The Female Economy

The Millinery and Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930
Author: Wendy Gamber
Paper – $33
978-0-252-06601-6
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1997
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About the Book

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

About the Author

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