City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860 / Edition 2

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How women emerged as a distinctive class in the burgeoning society of New York City in the postCivil War era is explored from an original viewpoint in this interesting study. Female class relations, ``ladies'' and working women, were symbiotic. The laborers had their sexual and social demeanor regulated by their middle-class sisters, who had the leisure to act as ``self-appointed exemplars of virtue.'' The women of the working class come to life in Stansell's identification of their lot. Adrift from family ties, they entered the labor force, many resorting to prostitution and crime, which provoked the philanthropy of genteel bourgeois women, social reformers and the rise of the settlement house movement. The neighborhoods of the poor, the tenements and bawdy houses of 19th century New York are portrayed as important elements in women's history. Stansell teaches at Princeton University. (October 29)
Library Journal
Pre-Civil War New York City was in many ways unique; at the same time, it was a microcosm of the nation. The study of its social historyfamily life and street life, factory work and housekeeping, innocent pleasures and viceprovides an opportunity to examine questions of broad significance: trade union attitudes towards women, the issue of the family wage, the discrepancy between middle-class ideals and daily life in poor households. Stansell's perceptive analysis of these and other topics is skillfully worked into a rich and colorful portrait of working-class New York, with unforgettable sketches of its life. Without losing sight of the hardships of poverty she insists that working-class women possessed a degree of independence. Her study reveals a vigorous female culture that thrived in neighborhoods and in work groups. An important book that provides a fresh look at relations between sexes and classes. Mary Drake McFeely, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252014819
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1987
  • Edition description: Illini Books ed
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 453,272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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