Cover for BENSON: Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940. Click for larger image

Counter Cultures

Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940
Awards and Recognition:

Winner of the Chicago Women in Publishing Award, "Relevance to Women's Issues," 1987.

The luxurious appearance and handsome profits of American department stores from 1890 to 1940 masked a three-way struggle among saleswomen, managers, and customers for control of the selling floor. Counter Cultures explores the complex nature and contradictions of the conflict in an arena where class, gender, and the emerging culture of consumption all came together.

"Counter Cultures is a path-breaking and imaginative social history. Benson has made an original and sophisticated contribution to the study of the work process in the service sector."
-- Journal of American History

"Counter Cultures advances our understanding of the history of women and work, and it does so in an engaging way that should command the attention not only of historians but of a general readership as well."
-- Women's Review of Books

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