National Archives for Black Women’s History, Bethune Museum and Archives, Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress
National Archives, Record Group:
RG 9, National Recovery Administration (NRA)
RG 12, Office of Education
RG 69, Federal Emergency Relief
Administration and Works Progress
RG 86, Women’s Bureau
RG 119, National Youth Administration (NYA)
RG 257, Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People MSS, Library of Congress
National Committee on Household
Employment MSS, Labor Management
Documention Center, School of Industrial and
Labor Relations, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education MSS, Library of Congress
National Women’s Trade Union League MSS, Arthur M. and Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger
Arthur M. and Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger
Library and Archives for Women’s History,
Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Young Women’s Christian Association National
Board MSS, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
YWCA National Board MSS
Archives, YWCA National Headquarters, 726
Broadway, New York City, New York 10003
1. Socially, sexually, politically, and domestically, middle-class women inhabited a conservative environment after 1920. Nancy F. Cott’s The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987) describes how vibrant, multifocused pre–World War I feminism narrowed to demands for equal rights in the public sphere and educated women’s entitlement to professional jobs. Women lost their sense of grievance as a group excluded from public life and were divided between speaking as a subordinated class and achieving as individuals. In Carroll Smith Rosenberg’s Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), the concluding chapter, “The New Woman as Androgyne: Social Disorder and Gender Crisis, 1870–1936,” depicts the conservatism of post-1920 attitudes toward the “New Woman,” including even the sexual liberation that was supposed to result from women’s winning equality in public life with suffrage; homosexuality was attacked as a psychological problem, and “Boston marriages” and lesbian relationships of the presuffrage years succumbed to the pressures to limit sexual experimentation within heterosexual bounds. Dolores Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981), shows (in chap. 13, “Madame Kollantai and Mrs. Consumer”) how women gave up advocating cooperative kitchens for shared housework and accepted consumption of goods and services in private homes as symbolic opposition to Russian collectivism, denoted in this instance by Alexandra Kollantai, head of the women’s division of the Soviet Central Committee Secretariat. J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975), documents right-wing attacks on women’s groups and feminism, which, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, were seen as communistic. Women’s organizations moderated their public stances accordingly.
2. Hayden, in The Grand Domestic Revolution, recounts housewives’ efforts to replace private domestic work (“Homes Without Kitchens and Towns Without Housework,” chap. 11), or to attempt to find older women to relieve younger women from some child care and cooking for part-time professional employment (“Coordinating Women’s Interests,” chap. 12).
3. Even though more married women were employed, they could not claim work as a human right. Winifred D. Wandersee, Women’s Work and Family Values, 1920–1940 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981), argues that “the growing flexibility in their tendency to work reflected changing attitudes toward family roles as well as an unshaken commitment to family responsibilities” (p. 3). Earning income for the family did not entitle a woman to slough off her job of taking care of home and children, even though she presumably bought many services to help with house care. Lois Scharf’s To Work and to Wed: Female Employment, Feminism, and the Great Depression, Contributions in Women’s Studies, 15 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980) puts this story in perspective by showing how educated women enunciated aspirations to apply their training in professions outside the home during the 1920s but shifted their rationale for employment to family “need” during the Depression. Most married women of the middle class did not take paid work after marriage, but if they did, they apologized for not having time for their proper roles as charity workers and social leaders.
4. Karen Anderson, Wartime Women: Sex Roles, Family Relations, and the Status of Women During World War II, Contributions in Women’s Studies, 20 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), documents the myriad responsibilities women had for maintaining civilian life when most resources were going to military activities and offers reasons why the war contributed to a postwar “feminine mystique”: women’s war work was countered by injunctions to be feminine; a shortage of men encouraged traditional feminine behavior and early marriages; women had to mediate amid material shortages and emotional hardships; and the war heightened images of men as warriors protecting domesticated women. D’Ann Campbell, Women at War with America: Private Lives in a Patriotic Era (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), concludes in chapter 6, “Heroines of the Homefront,” with the judgment that housewives “tried to make a warm home life in flimsy trailers, crowded apartments, and overpriced houses. They repaired, mended, and conserved. They stood in long lines, lugged home their purchases and children, and devised ways to keep their families clothed, healthy and well fed” (p. 185). Susan M. Hartmann, The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s (Boston: Twayne, 1982), clarifies material circumstances as well as cultural messages that would encourage women to accept “intensified emphasis on home and family” (p. 25).
5. Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (New York: Basic Books, 1983), and Susan Strasser, Never Done: A History of American Housework (New York: Pantheon, 1982), though with different political views on technology’s impact, agree that its promise to shorten the housewife’s workday was delusory.
6. Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1979), focus on medical experts and the shift from religious authorities’ to scientists’ and physicians’ regulation of housework, child care, and women’s lives.
7. Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920–1940 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985), in a section titled “Modern Maids and Atavistic Ambitions,” assumes that even most middle-class and a large number of upper-middle-class households did not have regular servant help by the 1930s, even though (or perhaps as a consequence) advertisers displayed household products in settings “enriched . . . by dominion over attractive and attentive personal servants” (p. 205).
8. See note 1 for post-1920 conservatism and feminism’s self-limitation, especially Cott’s Grounding of Modern Feminism.
9. Judith Rollins, Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1985), chap. 5, “Deference and Maternalism.” Rollins’s book was important for my clarification of the connection between systems that define some women as “good” and “clean” and others as “dirty” and “bad” and the maintenance of social relations of domination and subordination.
10. Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820–1860,” in Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976), 21.
11. Witold Rybczynski, Home: A Short History of an Idea (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), esp. chap. 4, “Commodity and Delight,” points up the oddity of speaking of “comfort as an idea,” since we have learned to take it for granted as a physical condition. The idea developed in northern Europe during the eighteenth century and became one of the quintessential elements, along with privacy and domestic intimacy, of the bourgeois household.
12. Faye E. Dudden, Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1983), argues that a shift in nineteenth-century terminology for hired household workers from “help” to “servant” reflected basic changes in the work of the home and the role of the housewife. The shift from task-oriented hiring, with the hired woman giving help on particular jobs, to hiring a servant to take over the significant tasks of household work is the major cultural–economic shift that preceded the mistress–servant relationship of the 1920s and 1930s. Her argument that housework has a history that she has recovered for the nineteenth-century North and West of the United States, and that this history is of differential experiences of privilege and oppression, offered encouragement for my work about a later period. Likewise, her conclusion that domestic service enabled the middle-class woman, freed from the need to earn income or to care for her own house, to become a feminist and a leader in the social reform and social welfare movements of the second half of the nineteenth century only because of the involuntary support of the domestic echoes my disquiet about the unequal relations between employers and employees in the 1920s and 1930s.
13. Catherine Clinton, The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South (New York: Pantheon, 1982), calls the plantation mistress the “slave of slaves” because of her heavy responsibilities to care for everyone, including slaves. Clinton is describing production of clothing, medicines, and food, however, and not acts of service, which distinguish the servant’s work from her mistress’s.
14. Daniel E. Sutherland, Americans and Their Servants: Domestic Service in the United States from 1800 to 1920 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), argues that “the American experience with Negroes and immigrants . . . firmly entrenched the social stigma [of domestic service]. Negroes supplied the most odium” (p. 4). From the eighteenth century on, the connection between Negroes and service meant that racial prejudice amplified disrespect for domestic work; in the nineteenth century, xenophobia joined race prejudice to degrade immigrants entering domestic work.
15. Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women’s Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s (New York: Knopf, 1984), reports that Wellesley College ended student domestic work in 1896; Mount Holyoke College, where, in 1837, Mary Lyon had initiated the scheme of students doing their own domestic work to keep down costs for women’s higher education, followed shortly thereafter (p. 205).
16. Elaine Tyler May, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), part 2, “Matrimony Unveiled in the Early Twentieth Century.”
17. Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life (New York: Free Press, 1988), in chap. 6, “The Rise of the Companionate Family, 1900–1930,” note that companionate marriage was originally used by Denver Judge Ben B. Lindsay in Revolt of Modern Youth (1925) to refer to childless marriages contracted simply to legitimize sexual relations. By the mid-1920s, however, the term was already coming to mean “marriage unions held together not by rigid social pressures . . . but by mutual affection, sexual attraction, and equal rights” (p. 115). I use the term with this connotation.
18. Clifford Edward Clark, Jr., The American Family Home, 1800–1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986), chap. 5, “Modernizing the House and Family,” recounts the Progressive-era shift to smaller homes, though they were built at a prodigious pace so that in some American cities roughly one-quarter to one-half of the population between 1880 and 1920 owned homes. Homes designed without quarters for live-in servants were not meant to require extra work from housewives. Ideally, simplifying tasks and reducing the amount of space to clean would offer housewives more freedom and greater opportunities for self-development in creative and social–political activities. The average number of persons per family declined from 4.6 in 1900 to 4.25 in 1920, 4.01 in 1930, and 3.67 in 1940, according to George J. Stigler, Domestic Servants in the United States, 1900–1940, Occasional Paper 24 (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1946), 21, table 11.
19. Bettina Berch, The Endless Day: The Political Economy of Women and Work (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982). “The Leading 10 Occupations of Women Workers, 1870–1970,” table 1-3, was compiled from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of the Census, and decennial census reports (pp. 12–13). “Participation in the Labor Force: 16 Years of Age and Older,” table 1-1, was compiled from Employment and Training Report of the President, 1979, and the 1979–1980 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, 611 (p. 5).
20. Stigler, Domestic Servants, 2–3.
21. Amey E. Watson, “Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 143 (May 1929): 49–60, in a special issue titled “Women in the Modern World,” gives the 5 percent figure.
22. Using Stigler’s family and servant totals in Domestic Servants yields slightly higher percentages, as follows:
Calculated from tables 1 and 11, pp. 3, 21. Stigler included practical nurses, though their occupation fell outside the usual definition of domestic servants, because the work was similar, and to offset his exclusion of “housekeeper,” which he thought inaccurate because of enumerators listing as housekeepers women doing housework in their own homes. Appendix A, “The Number of Servants,” explains numerous problems with obtaining a count of servants. Only in 1940 was there a category of “domestic servant,” and this number had to be compared to various classifications used in earlier censuses. The ostensible decline in domestics in 1920 was ignored because it probably reflected an undercount resulting from the census’s abandoning “the emphatic 1910 instruction to ascertain the occupation of every person” (p. 39).
23. Cowan, More Work for Mother, 175, citing “Time Costs of Homemaking: A Study of 1,500 Rural and Urban Households,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics (mimeographed, 1944), and Household Management and Kitchens, Report of the President’s Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership, vol. 9 (Washington, D.C., 1932). Cowan considers these numbers low by contrast with previous decades. I interpret them as high by contrast with succeeding decades.
24. Anne Byrd Kennon, “College Wives Who Work,” Journal of the American Association of University Women, 20 (June 1927): 100–106, and Virginia MacMakin Collier, Marriages and Careers: A Study of One Hundred Women Who Are Wives, Mothers, Homemakers and Professional Workers (New York: Bureau of Vocational Information, 1926), both cited in Cott, Grounding of Modern Feminism. Well over half of these college-educated, middle-class, employed women were not doing the bulk of their housework, even though they accepted an image of themselves as homemakers.
25. Campbell, Women at War, 284, n. 16. citing Roper-Fortune poll, October 1937, in Hadley Cantril and Mildred Strunk, Public Opinion, 1935–1946 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), 791.
26. Maurice Leven, Harold G. Moulton, and Clark Warburton, America’s Capacity to Consume (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1934), 58–62, 222, table 36. Appendix A, VI, “Incomes of Families,” explains that the Brookings economists calculated household income as an extrapolation from rents paid because rent and not household income was reported on the 1930 census. Appendix B, “The Utilization of Income,” I, lists the categories for a number of cost-of-living studies conducted between 1924 and 1934. A 1929 study of the expenditures of federal employees includes “servant hire” under “home maintenance.” A 1932 study of maintenance-of-way road workers had no mention of servant hire (p. 241). The questionnaire’s design indicated what surveyers expected to find in houses of different classes: servants for upper-level clerks but not for manual laborers.
27. Stigler, Domestic Servants, 30, 24, 26, 36.
28. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Family Disbursements of Wage Earners and Salaried Workers, 1934–1936,” NA RG 257, contains many consumer and cost-of-living surveys, the major nationwide ones in addition to the 1934–1936 Family Disbursements survey being the 1918–1919 “Cost of Living Schedules for Urban Families” and the 1935–1937 “Study of Consumer Purchases.” After consultation with Jerry Hess of the National Archives and Erik W. Austin, who is directing computerization of the 1935–1937 data for the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, I decided to draw a sample from the 1934–1936 survey. The 1934 data are easier to use because household demography and expenses are on the same interview schedule, whereas the 1935 schedules are filed separately from the demographic data, and its class limitations were not expanded in the 1935 data. Although only middle-income earners were sampled in the 1934 study, many of the wealthy included in the 1935–1937 sample refused to cooperate with interviewers, whom, according to Erik Austin, they viewed as hirelings of the New Deal. The 1934 study overrepresents workers with stable jobs in good-sized firms. Major employers in the cities surveyed were asked to supply a list of regularly employed workers, and from this list the Bureau of Labor Statistics drew its sample for collecting wage and expenditure data. I relied on Lorna Forster, a George Washington University doctoral candidate in sociology, for sampling techniques and data analysis; on Jennifer Watson, George Washington University Master’s candidate in women’s studies, for data collection and entry; and on my patient colleague Joe Gastwirth, professor of statistics, for sensible and inventive advice as to how to interpret findings. A chi-square statistic was used to analyze nominal-level data, and a Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient to analyze interval-level data to determine significant variables, which were then used in a logistic regression model of the factors involved in hiring laundry or domestic work. The data are available in a file at the George Washington University Academic Computing Center.
29. Maurice Leven, The Income Structure of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1938), 145, table 1, citing Leven, Moulton, and Warburton, America’s Capacity to Consume.
30. Thanks to the astute advice of my colleague James O. Horton, Departments of History and American Studies, we assigned a different identifying number to each occupation, instead of categorizing and clustering them. The result of almost nine hundred occupations for workers in sixteen hundred households provides a rich picture of wage earning in the 1930s and makes more striking the cluster of occupations that emerged as those of families likely to hire laundry work and a slightly different profile of those hiring domestic service.
31. Sophonisba P. Breckenridge, Women in the Twentieth Century: A Study of Their Political, Social and Economic Activities (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933), 126.
32. Allyson Sherman Grossman, “Women in Domestic Work: Yesterday and Today,” Monthly Labor Review, August 1980, pp. 17–21, table 1, p. 18. Grossman relies on Alba Edwards’s Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, Population Comparative Occupation Statistics for the United States, 1870–1940 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1943) and does not seem to distinguish between “domestic and personal service” and “domestic work, private household.” The numbers from which she calculates percentages are lower than those cited by Stigler, Domestic Servants, and she does not seem to be aware of the probable undercount in the 1920 census, which is analyzed at length by Stigler. Despite these problems, one can still assert that the occupation remained significant for women wage earners.
33. David M. Katzman, Seven Days a Week: Women and Domestic Service in Industrializing America (1978; rpt. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 292, table A-11.
