The third substantive chapter in my dissertation (PDF proposal) looks at immigrant wives in the workforce in the early twentieth century.
The main source that I'm going to be using are the responses to a survey carried out in 1924 in Pennsylvania. The survey, in Philadelphia and some Lehigh Valley cities, asked 2,146 women four pages of questions about their lives and working conditions. It's an amazingly detailed source. Between now and having anything substantive to say about the survey, I have to go out to D.C. and spend a couple of weeks in the National Archives photographing the forms and then getting an undergraduate RA to type it all in.
The original report on the survey was published in 1930 by the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor (still around after all these years) in The Immigrant Woman and Her Job by Caroline Manning. You can read (or download) a scanned copy of the book at Harvard University's Open Collections Program "Women Working, 1870-1930" site.
As part of my basic research I've been trying to find out what I can about Caroline Manning.
In the 1930 census there is a 53 year old single woman residing as a lodger in a "Government Hotel" in Washington, D.C. In the occupation column the initial entry is "Research," but this has been struck out and "Clerk" has been entered instead. It seems the same person made both the "Research" and "Clerk" entry.
"Research" would seem a more accurate description of what Manning did, since it's clear from the correspondence in the National Archives that she did, in fact, design and execute most of the research that she published in the Women's Bureau Bulletins. There's a nice irony in seeing a professional researcher on women's occupations have her occupation deskilled from "researcher" to "clerk." Ah, but it's all white collar, I suppose.
Manning was born in Minnesota in 1877, and her parents were English-Canadian. In 1880 she was living with her parents in Northfield (MN), and enumerated as "Carrie Maning." (1) Interestingly, her mother is not present in the house. The family has two servants. There's another daughter, and her father is working as a hardware merchant. Given that the U.S. census was de jure, the absence of her mother suggests either death or separation.
In 1910 she was working as a City Inspector in Philadelphia, and living in a social settlement house at 433 Christian St. with six women who were teachers. The head of the household she was living in was Anna F. Davies, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Consumers League. (2)
She completed her BA at Swarthmore, and then in 1945 a dissertation at Bryn Mawr, entitled "An Examination of Social Welfare Organization Methods in the Work of the National Committee on the Care of Transient and Homeless." (3)
While working at the Women's Bureau she contributed to several other Bulletins, including
The employment of women in slaughtering and meat packing (1932)
Women workers in some expanding wartime industries, New Jersey (1942)
The employment of women in the pineapple canneries of Hawaii (1930)
Women in Missouri industries :a study of hours and wages (1924)
Fluctuation of employment in the radio industry (1931)
Women in the fruit-growing and canning industries in the State of Washington (1926)
Wage-earning women and the industrial conditions of 1930 (1932)
The effects on women of changing conditions in the cigar and cigarette industries (1931)
The employment of women in Puerto Rico (1934)
Hours and earnings in tobacco stemmeries (1934)
Women in Delaware industries (1927)
Women in the candy industry in Chicago and St. Louis (1922)
The employment of women in the sewing trades of Connecticut (1935)
Women in Kentucky: a study of hours, wages and working conditions (1923)
While less famous than some of her contemporaries Manning was of a piece with other white women involved in welfare and labor research and reform from the Progressive to New Deal eras (4). She was unmarried, she was well educated, and she came out of the Midwest and spent much of her professional life on the East Coast. Her education at Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore is also not atypical -- both colleges had a tradition of graduating what you might call "practical activists."
To fill out this 2 hour research into her life, I will probably visit the Rice County recorders office in Faribault (MN) to find out more about Manning's birth and early family life; and see if I can find any papers or a copy of her dissertation when I'm in Philadelphia in fall.
On the very slim chance that any readers know anything about Manning's life, please get in touch.
(Notes below the fold)
(1) I was able to work this out by searching our database of the entire 1880 census, and looking for anyone born in Minnesota aged between 1 and 5, with both parents born in Canada.
(2) Josephine Goldmark; Francis McLean; James T. Bixby; Alice Lakey; Edith Kendall; Arthur N. Holcombe; Rosamond Kimball; G. Hermann Kinnicutt; Frederick C. Manvel, "Work of National Consumers' League, Volume II" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 38, Supplement (Sep., 1911), p.71.
Davies, it appears, was also involved with the American Association of University Women's Philadelphia branch.
(3) Students' Dissertations in Sociology, The American Journal of Sociology Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jul., 1946), pp. 56.
(4) See Linda Gordon's articles: "Social Insurance and Public Assistance: The Influence of Gender in Welfare Thought in the United States, 1890-1935." The American Historical Review. Vol. 97, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 19-54; and "Black and White Visions of Welfare: Women's Welfare Activism, 1890-1945." The Journal of American History. Vol. 78, No. 2 (Sep., 1991), pp. 559-590Posted by robe0419 at May 19, 2005 11:09 PM | TrackBack