Working Women of Collar City: Gender, Class, and Community in Troy, 1864-86 (Women in American History)

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9780252018367: Working Women of Collar City: Gender, Class, and Community in Troy, 1864-86 (Women in American History)
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Why have some working women been successful at organizing in spite of obstacles to labor activity? Under what circumstances were they able to form alliances with male workers?
Carole Turbin explores these questions by examining the case of Troy, New York, which in the 1860s produced nearly all the nation's popular detachable shirt collars and cuffs. Troy's collar laundresses were largely Irish immigrants who labored under harsh conditions, washing, starching, and ironing newly manufactured detachable collars for sale to retailers. The laundresses' union was officially the nation's first women's labor organization, and one of the best organized. In a period when many men were hostile to working women, they nevertheless formed close alliances with male labor activists.
Turbin's study of the collar workers develops new perspectives on gender. She demonstrates that women's family ties are not necessarily a conservative influence but may encourage women's and men's collective action. Her analysis of variations in collar women's employment patterns, family structure, and activism reveals new ways of conceptualizing differences in women's and men's work and family lives. Turbin's discussion of major labor struggles in 1864, 1869, and 1886, which were integral to nineteenth-century working-class movements, reveals variations in the gender ideologies of women of different ethnic and religious groups. This analysis reveals the subtlety and complexity of gender differences between women and men.

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About the Author:

Barbara Burman teaches at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, where she is Director of the Centre for the History of Textiles and Dress. Her research interests and publications focus on the cultural and social history of dress and textiles in the modern period. She edited "The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking "(Berg. 1999).

Carole Turbin is Professor Emeritus of History and Sociology at SUNY/Empire State College. She is author of "Working Women of Collar City: Gender, Class and Community in Troy, New York, 1864-86" (University of Illinois, 1992) and numerous articles, including 'Collars and Consumers: Changing Images of American Manliss and Business', in Beauty and Business, ed. Phillip Scranton (Routledge, 2001.) She is also an artist who has exhibited in the NY area.

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9780252064265: Working Women of Collar City: Gender, Class, and Community in Troy, 1864-86 (Working Class in American History)

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ISBN 10:  0252064267 ISBN 13:  9780252064265
Publisher: University of Illinois Press, 1994
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