34. Mary Romero, “Sisterhood and Domestic Service: Race, Class and Gender in the Mistress/Maid Relationship,” paper presented at the 1987 Society for the Study of Social Problems meeting in Chicago, cites Albert Camarillo, Chicanos in a Changing Society (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979), and Mario Barrera, Race and Class in the Southwest: A Theory of Racial Inequality (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1980). Sarah Deutsch, “Women and Intercultural Relations: The Case of Hispanic New Mexico and Colorado,” Signs 12 (Summer 1987), also citing Barrera, states that in the 1930 census, “41.6 percent of gainfully employed ‘Mexicans’ were listed under domestic service” (p. 734, n. 50). I am indebted to Mary Romero for sharing her papers with me and for helping to fill a significant gap in my East-Coast-biased data.
35. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Issei, Nisei, War Bride: Three Generations of Japanese American Women in Domestic Service (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986), 72–73, table 2. Domestic employment varied directly in relation to the availability of alternative jobs. Glenn points out that 50 percent of Issei women in San Francisco were in domestic work, but only 6.4 percent in Los Angeles and 3.3 percent in Seattle, which she attributes to opportunities for small entrepreneurs in Seattle, at least (p. 77, table 3).
36. Breckenridge, Women in the Twentieth Century, 114, table 6.
37. Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, Changes in Women’s Employment During the War, Women’s Bureau Special Bulletin 20 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1944), cited in Hartmann, Home Front and Beyond, 86.
38. “War and Post-War Trends in Employment of Negroes,” Monthly Labor Review 60 (January 1945): 3, cited in Hartmann, Home Front and Beyond, 90.
39. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), brought the relational concept inherent in Marxian theory into widespread use by American historians. I agree with Thompson’s statement in the preface: “The notion of class entails the notion of historical relationship. Like any other relationship, it is a fluency which evades analysis if we attempt to stop it dead at any given moment and anatomise its structure. . . . We cannot have two distinct classes, each with an independent being, and then bring them into relationship with each other. . . . Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs. The class experience is largely determined by the productive relations into which men are born” (p. 9). Domestic work, I am assuming, is one of the productive relations that characterizes women’s experience of class relations.
40. I had investigated racial differences in the construction of gender in Phyllis Marynick Palmer. “White Women/Black Women: The Dualism of Female Identity and Experience in the United States,” Feminist Studies 9 (Spring 1983): 151–70. My goal was to understand how white women defined themselves in relation to black women. I did not clarify that whiteness is a racial category that needs study and explanation as much as blackness until I read, in Gisela Bock’s “Racism and Sexism in Nazi Germany: Motherhood, Compulsory Sterilization, and the State,” Signs 8 (Spring 1983): 400–421, about how “Nazi pronatalism for ‘desirable’ births and its antinatalism for ‘undesirable’ ones were tightly connected.” Racism and sexism intertwined to define which women were good and what their social duties were. Good women learned to bear children, to maintain houses, and to accept economic dependency “not so much from the continuous positive propaganda about ‘valuable motherhood,’ but precisely from the opposite: the negative propaganda that barred unwelcome, poor, and deviant women from procreation and marriage” (p. 419). I was trained out of thinking of dualisms as innate or inevitable by Jane Flax, whose early statement about the historically shifting nature of social categories in “Postmodernism and Gender Relations in Feminist Theory,” Signs 12 (Summer 1987): 621–43, has been expanded in her book, Thinking Fragments: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and Post-Modernism in the Contemporary West (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989). A classic statement of how gender, race, and class were socially created in the Reconstruction South and maintained in the early twentieth-century New South is Lillian Smith, Killers of the Dream (New York: Norton, 1964). Many Afro-American scholars in literature and history now call for “racializing” thinking about white women, notably Hazel Carby at the session on “Working from the Margin; Displacing the Center: The Politics of Our Scholarship,” at the American Studies Association Conference, Miami Beach, Florida, October 1988.
1. I use the acronym MCH for middle-class housewives in imitation of Christopher Morley’s invention of WCG in the novel Kitty Foyle. WCG stands for “White-Collar Girl,” the ubiquitous unmarried young woman of the 1930s making her independent way in a clerical or sales job, the undesirable alternative to being an MCH.
2. Elaine Tyler May, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 158.
3. Glenna Matthews, “Just a Housewife”: The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 193–94. Matthews answers the question of why women consented to the deskilling of the home and loss of selfrespecting housewifery by saying that women resisted commodification by, for instance, baking their own bread long after commercial bakeries made doing so unnecessary. This is, as she says, only a partial answer.
4. Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820–1860,” in Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976), 21. According to Welter, through the four virtues of womanhood, “piety, purity, domesticity and obedience,” women countered the masculine business practices of cutthroat competition. Women’s self-restraint enabled the United States to accept economic development grounded in principles at odds with religious beliefs and community norms of charity. Though the 1920s and 1930s offer a considerably more complex trade-off between masculine values in the marketplace and feminine values in the home, women’s acceptance of housewifely duties was essential to the revolutionary transition from a production economy built on moral values of self-denial and saving to a consumption economy built on values of self-fulfillment through spending. The realization that these periods were not so contradictory as they have seemed grew as I read Daniel Horowitz’s provocative study, The Morality of Spending: Attitudes Toward the Consumer Society in America, 1875–1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), which concludes that “the differences between traditional and modern moralism are fundamental but there are also important similarities” (p. 166). Twentieth-century commentators on standards of living feared that the middle class sought “transitory happiness” through consumption rather than intellectual and aesthetic cultivation, just as nineteenth-century commentators feared the working class’s intemperance, social rowdiness, and pursuit of leisure.
5. Phyllis Rose, Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages (London: Chatto & Windus, 1983), 5–6, 16.
6. Anna Garlin Spencer, The Family and Its Members (Philadelphia: Lippincott Family Life Series, 1923), 43. Spencer was a special lecturer in social science at Teachers College of Columbia University, where she met Benjamin Andrews, the editor of the Lippincott series.
7. Ernest R. Groves and Gladys Hoagland Groves, Wholesome Marriage (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927), 140. Ernest R. Groves, professor of social science at the University of North Carolina, is described by Christopher Lasch in Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged (New York: Basic Books, 1977) as “one of the leading advocates of training for marriage” (p. 37).
8. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street (1920; rpt. New York: Signet Classics, 1961), 33.
9. Ibid., 432. Marcus Cunliffe, The Literature of the United States, 4th ed. (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), points out how unusual Lewis’s ending is, having his heroine choose the ridiculed small town, “a solution he can make plausible only by suggesting that, after all, her husband is a sturdy, honest person, while Carol has been weak and self-centered” (p. 330). Her foray into the larger world has taught her how to be stronger and more resolute in the effort to cultivate Gopher Prairie, a moral many women must have found apropos.
10. Lewis, Main Street, 422–23.
11. Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987). Chapter 5, “Modern Times,” concludes that in marriage advice literature of the 1920s “feminist intents and rhetoric were not ignored but appropriated” (p. 174).
12. Anna M. Galbraith, The Family and the New Democracy: A Study in Social Hygiene (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1920), 315.
13. Mildred Weigley Woods, Ruth Lindquist, and Lucy Studley, Managing the Home (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1932), 9. Woods was director of adult education in homemaking, Phoenix, Arizona, Lindquist was associate professor of home economics at Ohio State University, and Studley was assistant professor of home economics at the University of Minnesota.
14. Mary Hinman Abel, Successful Family Life on the Moderate Income, 2d ed. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Family Life Series, 1927), 22.
15. Henrietta Ripperger, A Home of Your Own and How to Run It (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940), xviii.
16. Woods, Lindquist, and Studley, Managing the Home, 10.
17. Kathy Peiss’s Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986) provides interesting data about working women’s support for the developing urban, commercial, nonfamily entertainments of movies, dance halls, and amusement parks. Horowitz, Morality of Spending, chap. 8, recounts how professional families chose to spend relatively more money on household space and home-based entertainments such as reading magazines and giving dinner parties compared to working-class families of the same era, who spent more of their income on movies.
18. Ida Bailey Allen, Home Partners, or Seeing the Family Through (N.p.: Privately printed, 1924), 12–15. Mrs. Allen was the author of cookbooks and, during the 1920s, presented Monday morning chats about cooking with Crisco on a Radio Homemakers Club sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, according to Alfred Lief in “It Floats”: The Story of Proctor and Gamble (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1958), 152.
19. Kathleen Norris, Barberry Bush (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1927), 55.
20. Ibid., 123–24.
21. Ibid., 298.
22. Horowitz, Morality of Spending, 141–43, describing Jessica Peixotto’s 1923 study of faculty households at the University of California, Berkeley, published in 1927 as Getting and Spending at the Professional Standard of Living.
23. French’s Cream Salad Mustard Makes Salads, Salad Dressings, Sandwiches, Savories (Rochester: R. T. French Company, 1925) offered recipes selected and tested by M. Jean Marie Bernillon, chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia. Everyday Recipes (New Orleans: Wesson Oil People, 1929) has main dishes identified as “tea room style.” I am indebted for these examples of companies’ recipe-advertisement booklets to my George Washington University English Department colleague and sister scholar of American domestic life, Ann Romines.
24. Bertha Streeter, Home Making Simplified: A Book for the Bride as Well as for the Experienced Housekeeper Who Is Still Confronted with Unsolved Problems (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1922), 215–16.
25. Galbraith, Family and the New Democracy, 302.
26. Ripperger, A Home of Your Own and How to Run It, xv.
27. Woods, Lindquist, and Studley, Managing the Home, 1.
28. Della Thompson Lutes, A Home of Your Own (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1925), 330.
29. Hazel Kyrk, Economic Problems of the Family (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933), 85, citing Jessica B. Peixotto, Getting and Spending at the Professional Standard of Living (New York, 1927), and Yandell Henderson and Maurice R. Davie, Incomes and Living Costs of a University Faculty (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928).
30. Christine Frederick, The Ignoramus Book of Housekeeping (New York: Sears, 1932), 6.
31. Charlotte Adams, The Run of the House (New York: Macmillan, 1942), 15–16. Adams’s discussion of the “brave” young wife echoes military language and implies that the young wife keeping up appearances compares to the young man going off to war—surely an unintentional comparison written before the United States entry into World War II.
32. Emily Newall Blair, The Creation of a Home: A Mother Advises a Daughter (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1930), 2. Blair was vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1921 to 1928 and president of the Woman’s National Democratic Club. One assumes that she perceived giving household advice as a plus for her political career.
33. Fannie Hurst, Lummox (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1923). My thanks to talented assessor of American women writers and friend Michele Slung for telling me to read this novel. Hurst delivered a talk titled “The Lady of the House,” which called on housewives to honor their servants’ merit with fair treatment and wages, at a symposium on household employment, sponsored by the YWCA and the Federal Council of Churches, in New York City, November 28, 1939 (YWCA MSS, Reel 98).
34. Lutes, A Home of Your Own, 44.
35. Lewis, Main Street, 167.
36. Galbraith, The Family and the New Democracy, 300.
37. Streeter, Home Making Simplified, 29–30.
38. Samuel S. Paquin, ed., Her Book: A Treasure of Household Lore (New York: R. M. Travis Corporation, 1932), 203.
39. Florence LaGanke Harris, Everywoman’s Complete Guide to Homemaking (Boston: Little, Brown, 1936), 129.
40. Wood, Lindquist, and Studley, Managing the Home, 8.
41. Lillian M. Gilbreth, The Home-Maker and Her Job (New York: D. Appleton, 1927), 15.
42. Lutes, A Home of Your Own, 376–77.
43. Enid Wells, Living for Two: A Guide to Homemaking (New York: David Kemp, 1939), 401.
44. Lita Price and Harriet Bonnet, How to Manage Without a Maid (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1942), 75.
45. Fannie Hurst, Imitation of Life (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933), 152.
46. Vesta J. Farnsworth, The Real Home (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1923), 82.
47. Cott, Grounding of Modern Feminism, 165–66.
48. Elizabeth Bussing, “Marriage Makes the Money Go,” in The Good Housekeeping Marriage Book: Twelve Ways to a Happy Marriage (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1938), 77.
49. Lewis, Main Street, 381.
50. Streeter, Home Making Simplified, 21–23.
51. Helen Mougey Jordan, M. Louisa Ziller, and John Franklin Brown, Home and Family (New York: Macmillan, 1935), 188–89.
52. Lutes, A Home of Your Own, 333.
53. Ripperger, A Home of Your Own and How to Run It, 117. The drawing of the elegantly clad housewife at work contrasts strikingly with line drawings of servants, who are shown as old and fat, implying that a housewife looks very different from a servant even though both may do the same work.
54. Gilbreth, Home-Maker and Her Job, 12.
55. Susan Glaspell, Ambrose Holt and Family (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1931), 314–15. Blossom begins to confront her differences with her wealthy and beloved father when her husband Lincoln tells her of his sadness that Atwood is cutting down a woods in which Lincoln had made penny whistles and daydreamed during his childhood. Lincoln respects his father-in-law’s business acumen and accepts the argument of business necessity at the same time as he despises its consequences. Blossom, however, is ready to fight: “Perhaps I know nothing about business, but I know something about woods.” Though she does not save the woods, Blossom conserves and links love of nature, poetry, life, and family as domestic values; a woman’s love can make up for environmental depredations.
56. Ibid., 16.
57. Ibid., 10.
58. Christopher Morley, Kitty Foyle (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1939), 336–39.
59. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1952; rpt. New York: Vintage Books, 1974) captures the quality of male desire for care by an independent woman, a woman, as de Beauvoir says, “who freely accepts [man’s] domination, who does not accept his ideas without discussion, but who yields to his arguments, who resists him intelligently and ends by being convinced” (p. 208). Even though nature seems disquieting (with its threats of deaths and the end of immanence), “it becomes beneficial when woman, too docile to threaten man’s works, limits herself to enriching them and softening their too rugged outlines” (p. 204). De Beauvoir is describing this concept as timeless, which it may be, but I have found it a particularly evident attitude in the popular culture of the 1930s and 1940s.
60. Harris, Everywoman’s Complete Guide, 281.
61. Paquin, ed., Her Book, 213.
62. Cott, Grounding of Modern Feminism, 157.
63. Hurst, Lummox, 15.
64. Groves and Groves, Wholesome Marriage, 141–42.
65. Beth L. Bailey, From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), esp. chap. 4 and 5, “The Worth of a Date” and “Sex Control.”
66. Ibid., 81, quoting Gay Head, “Boy Dates Girl Jam Session,” Senior Scholastic, December 1943, p. 45.
67. Bailey, From Front Porch to Back Seat, 90.
68. Anne Fisher, Live with a Man and Love It! (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1937), 17.
69. Wells, Living for Two, 404–5.
70. Morley, Kitty Foyle, 18.
1. Hilary Rose, “Hand, Brain, and Heart: A Feminist Epistemology for the Natural Sciences,” Signs 9 (Autumn 1983): 73–90, provides an excellent analysis of the difference between industrial and service production: “The production of people is . . . qualitatively different from the production of things. It requires caring labor—the labor of love” (p. 83).
2. Laura Shapiro, Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986), makes the point that “one of the chief differences between housekeeping and homemaking was that, in the course of the latter, women were free to acknowledge that drudgery was drudgery. . . . Once housework had been recognized as neither a science nor a mission, but simply an unalterable element of woman’s fate, other aspects of domesticity ballooned” (p. 225).
3. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977), 469–76.
4. Glenna Matthews, “Just a Housewife”: The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), describes Carol Kennicott’s envy of her former maid Bea Sorenson, happily occupied in caring for her husband, child, and home. As Matthews says, “[Sinclair] Lewis seems to indicate that domesticity would not be so obnoxious were it coupled with sexual symmetry” (p. 177).
5. Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrill Lynd, Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1929), used the term business class to describe the men who earn a living by working with people, working with their tongues, selling or promoting things and ideas, and using nonmaterial institutional devices; the class also includes professionals not in business. This group contrasts with working-class households in which livings are earned by working with things, working with hands, making things, and using material tools (p. 22). By 1925, when the Lynds conducted their survey, they found that working-class households in Muncie, Indiana, accepted that a wife might work at some times; the rest of her activity was to be spent on housework. For a business-class wife, taking a paid job shamed her husband; she was not, however, to drudge at housework so as to have no time for charitable work and evening social life. I have used the term businessman’s wife in the same spirit as the Lynds, because it captures the social norms for the class of women most likely to want freedom from housework but without the income to hire full-time, live-in servants—that large, influential social group between the wealthy and the working class. When the Lynds returned to Muncie (Middletown) in 1935, they found that more business-class wives were holding paid jobs even as norms for filling up time without paid employment had strengthened. See Middle-town in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937), 180–86.
6. Theodora Penny Martin, The Sound of Their Own Voices (Boston: Beacon Press, 1987).
7. Charlotte Adams, The Run of the House (New York: Macmillan, 1942), 17.
8. Dorothy Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1976), offers the clearest explication of how the unconscious minds of men and women in the twentieth-century West link infantile experiences of boundless care with feelings that adult women should give such care. At the same time, these caregivers are linked with infantile feelings of powerlessness against the mother’s removal of care, punishment, or simply limitation of giving. Consequently, the desire for service from adult women coexists with a desire for these women to have less power than the person being served. Dinnerstein speculates that women have less need to be served because, as females, they identify with the maternal figures of their infancy and experience vicarious gratification from the service they give to men and children. This psychoanalytic view of domestic work is developed more fully in Chapter Seven below.
9. “The Servant Problem,” Fortune 77 (March 1938): 81–85, 114–18. This article is the source for the following paragraphs.
10. The Fortune story illustrates the mediating function of the home, in which consumerist fantasies of infant pleasure are transformed into realistic experiences, at least for high-income husbands and, to a lesser degree, their children. Would consumption be so intoxicating if the service element were removed? Did post–World War II men scramble for consumerist satisfactions, as recounted in Barbara Ehrenreich’s The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1983), because the level of household service was dropping and they were searching for compensatory satisfactions?
11. Records of the Cambridge mothers’ clubs are in the Schlesinger Archives. Similar records presumably could be found in other cities. Four generations of clubs are documented in the Schlesinger collections: Mothers’ Club of Cambridge, 1881–1942; Mothers’ Discussion Club, 1889–1973; Mothers’ Study Club, 1911–1962; and Mothers’ Thursday Club, 1920–1968. See “Written and read to the Mothers Discussion Club on the occasion of the Golden Anniversary, Dec. 6, 1949, by Frances H. Elliot,” typescript, Mothers’ Discussion Club, Box 2, Folder 13; “Some Subjects That Have Interested Mothers’ Clubs, 1878–1940,” typescript, Mothers’ Study Club, Box 1, Folder 9; “Winfred Whiting paper at 30th Anniversary of the Mothers Study Club, Dec. ‘44,” typescript, Box 1, Folder 6; typescript of talk “given at a Mothers Club Meeting, January 26, 1931,” no author, Box 1, Folder 5; and diary of club meetings, Mothers’ Thursday Club, vol. 2, p. 15.
12. Ethel P. Howes, Foreword, in Esther H. Stocks, A Community Home Assistants Experiment (Northampton, Mass.: Smith College, 1928).
13. Mothers’ Thursday Club, vol. 2, p. 15, n.d., Schlesinger Archives.
14. Agnes Durham, “The Educational Work [in home economics],” n.d., type-script, Bureau of Vocational Information (1919–1926), Box 7, Folder 115, Schlesinger Archives.
15. My account of the feelings of middle-class wives is drawn from letters to the Roosevelts and to the Women’s Bureau, questionnaire responses to YWCA surveys, magazine surveys, Women’s Bureau studies, and published accounts of housewives’ meetings. Letters to the Women’s Bureau are quoted in this and the succeeding chapter and identified in the text by place and date of correspondence. These letters are from NA RG 86, Box 923, Correspondence Household (Domestic), 1943–1947; Box 924, Correspondence Household (Domestic), 1941; Box 925, Correspondence Household (Domestic), 1936–1940; and Box 926, Correspondence Household (Domestic), 1933–1935. Popular articles collected in the files of the YWCA, National Committee on Household Employment, and Women’s Bureau indicate journalistic notions of what housewives were thinking or wanted to read. Advice books on how to do housework were produced by educated middle-class women and often made the point that the writer was recounting her own experiences. I have used this prescriptive material cautiously.
16. Benjamin R. Andrews, Economics of the Household: Its Administration and Finance (New York: Macmillan, 1923), 412.
17. Adams, Run of the House, 32–34.
18. Christine Frederick, Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Hame (Chicago: American School of Home Economics, 1920), 391.
19. Elizabeth Ross Haynes, “Negroes in Domestic Service in the United States,” Journal of Negro History 8 (October 1923): 431, cites an Indianapolis, Indiana, survey of 1922, which showed that 91.6 percent of households hiring domestic workers had electric irons.
20. Dorothy P. Wells and Carol Biba, eds., Fair and Clear in the Home (New York: Women’s Press, 1936), 42, describe a home that had been observed and reported as a model among YWCA housewives who employed servants.
21. Lydia Ray Balderston, from whose book, “Housewifery”: A Textbook of Practical Housekeeping 5th ed. (Chicago: Lippincott, 1936), Figure 1 was adapted, was identified as a former instructor in Housewifery and Laundering at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her book was regularly recommended for courses and in bibliographies, as its numerous editions suggest.
22. Marion Hurst, Household Employees Handbook (Oklahoma City: Dewing Publishing Company, 1939), 22. This text was recommended in Women’s Bureau publications and other bibliographies for its clear and detailed instructions.
23. Adams, Run of the House, 23.
24. Edith M. Barber, Speaking of Servants: How to Hire, Train and Manage Household Employees (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1940), 91.
25. Allison Gordon, What Shall We Do About Household Employment? (Washington, D.C.: American Association of University Women, 1940), Appendix I.
26. Instructions for stain removal and thorough cleaning abound. This particular list comes from “Detailed Unit Plans for a Course in Household Service,” Kansas State College Department of Education, Summer 1938, NCHE MSS, Box 4.
27. Andrews, Economics of the Household (1923), 441–47, reported on a 1917 survey of commercial laundries by the New York City Department of Public Health. Andrews concluded that “the absence in the average steam laundry of proper sorting rooms for the clean linen and the consequent contact with soiled linen may result in a possible reinfection of the clean clothes.” Guarding her home against contact with external pollution was a major part of the housewife’s job.
28. O. E. Schoeffler and William Gale, Esquire’s Encyclopedia of 20th Century Men’s Fashions (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), 198–202. The authors connected the nineteenth-century invention of the detached collar with women’s housework. “A Mrs. Hannah Montague of Troy, New York,” they said, “is credited with creating the detached collar, which . . . was ‘to hold the world by the neck for one brief, shining century.’ Legend has it that one day in 1820, to reduce the drudgery of producing a fresh shirt every day for her blacksmith husband, Mrs. Montague simply snipped off the collar and washed it. Thus was born the first detachable collar” (p. 199). I thank Shay Cunliffe for directing me to this valuable source.
29. This laundry routine is a composite drawn from Jean Littlejohn Aaberg, Don’t Phone Mother (Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Company, 1940), 33–35, and Hurst, Household Employees Handbook, 102–6.
30. Aaberg, Don’t Phone Mother, 33.
31. Ibid., 36, 37.
32. Adams, Run of the House, 60.
33. Harvey Levenstein, Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), describes the development of new nutrition by home economists working in food laboratories and then the addition of the newer nutrition, which was spawned by commercial companies seeking to sell products infused with newly discovered “protective” vitamins and minerals to prevent illness. Andrews, Economics of the Household (1923), concluded, on the basis of collegiate laboratory experiments, that “the work connected with food preparation (exclusive of time at table) [is] the largest single task in housekeeping” (p. 403). By food preparation, he means preparing food, setting the table, and washing dishes after the meals.
34. Hazel Young, The Working Girl Must Eat (Boston: Little, Brown, 1944). This is the eighth printing of a recipe book originally published in 1938. My English Department colleagues Gail Paster, Judith Plotz, and Ann Romines spotted the imperative in the phrase “preparations for the future,” which appears in every day’s dinner plan.
35. Helen Drusilla Lockwood, Professor of Literature, Vassar College, “A Democratic Concept of Household Employment,” delivered at Symposium on Household Employment, November 28, 1939, p. 20, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.
36. “The Time It Takes to Keep House: A Thursdays-off-and-on Time Project for Employers,” Woman’s Press 34 (January 1940): 20.
37. Benjamin R. Andrews, Economics of the Household: Its Administration and Finance, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1935), 297.
38. “All in the Family,” Woman’s Press 22 (February 1928): 82–85, quote on p. 84.
39. Frederick, Household Engineering, 396–97.
40. Hurst, Household Employees Handbook, 60–61. Numerous books taught appropriate serving. Lucy G. Allen’s Table Service (Boston: Little, Brown, 1937) was first printed in 1915, with second and third editions in 1924 and 1933. By 1937 the book had gone through five printings.
41. B. Eleanor Johnson, Household Employment in Chicago, Women’s Bureau Bulletin 106 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1933), 22. Sally Buck (Mrs. Paul H. Buck), “Concerning the Early Days of Cambridge Home Information Center,” n.d., typescript, Cambridge Home Information Center MSS, Box 1, Folder 1, Schlesinger Archives, describes the organization’s formation during World War I to plan food conservation activities, which led to canning projects and “the first successful demand for labeling of ingredients in canned goods.”
42. Alice Bradley, Electric Refrigerator Menus and Recipes (Cleveland: General Electric Company, 1927), was dedicated to “the Modern American Homemaker” and tells how “not only fresh food supplies but left-overs are kept from spoiling” (p. 11) Bradley is identified as “Principal of Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery” and “Cooking Editor of Woman’s Home Companion.” Levenstein, Revolution at the Table, 156; his chapters 12 and 13 are good on the proliferation of canned and frozen products.
43. Young, The Working Girl Must Eat, 22.
44. Bradley, Electric Refrigerator Menus, 57–59, for cold soups and aspic jelly, and 97–100, for “Twenty-Seven Flavors for Frozen Desserts.”
45. Lita Price and Harriet Bonnet, How to Manage Without a Maid (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1942), 77.
46. Frederick, Household Engineering, 396. Frederick considered a servantless house one without a live-in, full-time servant.
47. Andrews, Economics of the Household (1935), 442, citing data collected by the Bureau of Home Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, which were presented in Household Management and Kitchens, vol. 9 (Washington, D.C.: President’s Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership, 1932), 27–28, 36.
48. Johnson, Household Employment in Chicago, 21.
49. Amey E. Watson, Household Employment in Philadelphia, Women’s Bureau Bulletin 93 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1932).
50. Levenstein, Revolution at the Table, 162.
51. Shapiro, Perfection Salad, concludes that by the 1930s “cookery could be seen, in the light of technology, as a brief and impersonal relation with food. And food itself could be understood as a simple necessity, one that ought to be manipulated and brought under control as quickly and neatly as bodily functions were handled by modern plumbing” (p. 228). As a reminder of life and of humans’ connection with nature, both through eating food and experiencing its natural course through the body into excrement, food is charged with significances of goodness and badness learned in infancy. Although I take Levenstein’s and Shapiro’s point that food is a cultural norm, which changes regularly, I find that the changes of the 1920s make sense as the underside of consumerism. As people buy “goodies,” they also turn on their “bad” bodies and ignore their own physical realities, a topic more fully discussed in Chapter Seven. They substitute the satisfactions of “clean” purchases for sensual gratifications of their “bad” bodies.
52. Rima D. Apple, “The Commercialization of Scientific Motherhood in the United States, 1880–1950,” paper delivered at the Seventh Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, June 1987, describes how advertisers made scientific claims for products for infants and simultaneously used emotional appeals to mothers, who were expected to evaluate products.
53. Topics listed are found in records from the four Cambridge Mothers’ Clubs, note 11 above.
54. “Some Subjects That Have Interested Mothers’ Clubs, 1878–1940,” p. 11, typescript, Mothers’ Study Club, Box 1, Folder 9, Schlesinger Archives.
55. “Written and Read to the Mothers Discussion Club on the Occasion of the Golden Anniversary, Dec. 6, 1949, by Frances H. Eliot,” p. 6, typescript, Mothers’ Discussion Club, Box 2, Folder 13, ibid.
56. “We Illiterate Alumnae,” n.d., Women’s Education and Industrial Union MSS, Box 9, Folder 77, ibid.
57. Bulletin of the Bureau of Part-Time Work, 105 West 40th Street, New York City, n.d., ibid., Folder 72. The bulletin noted that the bureau was established because “many women with specialized training and valuable experience are available for regular employment on this part-time basis, that is, mornings or afternoons, nearly a full day, or two or three full days a week, etc.”
58. “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” 24. Hilda Worthington Smith MSS, Box 15, File 254, Schlesinger Archives.
59. Quoted by Eunice Fuller Barnard, “Calls for a Kitchen Code Now Resound,” New York Times Magazine, October 14, 1934.
60. Catherine Hackett, “A Code for Housewives,” Forum 91 (April 1934): 238–42.
61. Gordon, What Shall We Do About Household Employment? Appendix I, reporting on an American Association of University Women survey in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, gives the modal answer to the question “What daily duties does the hostess [employer] assume?” as “They made the beds and kept the bedrooms in order except for cleaning and did the marketing, took care of the children and did the cooking.” Two questions later, however, the survey reports, “In every case the employers said they expected the children to obey the maid when left with her—and in no case did the maids object to children,” which implies that the maids also did child care.
62. “Statements of Household Problems Presented to a Meeting Sponsored by the National Committee on Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home,” n.d., typescript, NA RG 86, Box 928.
63. Andrews, Economics of the Household (1923), chap. 12, “Household Operation—Housework,” 402. By the 1935 edition, time in baby care had gone up to 5 hours, 41 minutes per day (p. 445).
64. The typescript, “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” tells of the encounter between household workers meeting at the Hudson Shore Labor School and of “employers of household workers attending the Vassar Summer Institute at Vassar College,” meeting under the supervision of Caroline Ware. See section 5, “Budgeting for Household Service,” 29–35.
65. Leisa Bronson, Claremont, California, to Miss McGrew, December 6, 1938, YWCA MSS, Box 43, Sophia Smith Collection.
66. Dorothy Wells, national office, to Mrs. F. W. Meier, New Orleans YWCA Employment Secretary, November 9, 1933, YWCA MSS, Reel 98.2, Household Employment—Local Surveys.
