Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930
Starting with Dreiser's Sister Carrie, Meyerowitz uses turn-of-the-century Chicago as a case study to explore both the image and the reality of single women's experiences as they lived apart from their families. In an era when family all but defined American womanhood, these women—neither victimized nor liberated—created new social ties and subcultures to cope with the conditions of urban life.
"Brilliant. . . . Gracefully written, and mercifully free from the jargon that often plagues social history, this book is a welcome addition to literature in women's, urban, and black history."—Ann Schofield, American Historical Review
"Meyerowitz provides a splendid portrait of her subjects. . . . She deserves praise for her demographic spadework, sensitive analysis, and engaging style. This is a valuable and rewarding book."—Nancy Woloch, Journal of American History
"A state-of-the-art product of the new women's history. . . . Meyerowitz's work is an extremely useful contribution, a corrective to over-concentration on women in family, an opening to new ways of looking at single women."—Linda Gordon, Women's Review of Books
"Women Adrift not only brings together many of the most exciting insights of women's history in recent years, but Meyerowitz's particular angle on issues of work, family, sexuality, mass culture and relationships among women also encourages us to rethink these insights."—Ileen A. DeVault, Historian
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adrift in Chicago American Annual Report black women boarders boarding home movement Boston cabarets Chicago Manuscript Collections Chicago Press Chicago YWCA dance halls daughters dollars domestic early twentieth century earned economic Edith Abbott employers Ernest Burgess factory female labor force foreign-born Friends to Help furnished room districts girls heroines Hull House Ibid Immigrants Industrial investigators late nineteenth Laura Jean Libbey lodgers lodging Lone Woman M.A. thesis Mary Kenney O'Sullivan Melissia middle-class migration moral native-born white Negro newcomers Notes to Pages number of women occupational organized boarding home organized homes Orphans and Innocents percent Population poverty private families prostitution Radcliffe College reformers rent restaurants romance novels Room Registry self-supporting women Sister Carrie social story Study subcultures Surrogate Families taxi dancers Trade Union University of Chicago University Press Urban Pioneers wage-earning women waitresses women adrift Women in Chicago women who lived working-class wrote York YWCA of Chicago