Emma McChesney and Co.
About the BookEdna Ferber, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Show Boat and Giant, achieved her first great success with a series of stories featuring Emma McChesney: a smart, stylish, divorced mother who in a mere twelve years rose from stenographer to traveling sales representative to business manager and partner of the T. A. Buck Featherloom Petticoat Company.
In this final of three volumes chronicling the travels and trials of Emma McChesney, first published in 1915, Emma's son, Jock, has moved to Chicago with his new wife. Struggling with a newly emptied nest, Emma dives into a whirlwind South American sales tour to prove she hasn't lost her touch.
Back in New York, Emma and her business partner, T. A. Buck Jr., try to disguise their budding romance from colleagues. After months of acting like a "captain of finance when he feels like a Romeo," T. A. convinces Emma they should marry. Emma tries to "be what the yellow novels call a doll-wife" but trades in her fancy dressing gowns for more sensible business suits and heads back to the office.
With one hand writing advertising copy and the other wrapped around a pair of shears, Emma saves the company from financial peril amid the arrival of some flustering, if exciting, news from Jock. By turns sales pro, newlywed, fashion maven, and anxious grandmother, Emma symbolizes the ideal woman at the dawn of the twentieth century: sharp, capable, charming, and progressive. Emma McChesney and Co. is enhanced by the illustrations of James Montgomery Flagg, one of the most highly regarded book illustrators of the period.