67. “Wages, Hours and Working Conditions of Domestic Employees in Connecticut,” Monthly Labor Review 43 (December 1936): 1508–13, reporting a study conducted by the Connecticut Department of Labor and Factory Inspection.
68. Dorothy Dunbar Bromley, “Are Servants People?” Scribner’s December 1933, pp. 377–79.
69. Lucy Randolph Mason, General Secretary of the National Consumers’ League, “The Perfect Treasure,” Junior League Magazine, February 1934, p. 36, NAACP MSS, Box C322, File Labor General, 1/12–6/14. “The perfect treasure” seems to have been a customary way to describe good servants, as if they were buried treasure that one could unearth and, of course, get for free. Employers talked of such a woman as their hiring goal, according to Katherine Davis, who found when she was president of the National Committee on Household Employment and spoke to employer groups about contracts and better conditions for servants that they were disappointed she was not, instead, lecturing about how to find “the perfect treasure” (Interview with Davis, June 11, 1988).
70. Grace Robinson, “My Maid—Impossible Female: A Search for the Perfect Servant,” Liberty 71 (March 22, 1930), 59.
71. “A Supplementary Article on Domestic Service Workers,” by the president of the Domestic Efficiency Association, 4, NA RG 86, Box 4, Correspondence Relating to Women’s Bureau Bulletin 39, Domestic Workers in Baltimore (1923) based on the Records of the Domestic Efficiency Association. This letter protesting the conclusions Women’s Bureau staff drew from the association’s records reveals the differences between reformers treating the servant problem as an issue of labor rights and housewives seeing it as an issue of household management. The anger and frustration of these harassed Baltimore matrons appears in their remark that “the very people who contend that domestic service ought to be performed on the 8 hour day principle, are found to be themselves luxuriating in the old-fashioned almost feudal service” (p. 5).
72. Hurst, Household Employees Handbook, 7–8.
73. Helen C. Wright, Sunset’s Household Handbook (San Francisco: Lane, 1941), 116.
74. Gordon, What Shall We Do About Household Equipment? Appendix I.
75. Mrs. M. H. Stearne, Birmingham, Alabama, “The Case for the Household Employer,” in “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” Hilda Worthington Smith MSS, Box 15, File 254, Schlesinger Archives.
76. Wells and Biba, eds., Fair and Clear in the Home, 52–53.
77. Ibid., 53.
78. Ibid., 34.
1. Frances E. Olsen, “The Family and the Market: A Study of Ideology and Legal Reform,” Harvard Law Review 96 (May 1983): 1497–1578, is a cogent description of the mentality of dichotomized household–marketplace thought. Previous historical work documenting how the dichotomy grew as household work and its organization diverged from production work and its organization is found in Nancy F. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), 58–62.
2. The insight that housewives and domestics had different religious observances and values came as a result of questions raised by Richard Strassberg, director of the Labor Management Documentation Center, Cornell University, and historian of American religion. Once aware of religious differences between housewives and servants, one notes substantial evidence, as in Evelyn Nakano Glenn’s account of Japanese women serving whites, that cultural differences exacerbated work tensions. Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, “‘This Work Had a End’: African-American Domestic Workers in Washington, D.C., 1910–1940,” in Carol Groneman and Mary Beth Norton, eds., “To Toil the Livelong Day”: America’s Women at Work, 1780–1980 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), argues that a major impetus for black women’s seeking day work was to participate in church associations unavailable to the domestic with only Thursday and Sunday afternoons (after church services) free. Child rearing was another arena for culturally based disagreements. Historians of family practices, notably Jacques Donzelot in The Policing of Families (New York: Pantheon Books, 1979), have pointed out that in the eighteenth century striking divergences in working-class and middle-class child-rearing notions became evident. Working-class children were more constricted and physically punished and middle-class children were allowed free movement and punished emotionally by withdrawl of approval. How divergent values were negotiated by the working-class domestic caring for middle-class children has not been studied, as is pointed out by anthropologist Shellee Colen in her presentation “Stratified Reproduction: West Indian Child Care and Domestic Workers in New York City” on the panel “The Intersection of Class, Gender and Race: North American Women of Color in Domestic Service,” National Women’s Studies Association Conference, Spelman College, June 1987.
3. Grace Robinson, “My Maid—Impossible Female: A Search for the Perfect Servant,” Liberty 71 (March 22, 1930): 52–53; “The Servant in the Home,” Fortune 4 (December 1931) reports the “heterogeneous aspect” of domestic workers on the Pacific coast, by which the author means that the usual black worker was joined by Scandinavian women, Chinese men, and Indian schoolgirls (p. 46).
4. Lois Rita Helmbold, “Making Choices, Making Do: Black and White Working Women’s Lives and Work During the Great Depression” (Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1982), concludes that “working in exchange for a place to live was the single most common Depression strategy which unattached women used to provide themselves with housing when they could not find the money to rent or own a home” (p. 87). My reading of the data is that this strategy was much more available to white working-class women than to nonwhite women because more white women became resident workers than did black women. Lois Rita Helmbold, “Beyond the Family Economy: Black and White Working-Class Women During the Great Depression,” Feminist Studies 13 (Fall 1987): 629–55, agrees, on the basis of her sample of northeastern and midwestern cities, that “white women replaced black women [in various occupations] by moving down the occupational ladder of desirability. For black women already on the bottom rung, there was no lower step, and they were effectively pushed out of the labor force” (p. 636).
5. “Changing Proportion of Negroes in Population of North and South,” Monthly Labor Review 18 (March 1924): 10–12. Mary Anderson, “The Employment and Unemployment of Negro Women,” July 1934, p. 3, typescript, NA RG 86, Box 1601; George J. Stigler, Domestic Servants, in the United States, 1900–1940 (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research Occasional Paper 24, 1946), 9:
6. Their own racial isolation may have led African-American domestics to isolate Jewish employers as the one distinct “racial” group among white middle-class employers. Black and white domestic workers spoke of Jewish employers as unreasonable in their service demands and cheap in payment. A partial reason seems to have been Jewish employers’ keeping kosher households. St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton speculated, in Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1945), “The statements of Negro servants about middle-class Jewish employers reflect all the derogatory anti-Semitic stereotypes which exist among white people. Yet, many of these same servants will praise Jewish employers for being ‘less prejudiced’ than other white employers. At least two-thirds of some 150 domestic servants [in Chicago] who spoke of Jews thought that they treated Negroes ‘more like equals’ than other employers but ‘paid less’” (p. 244).
7. Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family, from Slavery to the Present (New York: Vintage Books, 1986), 182.
8. Clark S. Hobbs, “The Whip Changes Hands,” Baltimore Evening Sun, May 16, 1941, p. 30, reported that in Baltimore “the supply of domestic servants is closely related to the payroll of Bethlehem Steel Company, the largest single employer of Negro men in this locality. A layoff there has always sent hundreds of women scurrying out in search of jobs, and the resumption of activity has always had a contrary effect” (Series 13, Box 1, Bethune Museum-Archives). My analysis of the Jackson, Mississippi, data from the 1934–1936 Family Disbursements survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed a similar pattern; see Chapter One, above, at note 28.
9. Erna Magnus, “Domestic Workers in Philadelphia: Summary and Conclusions,” 1940, pp. 1, 5, typescript, NCHE MSS, Box 5.
10. Julia Kirk Blackwelder, Women of the Depression: Caste and Culture in San Antonio, 1929–1939 (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1984), 62.
11. B. Eleanor Johnson, Household Employment in Chicago, Women’s Bureau Bulletin 106 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1933), 43.
12. Clark-Lewis, “‘This Work Had a End,’” makes the point forcefully that black women domestics were “active forces in history” (p. 212) as they left secure resident jobs for day work, formed clubs of working women who gained influence in black churches and neighborhoods, and opened savings accounts (p. 208).
13. Elizabeth Ross Haynes, “Negroes in Domestic Service in the United States,” Journal of Negro History 8 (October 1923): 425.
14. Ibid., 422, cites the following statistics:
15. Christine Frederick, Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home (Chicago: American School of Home Economics, 1920), section “The Servantless Household,” 400.
16. Haynes, “Negroes in Domestic Service,” 427.
17. Ibid., 433. Clark-Lewis, “‘This Work Had a End,’” recounts how one of her interviewees assessed the employers’ hypocrisy about Sundays: “They’d get up and go out to Sunday morning church. . . . He’d act like Sunday was such a holy day around there. He made it clear Sundays was a day of rest. But us? We’d work like dogs just the same. We didn’t get no rest on that day” (p. 210).
18. Robinson, “My Maid.”
19. Frederick, Household Engineering, 409. Frederick included various part-time and day-work arrangements under the category of “The Servantless Household.” Her terminology indicates that housewives did not think that day work was the same as service.
20. Haynes, “Negroes in Domestic Service,” 391–92.
21. Johnson, Household Employment in Chicago, “Character of the Employee Group,” 44, 32. A 1923 Women’s Bureau survey of the records of the Baltimore Domestic Efficiency Association likewise found cooking a favorite task for black women, following closely after “maid’s work.” For white women, “maid’s work” was also the preference, with nursing as a second choice. Neither group of women wanted to do “general work,” arguably the most all-encompassing and hard of the domestic categories.
22. “An Evaluation of Household Employment as an Occupation,” by 125 household employees, summarized by Stella Paula Manor for the Industrial Branch, National Board, YWCA, typescript in NCHE MSS, Box 4, Folder 8.
23. See Chapter Three, note 15, for the full citations to correspondence in the Women’s Bureau files in the National Archives, RG 86. In conversation with Evelyn Glenn, I realized I had seen no letters from Mexican-American, Japanese-American, Philippine, or Indian women. Letters were from native-born, ethnically unidentified white and African-American women and from women identified as Scandinavian, German, and French Canadian. For the women’s stories to be documented in public records, Glenn suggested, they had to know English.
24. Lois Bailey, “Slave Markets,” 1939, typescript, SF Employment—Domestics (2), Schlesinger Archives; “Minutes of Sub-Committee Meeting of the Committee on Street Corner Markets, August 20, 1941,” organized by the New York Women’s Trade Union League, typescript, NCHE MSS, Box 3, Folder 20. The Harlem office of the New York State Employment Service reported that domestic workers preferred parttime work because “two part time jobs usually bring $15 per week and [car]fare, with much shorter hours. . . . Through cooperative efforts of Domestic Service in all offices, the scale rate for morning and afternoon domestic part time has increased. A standard rate has been accepted for days’ work” (Annual report, Box 322, File “Labor General,” 1/29–3/24 1937, NAACP MSS).
25. Bettina Berch, “‘The Sphinx in the Household’: A New Look at the History of Household Workers,” Review of Radical Political Economics 16, no. 1 (Spring 1984): 105–21, points out that middle-class reformers and housewives thought they could increase the supply of domestics by raising the status of housework. The best way to raise status was by providing workers more training. The low status of the job presumably derived from its irregular training and recruitment. Reformers had taken this conclusion from Lucy Salmon’s classic and oft-cited Domestic Service (1893). The “Salmon solution,” as I call it, dominated middle-class discussions during the 1930s. Workers often agreed that they could use more training and would like to learn how to do parts of the work better. But they always returned to labor laws as an equally essential and more direct means of gaining respect.
26. Erna Magnus, “The Social, Economic, and Legal Conditions of Domestic Servants: II,” International Labor Review 30 (September 1934): 336–64, examined the legal status of domestic service and concluded that it had generally been unregulated and construed as legally different from other work, so that the domestic had less legal recourse than virtually any other class of worker. Magnus’s expertise, gained as a German economist working for the International Labor Organization (ILO), was useful to housework reform groups when she was forced to immigrate to the United States in 1938. She became affiliated with the National Committee on Household Employment and, with its backing, was funded by the Social Security Board to study the possibility of including domestic workers under the retirement and unemployment provisions of the Social Security Act.
27. The YWCA surveyed employment offices in 1933 to assess the impact of the Depression on workers hired through YWCA employment offices. Some were found to offer no pay at all, but only room and board. Others sought to raise hours: “Some employers offer work for every other day in the week, paying part-time wages and crowding in a whole week’s work.” Survey results were reported by Margaret T. Applegarth, “Is the Lady-of-the-House at Home?” Woman’s Press 28 (November 1933): 472–74, 490. For black women whose ancestors experienced slavery in the American South, the irregular relations of domestic work seemed more like a return to enslavement than it did to women of racial and ethnic groups that had not experienced slavery. Other groups used the label but without the same historical meaning. I realized this difference after hearing a penetrating commentary by Barbara Omolade at the Feminism and Legal Theory Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, June 1986. I thank Professor Martha Fineman, University of Wisconsin Law School, for this informative occasion.
28. Perla Kerosec-Serfaty, “Experience and the Use of the Dwelling,” in Irwin Altman and Carol M. Werner, eds., Home Environments (New York: Plenum, 1985), 65–86. Kerosec-Serfaty, a French phenomenologist, observes, “In any dwelling, there exists a particular way of establishing the relationship between the ‘hidden’ and the ‘shown’ whatever the nature of this hidden may be, for example, women, servants and their hall, or the body” (pp. 73–74). She examines the impact of burglary and concludes, “The loss of mastery over the visible/hidden distinction goes together with a feeling of disgust due to a gross, arrogant, imposed contact. . . . This emphasizes one’s . . . vulnerability” (p. 78). My George Washington University American Studies colleague Clarence Mondale recommended this fascinating article.
29. Erna Magnus, “The Social, Economic, and Legal Conditions of Domestic Servants: I,” International Labor Review 30 (August 1934): 193, describes this phenomenon and notes that in 1928, 28 percent of Swedish domestics were aliens, a pattern Magnus attributes to the shortage of workers, which necessitated importing them. I am suggesting that the reverse may also be true—that employers sought workers different from themselves and thus preferred foreign-born to native-born workers.
30. BC 321, 1/6–12/16 1931, NAACP MSS.
31. “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” 20. Hilda Worthington Smith MSS, Box 15, File 254, Schlesinger Archives.
32. Virginia McGregor, “A Study of the Wages of Household Employees in the Y.W.C.A.’s of Thirteen Illinois Communities” (1939), NCHE MSS, Box 5.
33. Mary Heiner, University of Chicago, “Regulating Hours Through the Use of Time Schedules,” typescript of conference paper, February 1929, NWTUL MSS, Box 2, File 24, Schlesinger Archives.
34. Anonymous letter to Marie Carrel (Women’s Bureau researcher), n.d., NA RG 86, Box 926.
35. Community Council of St. Louis, “Study of Household Employment in St. Louis,” April 1935, typescript in YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98, Household Employment—Studies.
36. Applegarth, “Is the Lady-of-the-House at Home?” 474.
37. “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” 11.
38. Household Employees News 1 (February 1942), NCHE MSS, Box 3, Folder 12. The newsletter was published in San Francisco by the Sutter Street YWCA.
39. “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” 25.
40. Household Employees News 1 (February 1942): 6, NCHE MSS, Box 3, Folder 12.
41. Community Council of St. Louis, “Study of Household Employment in St. Louis,” April 1935, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.
42. Domestic Employees Club, Inc., flyer “Would you Tolerate Domestic Slavery?” printed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1935, NCHE MSS, Box 4.
43. “Labor and Democracy in the Home,” 10.
