Women in the Maryland Work Force

Introduction

During the mid-nineteenth century, there were few economic opportunities for women outside traditional occupations such as  teaching or finding work as a seamstress. By the turn of the century, women began to move into more diverse occupations. In Maryland, particularly on the Eastern Shore, women found work in the canning factories that processed fruit and oysters and in urban areas, they found work in the numerous sweatshops in the garment and manufacturing industries. 



National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)

Standard 3 The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes 

Standard 3A: The student understands how the "second industrial revolution" changed the nature and conditions of work.

7-12: Explain the change from workshop to factory and how it altered the worker's world. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships] 
9-12: Account for employment in different regions of the country as affected by gender, race, ethnicity, and skill. [Formulate historical questions] 

Primary Resources

Accounting

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, women working in Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. payroll office 
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1917
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4716
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Child Care

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Nannies pose with their charges. Mt. Vernon Place. 
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Baltimore When She Was What She Used To Be Collection,  MSA SC 2167-1-57
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Education

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Classroom at Western Maryland College
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    NOTES: Miss Lottie Owings practiced her teaching skills in a classroom at Western Maryland College in 1888. (FROM: Mame and Marion Warren, Maryland Time Exposures, 1840-1940)
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6293
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Franklin High School home economics class
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900 c.
    NOTES: Home ecomomic students at Franklin High School, ca. 1900, appear captivated by a cooking demonstration on eggs. (FROM: Mame and Marion Warren, Maryland Time Exposures, 1840-1940)
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-5679
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Farming

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Mrs. Mattingly making sausage with her son
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1930s
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-5203
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Mrs. Mattingly cooking outdoors in iron kettle
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1930s
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-5204
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Fruit/Oyster Packing and Food Processing

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Picking crabs for market
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: before 1906
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4752
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Esskay Meat Processing Company
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6182
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  3. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Strawberry sorters packing crates
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1925 c.
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6609
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  4. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Anne Arundel County farmers with strawberry harvest
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1928
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6734
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Women picking crabmeat
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: c. 1940
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6720
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Garment Industry

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Knitting shop
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Henry Rinn, Jr.
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1905 c.
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-5313
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Manufacturing

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Tipping department of Polan, Katz and Company (umbrellas)
    PHOTOGRAPHER:
    Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    1925 c.
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6179
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Communications

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Telephone subscription teams
    PHOTOGRAPHER:
    Unknown
    CREATED/PUBLISHED:
    before 1931
    NOTES:
    By 1931 many homes and most businesses had telephone service. The Depression forced many subscribers to give up the convenience, but the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company responded by hiring teams of solicitors to call existing customers to convince them of the benefits of maintaining service. An average of 3,623 calls were made daily by each team. (FROM: Mame and Marion Warren, Maryland Time Exposures, 1840-1940)
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4717
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Applicants for telephone school
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: before 1913
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4712
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  3. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Calvert Street Station
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: before 1919
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4713
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  4. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Telephone business office
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4714
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad PBX switchboard
    CREATED/PUBLISHED: before 1929
    SOURCE:
    Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-4715
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Additional Media Resources

The Telephone -- Study of the telephone involves discussion of monopolies, patents, and women in the workforce.

Secondary Resources

Argersinger, Jo Ann E.  Making the Amalgamated: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Baltimore Clothing Industry, 1899 - 1939.  (Studies in Industry and Society).  Baltimore:  John Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Bronstein, Jamie, "Caught in the Machinery: The Cultural Meanings of Workplace Accidents in Victorian Britain and the United States" Maryland Historical Magazine 2001, vol. 96, no. 2, pp. 163

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Baltimore Museum of Industry
1415 Key Highway
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 727-4808

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

 

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