Coverage of

Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in U.S. Economic History Texts_ by Akira Motomura and Panel Nickless, which was x-posted to H-Labor, the authors pointed out the work [recommended below] as a recent key work.

I just saw an ad for a new book on sex and politics in labor unions, which I think might be useful to JoAnne Thomas..._Strife: Sex and Politics in Labour Unions_, Barbara Pocock, Ed.(Allen & Unwin, 1997).

From Priscilla Ferguson Clement p4c@psu.edu 13 June 1997

I recommend _Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women_ by Claudia Goldin.

From Jennifer Guglielmo jennifer.m.guglielmo-2@tc.umn.edu 18 June 1997

Atlagracia Ortiz, Ed. _Puerto Rican Women and Work: Bridges in Transnational Labor_(Philadelphia: Temple U Press, 1996).

Other Suggestions:

Her Own Words, 608-271-7083; P.O.Box 5264, Madison, WI 53705, (Herownword@aol.com) has available the following 7 videos (15 minutes each) on contemporary women and work. They were all released within the past year and a half: Each features 5 to 7 women in a field describing their work lives in their own voices. The general intro "Women in Nontraditional Careers" features 46 women in a wide variety of work fields. Jocelyn Riley, Producer.

Women in Construction
Women in Dentistry
Women in Firefighting
Women in Machining
Women in Nontraditional Careers: An Introduction
Women in Policing
Women in Welding