44. Box C-322, File “Labor—General June 16–December 12, 1934,” NAACP MSS. A number of child “horror” stories are in the odd collection put together by the Chicago YWCA’s committee on Household Employment, The Women in the House: Stories of Household Employment, ed. Ruth Sergel (New York: Woman’s Press, 1938). All the chapters have case studies, vignettes that illustrate domestic workers’ thinking and housewives’ interpretation of disagreements about policies for doing particular jobs and about the etiquette of housewife–domestic relations. Chapter 9 is “The Child in the House.” The book illustrates the YWCA’s effort to mediate between housewife and the domestic, and the cases are evenly divided in demonstrating domestics’ stupidity or backwardness and housewives’ stupidity and arrogance. In general, domestics perceived that parents took the child’s side whenever the domestic and child disagreed.
45. Gene Nicholson, secretary and organizer, Domestic Employees Union, San Diego, California, to Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, November 24, 1933, in which she outlines a model code adopted by organized domestic workers (NA RG 86, Box 926).
46. Marion Hurst, Household Employees Handbook (Oklahoma City: Dewing Publishing Company, 1939), 26. Margaret T. Mettert, Injuries to Women in Personal Service Occupations in Ohio, Women’s Bureau Bulletin 151 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1937), gave data of injury claims from an Ohio law that covered employers with three or more employees. Most injuries to female domestic workers in these households with large staffs and, therefore, presumably not the worst working conditions, were cuts and lacerations, burns and scalds, usually of hands and fingers. Though these might be seen as minor injuries, 40 percent of the 1933 claimants had over 7 days’ disability (pp. 2–3).
47. The Household Worker in New York State, 1948 (Albany: New York State Department of Labor, Division of Reasearch and Statistics, 1948), 32.
48. Applegarth, “Is the Lady-of-the-House at Home?” 473.
49. NA RG 86, Box 923.
50. Irene Colwell, Special Agent, United States Employment Service, to Mary Anderson, March 12, 1932, NA RG 86, Box 273.
51. Julietta K. Arthur, Bridget Goes to the Doctor (American Medical Association, 1941), NA RG 86, Box 923.
52. Household Employees News 1 (September 1941), NCHE MSS, Box 3, Folder 12.
53. Household Work in New York State, 1948, 23
54. Mary Viola Robinson, Old-Age Insurance of Household Workers, U. S. Women’s Bureau Bulletin, 220 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, November, 1945), 14–15, summarizing Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, The Employed Woman Homemaker in the United States, Women’s Bureau Bulletin 148 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1936), 6–7, 10–12.
55. Erna Magnus, “Negro Domestic Workers in Private Homes in Baltimore,” Social Security Bulletin 4, no. 10 (October 1941): 1–3; Erna Magnus, “Domestic Workers in Philadelphia Summary and Conclusions,” typescript, NCHE MSS, Box 5.
56. United States Employment Service, drafts of standards for housework jobs, May 1945, Series 5, Folder 195, Bethune Museum–Archives.
1. Contemporary historians have debated the wisdom of women’s seeking professional recognition through the development of segregated fields as opposed to integrating themselves into men’s professional schools and societies. Mary Roth Walsh, “Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply”: Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession, 1835–1975 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), and Margaret W. Rossiter, Women Scientists of America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), demonstrate that integration generally meant official quotas and unofficial barriers to women’s training and professional recognition. The perils of segregation, on the other hand, were self-restriction and development in the narrow channels that men left to women. In either situation, women took what men let them have. When men decided that a field had promise, as happened in home economics after World War II, they simply took over the structures created by women. In this instance, the male influx was accompanied by a new name, human ecology, that indicated the transformation of the discipline from home-centeredness to human-centeredness, from female to male.
2. Rossiter, Women Scientists, chap. 8, describes the employment of women scientists in government, with a significant group being in “feminized” programs such as home economics. The director of the Bureau of Home Economics in the Department of Agriculture, Louise A. Stanley, was “the highest-ranking woman scientist in the federal government” in 1938 (p. 229).
3. Rossiter, ibid., notes that when male-led scientific groups achieved professional standing, they raised requirements to force out the nondegreed, unpublished science workers or to justify giving them a different and lesser status in the organization. By the beginning of the century, these groups had established that one test to recognize a professional group was that it excluded amateurs: the amateur–professional distinction supposedly measured competence or seriousness among those who pursued the same work and research interests.
4. Annegret S. Ogden, The Great American Housewife: From Helpmate to Wage Earner, 1776–1986, Contributions in Women’s Studies 61 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986), reviews influential prescriptive literature to demonstrate that this has been the dominant image of the good life for women and of the good woman throughout the entire national history.
5. Mary Schenck Woolman, Chair of Women’s Committee, to Cleo Murtland, Secretary of Women’s Work, September 11, 1915, Container 31, NSPIE MSS, “Women’s Discussions of Principles and Policies,” Meeting of Women’s Committee of the NSPIE, February 21, 1917, Container 21, ibid.
6. Mary Schenck Woolman to Cleo Murtland, May 9, 1915; Woolman to Dodd, May 29, 1915; Woolman to Murtland, June 11, 1915, Container 31, ibid.
7. David Snedden to H. E. Miles, February 9, 1920, Container 17, ibid.
8. Charlotte Williams Conable, “Woman’s Work in Woman’s Place: An Analysis of the Home Economics Profession,” unpublished paper, 1975, available from Women’s Studies Program, George Washington University; Charlotte Williams Conable, Women at Cornell: The Myth of Equal Education (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), chap. 4, “The Education of Womanly Women and Manly Men, 1885–1960.” Rossiter, Women Scientists, 199–202, describes how home economists fought for research facilities and the status of research faculty during the 1920s, even though the bulk of their university work was training teachers to staff high school home economics programs.
9. Conable, Women at Cornell, 113–15; Geraldine Joncich Clifford, “‘Marry, Stitch, Die, or Do Worse’: Educating Women for Work,” in Harvey Kantor and David Tyack, eds., Work, Youth, and Schooling: Historical Perspectives on Vocationalism in American Education (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1982), 223–68.
10. “1926–1928 Biennial Survey of Home Economics Education,” NA RG 12, Box 107. Rossiter, Women Scientists, 258–59, describes “women scientists’ greatest success in the 1920s and 1930s [as] the food and home products industry, which not only hired many of them, but, like home economics departments at universities and bureaus in government, even promoted some of them as well.”
11. Helen Pundt, AHEA: A History of Excellence (Washington, D.C.: American Home Economics Association, 1980), surveys reports in the American Home Economics Journal that show the association working from 1920 to 1926 for the Fess Amendmendment. The group finally desisted in the face of President Calvin Coolidge’s hostility to bills requiring increased government expenditure (p. 56).
12. Black Women Oral History Project, Interview with Flemmie P. Kittrell, OH-31, Schlesinger Archives.
13. James D. Anderson, “The Historical Development of Black Vocational Education,” in Kantor and Tyack, eds., Work, Youth and Schooling, 180–222, 186ff.; Linda Marie Fritschner, “The Rise and Fall of Home Economics” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Davis, 1973), 65–68, 95; Alvin Dodd, NSPIE secretary, to Edward Trigg, Hampton Institute, February 23, 1915, explaining scholarship given by NSPIE to Trigg: “Many of the methods which we first worked out and improved upon at Hampton are now being put into operation for the benefit of white boys and girls so that you see in reality the negro has set an example for the kind of training which will be of great value and service to whites as well as blacks” (NSPIE MSS, Container 21).
14. Anderson, “Black Vocational Education,” 193, 186.
15. Fritschner, “Rise and Fall of Home Economics,” 65.
16. Texas V. E. Plans, 1927–1932, NA RG 12, Container 80.
17. American Home Economics Association press release on the Fess Home Economics Amendment (H. R. 21), n.d., NSPIE MSS, Container 5.
18. “Pamphlet on the Fess Amendment,” sponsored by American Home Economics Association, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Parent-Teachers Association, League of Women Voters, National Society for Vocational Education, American Association of University Women, National Grange, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, ibid.
19. California Report to U.S. Office of Education, 1930–1931, NA RG 12, Container 9, California Vocational Education F & S (Financial and Statistical) Reports, 1917–1935. Adelaide S. Baylor, Chief, Home Economics Education Service, U.S. Office of Education, to Lillian Peek, State Supervisor of Home Economics, State Board for Vocational Education, Austin, March 25, 1932, NA RG 12, Container 80, Texas V. E. Plans, 1922–1937.
20. Texas F & S Reports, 1923–1924, 1927–1928, NA RG 12, Container 80. Though federal instructions required states to identify schools in which only “colored” students were enrolled, it did not require the indentification of Mexicans. The Texas school authorities, nevertheless, named such schools in El Paso and in the Rio Grande Valley in Pharr, Weslaco, and Cotulla.
21. California State Board of Education, Documents Relating to Vocational Education, Bulletin 23-A (Sacramento: California State Printing Office, 1921), 42–43, in NA RG 12, Container 10, California V.E. Plans, 1921–1937.
22. Board of Vocational Education, State of Illinois, Statement of Plans and Policies, 1927–1932, Bulletin 44 (Springfield, Ill.: N.p., n.d.), in NA RG 12, Container 21, Illinois V. E. Plans, 1917–1937.
23. State of Ohio Department of Education, Home Economics: Course of Study for High Schools in Vocational Home Economics Education (Columbus: N.p., 1930) 14, 35.
24. State of Georgia, Annual F & S Reports, 1917–1918, in NA RG 12, Container 16.
25. Mary Romero, “Transcending or Reproducing Hierarchy Between Women? Chicana Private Household Workers’ Relationships with Employers,” paper presented at the 1988 National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference, Springfield, Mass., p. 17, and quoting Mario T. Garcia, Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880–1920 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 112.
26. Texas F & S Report, 1927–1928, NA RG 12, Container 81.
27. Evelyn C. Adams, American Indian Education: Government Schools and Economic Progress (Morningside Heights, N.Y.: King’s Crown Press, 1946), 72.
28. California V.E. F & S Report, 1930–1931, NA RG 12, Container 9.
29. Illinois V.E. F & S Reports, 1928–1929, 1930–1931, Container 22, ibid.
30. Virginia V. E. F & S, 1935–1936, Container 87, ibid.
31. Carrie Lyford, A Study of Home-Economics Education in Teacher-Training Institutions for Negroes, Bulletin 79 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Federal Board for Vocational Education, 1923), 5.
32. Texas V.E. Plans, 1932–1937, NA RG 12, Container 80; Alabama V.E. Plans, 1917–1937, Container 23, ibid.; National Training School for Women and Girls catalog, ca. 1938, Carton 309, Nannie Helen Burroughs MSS, LC.
33. Box 308, “National Association of Women Wage-Earners,” and Scrapbook, Carton 345, Nannie Helen Burroughs MSS, LC. Evelyn Brooks Barnett, “Nannie Burroughs and the Education of Black Women,” in Sharon Harley and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, eds., The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1978), 97–108, emphasizes Burroughs’s commitment to the “puritan work ethic,” to pride in black culture, and to the need for women’s elevation within the race.
34. Iris Prouty O’Leary, New Jersey home economist, to Lyman Abbott, NSPIE, January 1921, NSPIE MSS, Container 17. Typescript, “Editorial,” (1924) illustrates the class and content confusion, with some questions for home economics teachers to ask themselves: “Have I over-emphasized training in technical skills and underemphasized problems of management? . . . Have I established standards of living that are just a little better than those the girls are accustomed to in their homes (in general), but no better than they can hope to attain?” (ibid., Container 7).
35. U.S. Advisory Committee on Education, Vocational Education, Staff Study 8 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938), 141, citing U.S. Office of Education, Standard of Policies (1937), 61. Pundt, AHEA, summarizes the associations interests during the 1930s as moving from helping the housewife at home to monitoring advertising claims to protect housewives as consumers and teaching parents about new theories of child development and parental education “that had received impetus under the terms of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial grant” to the association (pp. 140–41).
36. U.S. Advisory Committee on Education, Vocational Education, 141–43.
37. My understanding of the character, motives, and strategies of the leaders who won relief funds for unemployed and poor women is heavily indebted to the work of Martha H. Swain, biographer of Ellen Woodward and author of “ER and Ellen Woodward: A Partnership for Women’s Work Relief and Security,” in Joan Hoff-Wilson and Marjorie Lightman, eds., Without Precedent: The Life and Career of Eleanor Roosevelt (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), and to Susan Wladaver-Morgan’s excellent analysis of the politics of funding and cultural norms of projects in “Young Women and the New Deal: Camps and Resident Centers, 1933–1943” (Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1982).
38. Ellen S. Woodward to Helen Swanson, Consultant Dietician, Texas Relief Commission, February 6, 1935, FERA State Series 453 “Texas,” NA RG 69.
39. Wladaver-Morgan, “Young Women and the New Deal,” 138–39, 161–62, describes the more innovative aspects of FERA projects and the conservatism that appeared when projects focused only on jobs and possibly encouragement of women to enter the labor market. At that point, WPA programs ceased to encourage nontraditional work. WPA work projects limited the use of housekeeping aides, and newly passed Social Security legislation enabled local relief authorities to certify women heads of household with children under age sixteen for Aid for Dependent Children (ADC) payments rather than for jobs. Women with children would stay at home to do their own housework; women with housekeeping skills would find fewer relief jobs available. What Wladaver-Morgan misses, I think, is the racial effect of forcing black women, unlikely to be certified for ADC by southern officials and with only housekeeping job skills, into the domestic labor market.
40. Wladaver-Morgan, “Young Women and the New Deal,” 167, citing “Preliminary Report on Household Workers’ Training Program,” WPA General Subject Series, Entry 230, and WPA Division of Information, Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-B, News Release, March 22, 1938, both in NA RG 69.
41. Edward Lawson, “The WPA’s ‘Good Neighbors,’” Service 2 (March 1938): 8–10. Lowell F. James, former assistant project supervisor, New York City WPA Housekeeping Aides, to Walter White, NAACP, July 8, 1938, NAACP MSS, Box C418, File 7.2–8.5.
42. Report: Division of Women’s and Professional Projects, Works Progress Administration. Part Three. Accomplishments of Non-Federal Projects Accomplishments of Information Section, July 1, 1935 to January 1, 1937, 299–300, 305, no shelf number, NA RG 69.
43. Toledo (Ohio) Blade, November 3, 1938; Wilmington (Delaware) Journal Every Evening, November 3, 1938, WPA Division of Information, Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 188, NA RG 69.
44. “Housekeepers Assigned to 67 Homes by WPA,” Syracuse (New York) Post Standard, February 21, 1937, ibid., Entry 187, NA RG 69.
45. WPA in Ohio, District Four, “Program Script,” for weekly broadcast, September 21, 1940, Station WGAR, Cleveland, Ohio, WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, NA RG 69.
46. “Housekeeping Aides,” October 9, 1940, Kansas, Entry 824-B, ibid.
47. WPA 1991, Map, “Female heads of families as % of all heads of families eligible for works program employment, as of January 15, 1936,” in An Analysis of Employment of Women on Works Progress Administration Projects, December 1935 through May 1936 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Works Progress Administration, 1923), 13.
