Freedom of the Streets Work, Citizenship, and Sexuality in a Gilded Age City

ISBN-10: 0807856010
ISBN-13: 9780807856017
Edition: 2005
Authors: Sharon E. Wood
List price: $32.50 Buy it from $13.21
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Description: Gilded Age cities offered extraordinary opportunities to women--but at a price. As clerks, factory hands, and professionals flocked downtown to earn a living, they alarmed social critics and city fathers, who warned that self-supporting women were  More...

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Book details

List price: $32.50
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 4/25/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 344
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Gilded Age cities offered extraordinary opportunities to women--but at a price. As clerks, factory hands, and professionals flocked downtown to earn a living, they alarmed social critics and city fathers, who warned that self-supporting women were just steps away from becoming prostitutes. With in-depth research possible only in a mid-sized city, Sharon E. Wood focuses on Davenport, Iowa, to explore the lives of working women and the prostitutes who shared their neighborhoods. The single, self-supporting women who migrated to Davenport in the years following the Civil War saw paid labor as the foundation of citizenship. They took up the tools of public and political life to assert the respectability of paid employment and to confront the demon of prostitution. Wood offers cradle-to-grave portraits of individual girls and women--both prostitutes and "respectable" white workers--seeking to reshape their city and expand women's opportunities. As Wood demonstrates, however, their efforts to rewrite the sexual politics of the streets met powerful resistance at every turn from men defending their political rights and sexual power.

Sharon E. Wood is associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has edited two volumes, The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade, 1871-1909, by Josie Washburn, and A Home in the West, or Emigration and Its Consequences, by M. Emilia Rockwell.

Introduction : the Belva Lockwood club
Women in the city : law, reputation, and geography
Women's citizenship and the problem of employment
A place in the city : the Working Woman's Lend a Hand Club
Lives without choices : prostitution as employment
The police matron campaign and the reform of urban environments
Sporting men and little girls
Making the city safe for white men : regulated prostitution
Protecting men by reforming girls : good shepherd homes
Women, men, and the business of Bucktown
Conclusion : the popular young lady in business life

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