A landmark work when it appeared in 1976, America’s Working Women helped form the field of women’s studies and transform labor history. Now the authors have enlarged the dimensions of this important anthology; more than half the selections and all the introductory material are new. Spanning the years from 1600 to the present, selections from diaries, popular magazines, historical works, oral histories, letters, songs, poetry, and fiction show women’s creativity in supporting themselves, their families, and organizations or associations. Slave women recall their field work, family work, and sabotage. We see Indian women farming, and we also see the white culture coercing Indian women to give up farming. We see women in industry playing a central part in the union movement while facing the particular hazards of women’s jobs and working conditions. New selections show the historical origins of today’s important issues: sexual harassment, equal pay, “sex work,” work in the underground economy, work in the home, and shift work. With an expanded focus on women from all racial and ethnic backgrounds and regions, America’s Working Women grounds us in the battles women have fought and the ones they are in the process of winning.
Rosalyn Baxandall (Editor), and Linda Gordon (Editor). America’s Working Women: A Documentary History, 1600 to the Present. W. W. Norton & Company, 1996.