48. Margaret Batjer to Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner, WPA, August 28, 1939, reporting on inspection of Louisiana home economics projects, WPA General Subject Series 212.2, Box 487, NA RG 69. Batjer reported that not all southern cities misused the program, citing Memphis, San Antonio, and Dallas as “operating successful Housekeeping Aide projects according to national policies.”
49. WPA of Louisiana, news release, October 24, 1940, to Item Tribune (New Orleans), WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, ibid.
50. Binghamton (New York) Press, December 28, 1935, ibid., Entry 825-A.
51. “WPA Household Workers’ Training and the U.S. Employment Service,” prepared by Miss Price for Employment Service News, typescript in ibid., Entry 824-B; Ellen S. Woodward, “Household Employment and the W.P.A.,” Journal of Home Economics 28 (September 1936): 440.
52. Ellen S. Woodward to Congresswoman Greenway, May 29, 1936, stated, “Though many of our women assigned to sewing and other projects were originally classified as domestic workers, actually most of them do not have the qualifications for this work.” A penciled note at the top of the page explained, “This letter was written in order to reply to a charge that women could not obtain household help because workers of this type were all assigned to sewing projects” (WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, NA RG 69). Susan Ware, Beyond Suffrage: Women in the New Deal (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981), 109, describes Woodward’s heavy reliance on sewing projects to provide relief employment for tens of thousands of women. Sewing saved women from solitary domestic work and, as a relief job, generally paid higher wages.
53. Ellen S. Woodward, Director, Women’s Work (FERA), to All State Emergency Relief Administrations, December 20, 1934, (NWTUL MSS), Box 3, Folder 25, Schlesinger Archives; National Committee on Household Employment, Bulletin 5 (December 1936), quoting Anna Marie Driscoll, “Household Workers Training Program,” WPA booklet, November 1936, NCHE MSS.
54. Report: Division of Women’s and Professional Projects, Works Progress Administration Part Three. Accomplishments of Non-Federal Projects Accomplishments of Information Section, July 1, 1935 to January 1, 1937, February 17, 1937, WPA, 4 bound vols., no shelf number, NA RG 69.
55. Florence Kerr, “Training for Household Employment,” Journal of Home Economics 32 (September 1940): 437.
56. “Meeting of the Household Employment Committee of the District of Columbia, April 2, 1937,” File 212.2, Box 487, NA RG 69.
57. “WPA Demonstration Projects to Employ ‘Domestic Workers,’” Press Digest, March 29, 1937, reporting “a local story in the Washington Star, Sunday, page A-4,” n.d., ibid., Entry 825-A.
58. Monthly Labor Review 48 (January 1939): 114.
59. Florence Kerr, “Training,” Journal of Home Economics 32 (September 1940): 438.
60. “Mrs. Pittsburgh in Hunt for Maid Finds Few Want Job; Employment Men Agree,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 2, 1936; George E. Sokolsky, “The Profession of Serving,” New York Herald Tribune, May 25, 1936; “Housekeepers Assigned to 67 Homes by WPA,” Syracuse Post-Standard, February 21, 1937, WPA Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 187, NA RG 69.
61. Report: Division of Women’s and Professional Projects, July 1, 1935 to January 1, 1937, 356–57, NA RG 69.
62. “Final Report of the Philadelphia Institute on Household Occupations,” 5, NWTUL MSS, Box 3.
63. “They Want WPA Jobs,” Toledo (Ohio) News-Bee, July 15, 1937, WPA Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 187, NA RG 69. Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family, from Slavery to the Present (New York: Vintage Books, 1986), reports that southern black women were dismissed from WPA jobs when crops needed harvesting; agricultural labor and domestic labor were the only jobs southern authorities would grant to black women (pp. 218–20).
64. “Home Service Classes,” excerpt from Massachusetts Narrative Report 19, November 20, 1936, WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, NA RG 69.
65. “Meeting of the Household Employment Committee of the District of Columbia, April 2, 1937,” File 212.2, Box 487, NA RG 69.
66. Jacksonville (Florida) Times Union, September 22, 1936, WPA Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 187, NA RG 69.
67. “Home Service Training Project in Durham, N.C.,” June 1938, WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, ibid.
68. “Home Service Classes,” excerpt from Massachusetts Narrative Report 19, November 20, 1936, ibid.
69. “Excerpt from Mississippi Narrative Report, November 1936,” ibid.
70. Ellen S. Woodward to State Emergency Relief Administrators, “Working Procedure: Vocational Training for General Household Workers—E4.11,” December 15, 1934, NWTUL MSS, Box 3.
71. “Project No. 7048 Entertains Visitors,” Baltimore Evening Sun, March 18, 1938, WPA Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 187, NA RG 69.
72. “Household Training Center Points Solution to Age-Old Maid Problem,” Hartford Times, May 19, 1939, ibid., Entry 188.
73. “Excerpt from New York City Press Release, November 17, 1937,” WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 824-A, ibid.
74. Swain, “ER and Ellen Woodward,” 145.
75. Kentucky state reports, National Youth Administration, NA RG 119.
76. WPA News Release to the Houma, Louisiana Courier, December 11, 1936, WPA Information Service Primary File, Entry 825-A, NA RG 69.
77. Ora Brown Stokes to Mary McLeod Bethune and Mrs. Winthrop D. Lane, May 1942, Box 617, NA RG 119.
78. Mary G. Shotwell to Lane, April 12–21, 1942, ibid.
79. “WPA Training Refugee Women for Cook Jobs,” Chicago Times, December 5, 1941, WPA Newspaper Clippings File, Entry 188, NA RG 69.
80. Mrs. Jud Sullivan, Vice-Chair, San Francisco unit of American Women Voluntary Services, to Frieda Miller, Director, U.S. Women’s Bureau, January 19, 1945, asked for help in getting federal Office of Education grants-in-aid to sponsor training schools for domestic workers to meet the anticipated postwar shortage. Mrs. Alfred Hess, American Women Voluntary Services, wrote Mjller, May 28, 1945, asking her to sponsor a national meeting to discuss how to attract women leaving industry back to household work (Box 928, NA RG 86.)
1. First Report of the Commission on Household Employment, to the Fifth National Convention of the Young Women’s Christian Association, May 5 to 11, 1915 (New York: Commission on Household Employment, 1915), 33.
2. Isabel Kimball Whiting, The Beam in Our Own Eyes: One Homemaker’s Experiment, Bulletin 4 (New York: [YWCA] Committee on Household Employment, 1917), 8.
3. Mary T. Waggaman, “Efforts to Standardize the Working Day for Domestic Service,” Monthly Labor Review 9 (August 1919): 512.
4. Genevieve Fox, “‘Wanted: for General Housework,’” Association Monthly 13 (September 1919): 362. A report on the Y’s cooperation with the U.S. Employment Service appeared in Waggaman, “Efforts to Standardize the Working Day,” 509–15.
5. “Resolutions No. 51 and 52,” adopted by the Seventh Biennial Convention, NWTUL MSS, Box 2, Folder 24.
6. Waggaman, “Efforts to Standardize the Working Day,” 515.
7. Judith A. Baer, The Chains of Protection: The Judicial Response to Women’s Labor Legislation, Contributions to Women’s Studies, 1 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978), describes state supreme court and U.S. Supreme Court responses to proliferating state legislation regulating maximum hours of work and minimum wages (chaps. 2 and 3). Ronnie Steinberg, Wages and Hours: Labor and Reform in Twentieth-Century America (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1982), chap. 3, “Early Labor Standards Legislation,” concludes that a substantial minority of states had adopted maximum hour and night work laws by 1900, but that the legislation ‘took off’ between 1900 and 1920” (p. 62).
8. Waggaman, “Efforts to Standardize the Working Day,” 514.
9. Philadelphia Council on Household Occupations, Digest of Findings of the Philadelphia Study of Household Employment (ca. 1930), findings committee chaired by Henrietta W. Calvin, chair of home economics education, Philadephia public schools, and research directed by Amey E. Watson, in Institute of Women’s Professional Relations MSS, Box 2, Folder 20, Schlesinger Archives.
10. Ibid, 5.
11. “What One Home-maker Thinks,” Women’s Press 22 (February 1928): 83.
12. Steinberg, Wages and Hours, 73, table 3.6.
13. Organizations attending the 1928 conference may be divided into housewives’ clubs—American Homemakers, Inc. (Boston), Bureau of Household Occupations (Providence, Boston, Hartford, Rochester), Housekeepers’ Alliance (Washington, D.C.), Scientific Housekeeping, Inc. (New York City), General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and Housewives’ League of Chicago; home economics experts—American Home Economics Association, School of Practical Arts at Teachers College, Columbia University, American Taylor Society (represented by Lillian Gilbreth), Smith College Institute for the Coordination of Women’s Interests, and Vassar Institute of Euthenics; and worker advocates—National Women’s Trade Union League and the Women’s Bureau, typescript, “Summary of the Work of Organizations” (NA RG 86, Box 927).
14. Jean Collier Brown, Concerns of Household Workers: Program with Household Workers in the Y.W.C.A. (New York: Woman’s Press, 1941), 7–15.
15. Lucy Carner to Florence Thorne, American Federation of Labor, November 5, 1928, NCHE MSS, Box 2, Folder 7; “The Program of the National Committee on Employer–Employee Relationships in the Home,” 1928, typescript, Institute of Women’s Professional Relations MSS, Box 2, Folder 20, Schlesinger Archives.
16. “Conference on Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home, Report of the Findings Committee,” 17, Institute of Women’s Professional Relations MSS, Box 2, Folder 20, Schlesinger Archives.
17. Amey E. Watson to Mary Anderson, March 11, 1930, NA RG 86, Box 927.
18. Reported in “Minutes of Seventh Meeting, October 2, 1930, of National Committee on Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home,” NCHE MSS, Box 1, Folder 37. YWCA summer camps were of great importance to domestic workers because they were generally excluded from other summer schools for workers. Hilda Worthington Smith, founder of the Bryn Mawr Summer School and organizer of the Affiliated Summer Schools for Women Workers in Industry, reported to Amey Watson, in a letter of March 25, 1931, “Our present admissions policy is not to accept domestic workers unless they have previously worked in industry. Our faculty thinks the economics courses as taught in the school are not what the domestic workers need and that they should have a special course of their own. The Barnard Summer School is considering taking a group of domestic workers but nothing has been decided. . . . We are constantly receiving applications [from domestic workers] and believe that there is a special need for an educational program adapted to their own problems” (ibid., Box 2, Folder 17).
19. Mary Anderson to Lucy P. Carner, November 18, 1930, ibid., Box 2, Folder 14.
20. “National Committee on Employer-Employee Relationships in the Home, Summary of Second Conference, New York City, April 13 and 14, 1931,” 8–9, typescript, NWTUL MSS, Box 2, Folder 24.
21. Benjamin Andrews, Household Employment Bulletin, No. 1 (July 20, 1933), 12, NA RG 86, Box 927.
22. Mrs. Philip LeBoutillier, New York City, to Lucy Carrier, n.d., NCHE MSS, Box 2, Folder 19.
23. Ann Corinne Hill, “Protection of Women Workers and the Courts: A Legal History,” Feminist Studies 5 (Summer 1979): 247–73, offers these figures (p. 249) without specifying their source.
24. Irving Bernstein, A Caring Society: The New Deal, the Worker and the Great Depression (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985), chap. 5, “Fair Labor Standards,” 118–19.
25. Leonard Barcroft, Richmond, Virginia, to Hugh Johnson, October 6, 1933, NA RG 9, Entry 580–81, Box 247, File 1; “Low Wage Code for Negroes of Nation Planned by South,” Press Service of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, n.d., and Lucy Mason Randolph, general secretary of the National Consumers’ League, New York City, “Objections to Minimum Wage Discriminations Against Negro Workers,” August 29, 1933, both in ibid., Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), notes that “eleven thousand of the thirteen thousand Negroes in Southern cotton mills were classified so as to exclude them from all NRA benefits” (p. 54).
26. Bernstein, Caring Society, 295.
27. Mary Anderson, “The Employment and Unemployment of Negro Women,” July, 1934, typescript, p. 10, NA RG 86, Box 1601.
28. Susan Ware, Beyond Suffrage: Women in the New Deal (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981), 91.
29. Included with a memo of September 1, 1933, from Frances Williams to Henrietta Roelofs about coordinating actions “to get the Negro cause before the NRA.” Weaver and the YWCA headquarters staff saw the NRA as an opportunity for interracial organizing because, as Weaver said, “Exclusion of domestic work from the NRA hurts those workers and also hurts regulated occupations, since, as in New Orleans, a commercial laundry can hire a domestic for less than $.20 an hour required by the code” for commercial laundries (YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.5).
30. Grace L. Coyle, Executive, Laboratory Division, National Board, YWCA, to Mary Anderson, July 20, 1933, NA RG 86, Box 1717, “Codes, 1933–1936”; Grace L. Coyle to Henrietta Roelofs, July 21, 1933, asking for help with the letter campaign, exulted, “Sorry to disturb you on your vacation, but in these days when society is being made over one’s personal affairs get somewhat interfered with” (YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98).
31. Bobbitt’s letter to Johnson is dated September 1933. It appeared in “News Bulletin, Household Employment Project, National Industrial Council,” n. d. (“11/2/33” in pencil). The bulletin also noted that the YWCA was cooperating with the joint Committee: “Here is an instance where ‘unity in industry is very real, for Negro and white workers must stand together if standards are to be raised.” Camp Gray Industrial Girls wrote to General Hugh Johnson, July 11, 1933, advocating wage rates for households, factory, and mercantile workers (YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.4).
32. “Domestic Workers’ Association,” 1938, typescript, ibid., Reel 98.5.
33. Thomas J. Hunt, President, Domestic Workers’ Association, Philadelphia, to Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 31, 1934, NA RG 86, Box 926.
34. Z. Elizabeth Moman, President, National Association for Domestic Workers, to “Dear Friend,” NA RG 86, Box 1717, “Codes, 1933–1936.”
35. A. R. Forbush, Chief, Correspondence Division, to Eva J. Bulkely, Plainfield, New Jersey, January 31, 1934, NA RG 9, Metal File 622, Box 65.
36. Mary Anderson, Director, to Z. Elizabeth Moman, National Association for Domestic Workers, December 14, 1934, NA RG 86, Box 926.
37. Mrs. Allan K. Chalmers, Chair, Committee on Household Employment, to Household Employer Members, December 8, 1933, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 97.
38. My knowledge of the FLSA owes much to Eileen Boris and Vivien Hart, coconvenors with me of a panel celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the FLSA at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Reno, Nevada, March 1988. Eileen Boris’s book in progress on industrial home work and Vivien Hart’s forthcoming book about the origins of minimum wage policies in the United Kingdom and the United States create a substantial portrait of this important and understudied piece of basic labor legislation. In addition to Ronnie Steinberg’s important analytic account in Wages and Hours, a sparse historical account is given in Matthew Josephson’s Sidney Hillman: Statesman of American Labor (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952). Chapter 19, “Lobbying: 1938,” tells of Hillman’s influence in achieving adoption of the FLSA.
39. Phyllis Palmer, “Outside the Law,” paper presented at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Reno, Nevada, March 1988.
