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Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Independence, 1865-1920

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This study of feminist labor reform examines how working women pursued equality by claiming new identities for themselves as citizens and as breadwinners. Lara Vapnek tells the story of American labor feminism from the end of the Civil War through the winning of woman suffrage rights, a period in which working women in the nation's industrializing cities launched a series of campaigns to gain economic equality and political power.

 Focusing particularly on disjunctions between middle-class and working-class women's notions of independence, Vapnek highlights the specific contributions of reformers such as Jennie Collins, Leonora O'Reilly, and Helen Campbell, and organizations such as the National Consumers' League, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, and the Women's Trade Union League. Locating households as important sites of class conflict, Breadwinners recovers the class and gender politics behind the marginalization of domestic workers in debates over labor reform while documenting the ways in which working-class women raised their voices on their own behalf.

ITEM NUMBER: 14312