Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States / Edition 20

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First published in 1982, this pioneering work traces the transformation of "women's work" into wage labor in the United States, identifying the social, economic, and ideological forces that have shaped our expectations of what women do. Basing her observations upon the personal experience of individual American women set against the backdrop of American society, Alice Kessler-Harris examines the effects of class, ethnic and racial patterns, changing perceptions of wage work for women, and the relationship between wage-earning and family roles. In the 20th Anniversary Edition of this landmark book, the author has updated the original and written a new Afterword.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the Previous Edition:

"Impressive and deftly written....An example or two cannot do justice to the variety of materials and ideas the author draws together to explain how women workers have functioned as a low-paid reserve force, and why, as wage work became the rule rather than the exception in the 20th century, they found themselves in marginal jobs stereotyped as feminine."--The New York Times Book Review

"Comprehensive and packed with information."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Without a doubt the single best survey of transformation of women's paid and unpaid work from the colonial period to the present."--American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195157093
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/13/2003
  • Edition description: Anniversar
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,204,219
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Kessler-Harris is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History at Columbia University, where she also teaches in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She is the author of A Woman's Wage, Women Have Always Worked and In Pursuit of Equity.

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Table of Contents

I Forming the Female Wage Labor Force: Colonial America to the Civil War
1 Limits of Independence in the Colonial Economy 3
2 From Household Manufactures to Wage Work 20
3 Industrial Wage Earners and the Domestic Ideology 45
II The Idea of Home and Mother at Work: The Civil War to World War I
4 "Why Is It Can a Woman Not Be Virtuous If She Does Mingle with the Toilers?" 75
5 Women's Choices in an Expanding Labor Market 108
6 Technology, Efficiency, and Resistance 142
7 Protective Labor Legislation 180
III Transforming the Notion of Work for Women: World War I to the Present
8 Ambition and Its Antidote in a New Generation of Female Workers 217
9 Some Benefits of Labor Segregation in a Decade of Depression 250
10 "Making History Working for Victory" 273
11 The Radical Consequences of Incremental Change 300
A Note of Acknowledgment 320
Epilogue 325
Notes 337
Index 403
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