40. Steinberg, Wages and Hours, tables 4.8 and 4.9, 98–99.
41. Baer, Chains of Protection, 89.
42. Steinberg, Wages and Hours, provides the data for a state–federal, male–female comparison, even though she does not comment on the differential financial advantage of overtime over maximum hours regulations. Veronica Beechey, Unequal Work (London: Verso, 1987), chap. 9, “The Shape of the Workforce to Come,” describes different preferences for overtime between contemporary men and women workers in the United Kingdom. Her findings that men like overtime as a way to increase their pay, while women want to be able to leave work earlier in the day, presumably because of the need to do house-related tasks, indicates that government pay and hour policies fit men’s desires and patterns of work better than women’s. Men want more pay on long hours; women want flexible hours and benefits across multiple jobs.
43. Memo to the Presidents of Local Associations from Mrs. Kendall Emerson, Chairman of Public Affairs Committee, National Board, YWCA, October 23, 1933, YWCA MSS, Box 43, Sophia Smith Collection. A letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, November 1933, asking her to take even more visible leadership in publicizing a voluntary code, was signed by the NCHE; Brooklyn Catholic Big Sisters; Child Development Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University; Joint Committee on National Recovery Committee, Federal Council of Churches; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; National Board, YWCA; National Consumers League; New Jersey Urban League; New York Consumers’ League; New York State Employment Service; Philadelphia Council of Household Occupations; Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor; and Women’s Trade Union League (NA RG 86, Box 1717).
44. Program Planning Committee, National Board, YWCA, minutes of meeting on household employment, November 26, 1940, noted that Jean Collier Brown had visited nine associations nationwide: “In one community the chairman of the board had been very much against her coming to speak to the girls but the girls had been so determined to hear her that she had gone anyway and been able to clarify the situation considerably before leaving” (YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 118.6).
45. National Committee on Household Employment, Bulletin 4 (January 1936), NCHE MSS, Box 5.
46. Reported by Jean Collier Brown, “Brief on Household Employment in Relation to Trade Union Organization” (1938), 9, prepared for the Leadership Division, National Board, YWCA, typescript, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.5, “Unions, 1934–1938.” “The Joint Job in the Home: Reports from Y.W.C.A.’s on Household Employment,” Woman’s Press 28 (May 1934): 252–53, gives accounts of projects in Denver, Tulsa, Chicago, Buffalo, Madison, Detroit, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston. Madge P. Pennel, “Richmond’s Household Experiment,” Woman’s Press 28 (March 1934): 130–31, describes Richmond’s efforts to draw up and establish codes. “Building of Public Opinion for Creating Better Standards in Household Employment,” NCHE Bulletin (December 1934), NCHE MSS, Box 5.
47. Emily L. Warrick, Richmond, to “Dear Association Workers,” November 21, 1933, YWCA MSS, Box 45, Sophia Smith Collection.
48. Alice Henry, Athens, Georgia, to E. Christman, NWTUL, August 23, 1927. In a letter headed “Southern Impressions,” organizer Henry reported, “The first thing that impresses the northern visitor, and the last thing is that he is living in another country, a resident of another nation. . . . I am wondering how far you have progressed with your preparatory work in the South. The color question you will not be touching at present” (NWTUL MSS, Box 2, Folder 10, Schlesinger Archives).
49. “The Joint Job in the Home,” 253.
50. Jesse Daniel Ames, Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Anderson, November 21, 1933, NA RG 86, Box 927.
51. Mrs. Kendall Emerson to the Presidents of Local Associations, October 23, 1933, YWCA MSS, Box 43, Sophia Smith Collection.
52. Household Employment Problems: A Handbook for Round-Table Discussions Among Household Employers, issued by U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Education, Vocational Division (September 1937), 12.
53. Chicago Committee on Household Employment, “Fair and Clear in the Home,” Woman’s Press 29 (April 1935): 173.
54. Numerous requests for model domestic work contracts are in NCHE MSS, Box 1, File 29. These were written to the NCHE in response to an article by Dorothy Wells, “Raising Standards of Household Employment,” Employment Service News 1 (August 1935).
55. “A Voluntary Agreement in Household Employment,” proposed by the National Council on Household Employment, Chicago Affiliate, Committee on Household Employment of the Young Women’s Christian Association, n.d., NA RG 86, Box 923.
56. “Wages, Hours and Working Conditions of Domestic Employees in Connecticut,” Monthly Labor Review 43 (December 1936): 1509–13.
57. Lorna May Tuttle, Industrial Secretary, Minneapolis, to Dorothy L. Hubbard, March 7, 1934, National Board YWCA MSS, Reel 97.
58. Household Employment Problems, 36, 44–45.
59. Quoted on cover, NCHE Bulletin 2 (February 1935), in NAACP MSS, Box C322, “Labor-General, 3/3–4/22, 1935,” LC.
60. “The Perfect Treasure,” Junior League Magazine 20 (February 1934): 85.
61. Katherine R. Van Slyck to Emma H. Gunther, May 7, 1937, NCHE MSS, Box 1, Folder 32; Alice MacDonald, “Housework, the Feudal Occupation” (March 1941): 38–39; “Do You Know Your Place?” (April 1941): 28, 62; “Where Do We Go from Here?” (May 1941): 50, 70, all in Junior League Magazine 27. In anticipation of the approaching war, MacDonald warned that housewives must treat domestic workers fairly: “It is the only basis on which citizens of a free democracy should wish to run their homes” (April 1941): 62.
62. “Proposals for Organization of Household Workers Union,” prepared by Dorothy L. Hubbard, January 1935, NWTUL MSS, Box 3, Folder 25, Schlesinger Archives; Brown, “Brief on Household Employment,” 3.
63. “Discussion of Voluntary Agreement,” led by Selma Armenheimer, National Convention, YWCA, n.d., NA RG 86, Box 926.
64. Heywood Broun, “Like One of the Family,” Nation, May 29, 1935, p. 631.
65. “The Need of Organization Among Household Employees,” Negro Workers’ Council [of the National Urban League], Workers’ Council Bulletin 16 (May 28, 1937), 4, 5, 7; Resolution passed at Chicago meeting, National Negro Congress, February 1936, YWCA MSS, Box 40, Sophia Smith Collection.
66. Gene Nicholson, Organizer President, Domestic Employees Club, to Benjamin R. Andrews, Acting Chairman, NCHE, October 15, 1934, NWTUL MSS, Box 2, Folder 24. Nicholson pointed out that domestics were discouraged from attending union meetings by their employers’ prejudices and that “union” was equated with “strike,” which was not feasible and “repels the good type member, and attracts the less stable, who merely want to get even.”
67. Mary Ford, Local 139 President, to Julia Brown, YWCA, June 18, 1936, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.5.
68. “Brief on Household Employment in Relation to Trade Union Organization,” 13–15, typescripts, prepared by Jean Brown for the Leadership Division, National Board, YWCA, 1938, NWTUL MSS, Box 3, Folder 25; “Household Occupation in the District of Columbia,” 8, typescript, circulated by the Washington League of Women Shoppers [1940–1941], NCHE MSS, Box 6.
69. Jean Collier Brown, Program with Household Workers in the Y.W.C.A. (New York: Woman’s Press, 1941), 138. Brown did not name the union leader.
70. “Proposals for Organization of Household Workers Union,” 1.
71. Gene Nicholson to Benjamin R. Andrews, October 15, 1934, NWTUL MSS, Box 2, Folder 24.
72. Raymond C. Atkinson, Louise C. Odencrantz, and Ben Deming, Public Employment Service in the United States (Chicago: Public Administration Service for the Committee on Public Administration of the Social Science Research Council, 1940), v.
73. Ibid., 34–35. Table 5, “Industrial Analysis of Private Placements Made by State Employment Services and the National Reemployment Service, July 1, 1933, to June 30, 1937,” shows that in 1933–1934, of 1,305,873 jobs filled in private, nongovernmental employment by the Services, 342, 213 (the largest number and 26.2 percent of placements) were in domestic and personal service. In 1936–1937, of 2,100,606 placements, 740,762 (35.3 percent) were in domestic and personal service jobs, down from 40.3 percent of placements in 1935–1936.
74. Karen Anderson, Wartime Women: Sex Roles, Family Relations, and the Status of Women During World War II, Contributions in Women’s Studies, 20 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), 34.
75. “The Joint Job in the Home,” 253; NCHE Bulletin (December 1934): 2, NCHE MSS, Box 5.
76. “Proposed Federal Legislation of Concern to Household Employees,” 1935, lists hours and wages legislation for women pending in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylania, Washington, and West Virginia. Only in California, Pennsylvania, and Washington did the legislative language not exclude domestic service in private homes (YWCA MSS, Box 43, Sophia Smith Collection).
77. Anna Roosevelt Boettiger, “Setting the Kitchen Clock Right,” Woman’s Press 32 (November 1938): 480–81; “Household Employment—A Study Outline,” 57, typescript, NA RG 86, Box 561, later printed as Household Employment: An Outline for Study Groups (Washington, D.C.: Women’s Bureau, 1940).
78. “Household Employment—A Study Outline,” 52–54.
79. Cara Cook, Help Wanted (New York: New York Women’s Trade Union League, 1939); “Household Employment—A Study Outline,” 58–62.
80. Brown, Concerns of Household Workers, 97; Alice Keliher, Household Workers (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941), 56.
81. Walter White, NAACP, Postal Telegraph to Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 6, 1935, NAACP MSS, Box C-406, File Soc. Sec., 1/17–2/20, 1935, “Board of Director Minutes,” 2/11/35, Box C-2.
82. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., to Walter White, February 13, 1935, NAACP MSS, Box C-406, File Soc. Sec., 1/17–2/20, 1935.
83. “Memorandum on Discriminations Under the Federal Social Security Act,” October 22, 1937, NAACP MSS, Box C-406, Soc. Sec. 6/5–11/17, 1937.
84. Erna Magnus, “Coverage of Domestic Workers by Social Insurance, 1939,” NCHE MSS, Box 6. Magnus found that 30 percent of Georgia Old Age Assistance recipients in 1938 were former domestics; in California 39 percent of the total and 80 percent of the female recipients were in that category. Black recipients were heavily concentrated in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and Magnus assumed that 50 percent of these were women, most of whom had worked as domestics. She concluded that blacks were overrepresented and that there was a “large over-representation of [domestics] among all old age assistance recipients” (pp. 20–22).
85. Jerry A. Cates, Insuring Inequality: Administrative Leadership in Social Security, 1934–54 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1983), provides a lucid account of the ideologies of leading bureaucrats who designed the Social Security system and especially the commitment to holding down the size of a needs-based assistance program in favor of a job-linked entitlement. Using the metaphor of insurance enabled the planners to popularize the idea that Social Security retirement income recompensed a lifetime of work whereas Old Age Assistance charitably assisted those who had not worked enough or in the right job to accumulate benefits.
86. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Hearings Relative to the Social Security Act Amendments of 1939, rev. print, 67th Cong., 1st sess., 1: rev. 5–6.
87. “Statement of William Hodson, Commissioner of Welfare, New York City,” and “Statement of Mrs. Harris T. Baldwin, First Vice President, National League of Women Voters,” ibid., 2:1319, 1377. Though states could budget as much as $30 per old person, many states did not. “In November 1938, 34 states had old-age assistance grants of $20 a month or less and 8 of these had grants averaging less than $10 a month,” according to John P. Davis, National Negro Congress, ibid., 1545.
88. Ibid., 1:5.
89. Ibid., 7, 11.
90. Statement of John P. Davis, National Negro Congress, ibid., 2:1543; Sylvia A. Law, “Women, Work, Welfare, and the Preservation of Patriarchy,” Pennsylvania Law Review 131 (May 1983): 1249–1339, esp. 1254–61. Law cites Anderson v. Burson, 300 F. Supp. 401 (N.D. Ga., 1968), which held that “a presumption that field work was available for all ‘appropriate,’ that is to say black women, during cotton-chopping season was . . . unconstitutional.” She cites a Report of the Mississippi State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Welfare in Mississippi (n.p., February 1969), 31, which reported “case worker assertions that ‘negro mothers always had farmed out their children to neighbors and relatives. . . . Therefore, . . . child care plans were not . . . a problem’” (p. 1258). These examples are from the 1960s and are taken by Law to represent practices that had persisted since the late 1930s.
91. Julia Kirk Blackwelder, Women of the Depression: Caste and Culture in San Antonio, 1929–1939 (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1984), 68–69.
92. Only representatives from the YWCA and the National Negro Congress actually testified during the hearings, but the National League of Women Shoppers lobbied the committee and, along with the National Consumers League, the Women’s Trade Union League, the Philadelphia Institute of Household Occupations, and the Newark Domestic Workers Union, requested time to testify. Nina P. Collier, National Legislative Chairman, League of Women Shoppers, to Honorable Robert L. Doughton, Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee, March 16, 1939, NWTUL MSS, Box 3, Folder 26.
93. Washington Post, March 18, 21, 1939; U.S. Congress, Hearings Relative to the Social Security Act Amendments of 1939, rev. print, 1:1489, 1509–11; “Statement of Dr. Edwin E. Witte, Formerly Executive Director, President’s Committee on Economic Security,” Saturday, March 18, 1939, ibid., 2:1773–74.
94. Erna Magnus, “Negro Domestic Workers in Private Homes in Baltimore,” Social Security Bulletin 4 (October 1941): 3.
95. Jean Collier Brown, “S.O.S. for Social Security,” Division of Community Y.W.C.A.’s, National Board YWCA, 1941, YWCA MSS, Box 43, Sophia Smith Collection.
96. “Committee on Workmen’s Compensation for Household Employees,” letter-head and correspondence in NCHE MSS, Box 1, Folder 43.
1. Papers from the 1982 Barnard Scholar and the Feminist Conference, “Towards a Politics of Sexuality,” ed. Carole S. Vance, in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), have an implicit theme of what sex is acceptable to feminists. The problem that women feel “bad” because of their sexual proclivities is addressed explicitly in Muriel Dimen’s “Politically Correct? Politically Incorrect?” and Dorothy Allison’s “Public Silence, Private Terror.”
2. Mary Douglas’s classic Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966) argues “that our ideas of dirt . . . express symbolic systems” and are not simply the consequence of hygienic discoveries by science. Certainly historians can record changing notions of dirt, but Douglas adds that these notions reflect social arrangements of power and subordination and of goodness and badness and not simply progressive improvements in sanitation and scientific knowledge. Indeed, the current level of destructive world pollution should banish residual Enlightenment faith that science inevitably cleanses and heals.
3. Richard L. Bushman and Claudia L. Bushman, “The Early History of Cleanliness in America,” Journal of American History 74 (March 1988): 1213–38, begins to tackle such issues, mainly through looking at bathing practices and the growth of soap manufacture during the nineteenth century. Cleanliness as a problem of sanitation has received some study, notably in Martin V. Melosi’s excellent collection, Pollution and Reform in American Cities, 1870–1930 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980). These pieces provide fascinating data about changing cleanliness practices but generally give a progressive interpretation of what these innovations mean.
4. Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550–1812 (1968; rpt. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1969), esp. chap. 4, “Fruits of Passion: The Dynamics of Interracial Sex,” and chap. 11, “Thomas Jefferson: Self and Society.”
5. Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1965), 101; Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1962), says, “The incitement to cleanliness originates in an urge to get rid of the excreta, which have become disagreeable to the sense perceptions. We know that in the nursery things are different. . . . [The excreta] seem valuable to [children] as being part of their own body which has come away from it” (p. 47). I applied the Freudian understanding of dirt to the study of Victorian gentleman Arthur J. Munby’s fascination with working women and his marriage to a domestic servant in Phyllis Marynick Palmer, “Domesticity and Dirt,” in Harvey J. Graff and Paul Monaco, eds., Quantification and Psychology: Toward a ‘New’ History (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1980), 258–93.
6. Joel Kovel, White Racism: A Psychohistory (1970; rpt. New York: Vintage Books, 1971), upholds the universality of psychoanalytic principles of love and aggression but argues that these may take many different forms, of which the development of the Western psyche during the period of capitalist expansion was a notably harmful one. Chapter 7, “The Psycho-Historical Matrix,” argues that increased detachment from the body and harshly rational superego control of the libidinous self were essential elements in the success of capitalism. People had to learn to control impulse, rationalize work, and produce obsessively. Simultaneously, they found satisfaction for repressed erotic impulses in acquiring money and consuming the goods produced by their enlarged ability to organize resources, labor, and commercial exchange. These trends have continued to intensify from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, so that now we must produce more efficiently, find our sensual satisfactions in consumption of the goods produced, and repress more firmly “disgusting aspects of the world,” notably our infantile, sensual selves (p. 159). Kovel connects this splitting of self into rational producer and deprived sensualist with the peculiarly harsh form of Western slavery, a system built on racism heightened by shame and fear of the repressed physical self and its identification with dark skins and people of color.
7. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, states, “Women represent the interests of the family and of sexual life. The work of civilization has become increasingly the business of men, it confronts them with ever more difficult tasks and compels them to carry out instinctual sublimations of which women are little capable. Since a man does not have unlimited quantities of physical energy at his disposal, he has to accomplish his tasks by making an expedient distribution of his libido. What he employs for cultural aims he to a great extent withdraws from women and sexual life. His constant association with men, and his dependence on his relations with them, even estrange him from his duties as a husband and father. Thus the woman finds herself forced into the background by the claims of civilization and she adopts a hostile attitude towards it” (pp. 50–51). Freud’s equation of sexual temptation and the work of the home is notable. In “Some Physical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes,” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1961), 19:257, Freud concludes that “[women’s] super-ego is never so inexorable, so impersonal, so independent of its emotional origins as we require it to be in men.”
8. Dorothy Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1976), posits that all women are unconsciously experienced as connected with bodies and infancy because women, and not men, provide the caretaking for small children. Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978), explains how mothers transmit attitudes of physical and emotional connectedness in relations with daughters. Jane Flax, “The Conflict Between Nurturance and Autonomy in Mother-Daughter Relationships and Within Feminism,” Feminist Studies 4 (Summer 1978): 171–89, usefully shows how the tensions over connectedness and autonomy persist in adult women’s relationships.
9. Lillian Smith, Killers of the Dream (1961; rpt. New York: Norton, 1978), describes how children in the American South learned in racial terms the lesson of splitting mother from servant: “Before the ego has gained strength, just as he is reaching out to make his first ties with the human family, this small white child learns to love both mother and nurse; he is never certain whom he loves better. . . . Yet before he knows words, he dimly perceives that his white mother has priority over his colored mother, that somehow he ‘belongs’ more to her. . . . [H]is conscience, as it grows in him, ties its allegiance to [his white mother] and to the white culture and authority which she and his father represent. But to the colored mother, persuasive in her relaxed attitude toward ‘sin,’ easy and warm in her physical ministrations, generous with her petting, he ties his pleasure feelings. . . . He accords his mother the esteem and respect that are hers; he feels more and more a pulling obligation to her, . . . and after a time, he feels that he ‘owes’ her so much that he steals the adoration which he had conferred upon his colored mother long ago, and returns it to his white mother as rightfully hers” (pp. 131–33).
10. Clara M. Thompson, “Some Effects of the Derogatory Attitude Toward Female Sexuality,” in On Women, ed. Maurice R. Green (New York: New American Library, Meridian Book, 1986), 151.
11. Jane Flax, “Remembering the Self: Is the Repressed Gendered?” Michigan Quarterly Review 26 (Winter 1987): 92–110, movingly analyzes the effects of these splits and ambivalences about power and dependency within each woman’s psyche. Women experience feelings of autonomy, the development of autonomous selves, as guilt-provoking and repress impulses to power and desire. I would add that these are felt as “dirty” impulses.
12. John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), conclude, “In contrast to the exaggerated protection of white women’s virtue and the containment of female sexuality within marital, reproductive relations, southern white men of the planter class enjoyed extreme sexual privilege [so long as they gratified lust] discreetly with poor white or black women” (p. 95). See also Milton Rugoff, Prudery & Passion: Sexuality in Victorian America (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1971).
13. Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966), 129.
14. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “‘The Mind That Burns in Each Body’: Women, Rape, and Racial Violence,” and Barbara Omolade, “Hearts of Darkness,” in Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell, and Sharon Thompson, eds., Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), 328–49, 350–67. Hall and Omolade point out that the system of sexual dualism harmed both white women and black; white women because they had to restrain themselves to appear unaware of erotic feeling and black women because they experienced their sexuality in relations of domination and threat. Peter T. Cominos, “Innocent Femina Sensualis in Unconscious Conflict,” in Martha Vicinus, ed., Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972), 155–72, points out that all women were believed to have latent depravity; only ignorance and inexperience kept the good woman from uncovering and acting on her base impulses. By the end of the century, ignorance was seen as inadequate; the good woman had to know her potential and consciously choose not to exercise it.
15. Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud, Vol. 1, The Education of the Senses (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), says, “No century depicted woman as vampire, as castrator, as killer so consistently, so programmatically, and so nakedly as the nineteenth” (p. 207).
16. Ben Barker-Benfield, “The Spermatic Economy: A Nineteenth-Century View of Sexuality,” in Michael Gordon, ed., The American Family in Social-Historical Perspective (New York: St. Martins Press, 1973), 336–72. Barker-Benfield notes American men’s anxiety about “place” in a country with a fluid economy, politics, and statuses, and how this anxiety took the form of controlling nature, perceived as female, and women, perceived as natural and uncontrollable. Only by taming women could men save their energies from sexual temptation and exercise the discipline necessary to tame nature.
17. Gay, Bourgeois Experience, chap. 6, p. 3, “The Democratization of Comfort.”
18. Nancy F. Cott, “Passionlessness: An Interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology, 1790–1850,” in Nancy F. Cott and Elizabeth H. Pleck, eds., A Heritage of Her Own: Toward a New Social History of American Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979).
19. Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), describes in chap. 3, “Spirit and Reason at the Birth of Modern Science,” how the development of modern science in the seventeenth century confirmed male potency and domination over the natural world and required and coincided with reducing nature to “its mechanical substrate” and woman “to her asexual virtue” (p. 64). For women, of course, the male–female dichotomy overlaid on the reason–emotion dichotomy raised the fear that they could never attain to the reason men possessed, the male-linked trait that became the measure of human virtue during the Enlightenment. Asexuality held out the hope that at least women could control themselves enough to enable their reason and humanity to develop.
20. Clifford Edward Clark, Jr., The American Family Home, 1800–1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986), chap. 2, “Dreams and Realities,” 42.
21. Leonore Davidoff, The Best Circles: Society Etiquette and the Season (London: Croom Helm, 1973), 115, n.9.
22. Leonore Davidoff, “Class and Gender in Victorian England: The Diaries of Arthur J. Munby and Hannah Cullwick,” Feminist Studies 5 (Spring 1979): 86–141, argues that “the sheltered lives that middle-class ladies were ideally supposed to lead depended directly on the labor or working-class girls and women, who through their services created the material conditions necessary to maintain a middle-class life-style for men and women alike” (p. 130).
23. Dale T. Knobel, Paddy and the Republic: Ethnicity and Nationality in Antebellum America (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1986), in chap. 3, “An Irishman by Nature,” documents the tendency to see “differences between ethnic groups as matters of ‘race,’ as immutable characteristics traceable to prehistory” (p. 89).
24. Jordan, White Over Black, esp. chaps. 4 and 12.
25. Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur, clarifies that women’s being experienced in infancy as overpowering leads both men and women to equate the rational, the intellectual, and the self-controlled with men. See especially chap. 9, “Mama and the Mad Megamachine.” Kovel’s White Racism is a meditation on how denial of the body and despising dark races is the underside of calculation and capitalist expansion during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
26. Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, points out the persistence of dualisms of “mind and nature, reason and feeling, masculine and feminine,” though she warns that these are not “historically invariant” but change in different historical periods (p. 44). See also Sheila Ruth, “Bodies and Souls/Sex, Sin and the Senses in Patriarchy: A Study in Applied Dualism,” Hypatia 2 (Winter 1987): 149–64.
27. D’Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 262.
28. Doris Davenport, “The Pathology of Racism: A Conversation with Third World Wimmin,” in Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, eds., This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (Watertown, Mass.: Persephone Press, 1981), 88.
29. Sandra Lee Bartky, “Narcissism, Femininity and Alienation,” Social Theory and Practice 8 (1982): 127–43, makes the point about women’s narcissism as a form of alienation, since women internalize male and commercial viewpoints of beauty and learn to assess themselves constantly by this alien standard. Succeeding may be pleasurable, but it is also repressive because it ties women to systems of male and capitalistic domination of women’s sense of self-worth. Kim Chernin’s The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1982) is one of many feminist books about women’s hating and abusing their bodies. Chernin notes that the abuse of slenderness is a particularly upper-middle-class phenomenon that is a problem of especially “good girls.” She also implicitly recognizes the connections between abuse of the body through food and sex: “Is it possible,” she asks, “that we today worry about eating and weight the way our foremothers and their doctors worried about women’s sexuality?” (p. 94). I would say yes, and, moreover, it is the same worry about women’s being physically powerful and flaunting their bodies instead of making them invisible.
30. Ann Barr Snitow, “Mass Market Romance: Pornography for Women Is Different,” in Snitow, Stansell, and Thompson, eds., Powers of Desire, 245–63; and Sharon Thompson, “Search for Tomorrow: On Feminism and the Reconstruction of Teen Romance,” in Vance, ed., Pleasure and Danger, 350–84. That lesbian women suffer the same internal divisions and have turned them into political positions is made painfully clear in Dorothy Allison’s “Public Silence, Private Terror,” ibid., 103–14.
31. “Women, Jobs, and Children: A New Generation Worries,” New York Times, November 27, 1988, p. A30, reports on a meeting of a women’s support group at the Stanford University Business School at which a married woman with a child told current students about her daily life. “‘She mentioned that she had changed 16 diapers the day before,’” the group’s leader said, “‘and I thought everybody was going to run out and get their tubes tied.’”
1. Mrs. Shelby Cullom Davis, “Household Servants Are Gone Forever,” American Magazine, March 1945, pp. 32–33, 89–92, and condensed in Reader’s Digest 46 (April 1945): 76–78.
2. “Information on Domestic Service,” 1, typescript, prepared for discussion purposes by staff members, Women’s Bureau, November 1944, in Hattie Hyland Smith MSS, Box 4, Folder 22, Schlesinger Archives; Ethel Josephine Payne, Community Household Employment Programs, Bulletin 221 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Women’s Bureau, 1948), 9.
3. Household Employment: A Digest of Current Information (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Women’s Bureau, 1946), 46–51, lists eighty-eight courses nationwide (in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), of which twelve were for white students.
4. “St. Louis ‘Calls Back’ the Domestic,” “Akron’s Plan,” and “Household Employment in Detroit,” Employment Service Review 13 (November 1946): 8–13.
5. Frieda S. Miller, Director, Women’s Bureau, “New Approaches to Old Problems of Domestic Service or Servicing the Home,” typescript of article for New York Times, July 1, 1946, p. 9, Frieda Segelke Miller MSS, Box 13, Folder 270, Schlesinger Archives. Miller quoted from the Presbyterian church women’s pamphlet, “Martha in the Modern Age” (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Church—U.S.A., 1945).
6. Vera Woods, “Bulletin on Household Employment,” September 16, 1946, p. 8, typescript, YWCA National Board MSS, Reel 98.5; “Akron’s Plan,” Employment Service Review 13 (November 1946): 12.
7. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Finance, Social Security Act Amendments of 1950: Report to Accompany H.R. 6000, 81st Cong., 2d sess., 6. As of January 1955, the 24-days-of-work restriction was dropped. Emphasis on covering only full-time or regular part-time workers meant that many domestic day workers would continue to be ineligible for Social Security coverage in their housework jobs, even though they might have to pay taxes as they revolved into covered jobs in commercial cleaning or restaurant work. The fact that many domestics had paid (and do pay) Social Security taxes in commercial jobs without working in those jobs long enough to get vested in the system may explain their reluctance to pay those taxes. It is a protection that seems elusive, even when one has made contributions.
8. Unemployment Insurance Coverage of Household Workers in New York State, Research Bulletin 1969, No. 10 (Albany: New York State Department of Labor, Division of Employment, September 1969), 3; U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Finance, Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1976, Hearings on H.R. 10210, September 8 and 9, 1976, 94th Cong. 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), 213, 225.
9. Miller, “New Approaches to Old Problems of Domestic Service,” 3.
10. Barbara Haber, “Is Personal Life Still a Political Issue?” Feminist Studies 5 (Fall 1979): 417–31, asks what happened to women’s liberation demands for sharing housework and childrearing and looks at the failure of collective solutions and the retreat to heterosexual, coupled households.
11. Zillah Eisenstein, “Anti-Feminism in the Politics and Election of 1980,” Feminist Studies 7 (Summer 1981): 187–205; Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, “Antiabortion, Antifeminism, and the Rise of the New Right,” Feminist Studies 7 (Summer 1981): 206–46.
12. Elliott Currie, Robert Dunn, and David Fogarty, “The New Immiseration: Stagflation, Inequality, and the Working Class,” Socialist Review 59 (November–December 1980): 7–31, and Washington Area Marxist–Feminist Theory Study Group, “None Dare Call It Patriarchy: A Critique of ‘The New Immiseration,’” Socialist Review 61 (January–February 1982): 105–12, the former an example of the Left’s appeal to family values and the latter a feminist critique of upholding images of family that ignore women’s situation as housekeepers and low-wage workers.
13. Mary Romero, “Domestic Service in the Transition from Rural to Urban Life: The Case of La Chicana,” Women’s Studies 13 (1987): 199–222; Mary Romero, “Day Work in Suburbs: The Work Experience of Chicana Private Housekeepers,” in Anne Statham, Eleanor M. Miller, and Hans O. Mauksche, eds., The Worth of Women’s Work: A Qualitative Synthesis (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987); Mary Romero, “Chicanas Modernize Domestic Service,” 1987, typescript. I am deeply grateful to Mary Romero, Evelyn Glenn, Shellee Colen, Joan Anderson, and Judith Rollins, my co-panelists, for a memorable presentation, “The Intersection of Class, Gender, and Race: North American Women of Color in Domestic Service,” at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Meeting, Spelman College, Atlanta, June 1987.
14. Judith Stacey, “The New Conservative Feminism,” Feminist Studies 9 (Fall 1983): 559–84, analyzes the crisis of consciousness even among feminists, who fear the loss of caring values when women adopt men’s professions and life paths.
15. Washington Post Food, June 1, 1988, pp. El, 12