“Proper” Work

Women’s assigned work was equally a calling with men’s. As carpenters and masons were respected, so was the goodwife … (However) it would be a mistake…not to acknowledge that domestic work fell low on any hierarchical scale.

– Alice Kessler-Harris, Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women

According to historian Robert Wiebe, in nineteenth century pre-industrialized America, women had a specific ‘sphere of competence’, caring for the home, which was the center of both individual and community life. “Women, more than men, managed the community’s internal security system,” helping to regulate a community’s moral character and identity, he contends.

THIS PAGE IS PROVIDED In memorium of Violet Wierzbicki

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