In the summer of 1912, labor activist and Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) member Rose Schneiderman addressed an audience of middle-class women organizing for women’s suffrage in Ohio. “You have nothing that the humblest workers have not a right to have also,” she said. “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.”1 In this speech Schneiderman spoke of the mostly young women entering the formal economy by the thousands and then the millions, indeed, there were over eight million women in the economy by 1910. These women worked cheaply in the newly formed, white-collar professions and occupations as librarians, teachers, and secretaries, as well as as waitresses, hairdressers, servants, farm hands, and boarding house mistresses. However, the majority were unskilled laborers working in the manufacturing sector.2 In fact, Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant who grew up in a single-mother household, had supported her family as a cap maker after entering the workforce at the age of thirteen.3
- Minimum Wage
- Union Membership
- Summer School
- Female Worker
- Labor Movement
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Rose Schneiderman, Life and Labor 2 (September 1912): 288.
Annelise Orleck, Common Sense and a Little Fire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 32–36.
Elizabeth Dutcher, “Budgets of the Triangle Fire Victims,” Life and Labor 2 (September 1913): 265–67.
Martha May, “The Historical Problem of the Family Wage,” Feminist Studies 8 (Summer 1982): 399–423.
Quoted in Hilda Satt Polacheck, I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1991), 63.
Sarah Eisenstein estimated that by 1910, nearly eight million women were in the workforce. Give Us Bread but Give Us Roses (New York: Routledge, 1983), 16.
Jane Bernard Powers points out that not only were more women working, but their increased presence in the workforce was dramatic. Between 1890 and 1910, the percentage of women in clerical, mechanical, and manufacturing jobs had increased by 200 percent. The Girl Question in Education (London: Falmer Press, 1983), 10.
Nancy Schrom Dye, As Equals and As Sisters (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1980), 13.
Elizabeth Payne describes the school as such: “The first residential college program for workers in America, it became the prototype of other institutes organized in the 1920s by colleges and labor organizations.” Reform, Labor, and Feminism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 59.
Diane Kirkby, Alice Henry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 179.
In a 1929 article, Rose Schneiderman cited League members as leaders who inspired the Bryn Mawr Summer School and cited the establishment of three other unnamed schools. “Twenty-Five Years with the Women’s Trade Union League,” Life and Labor Bulletin 12, no. 7 (May 1929): 1–3.
Robin Miller Jacoby, “The Women’s Trade Union League,” The Women’s Trade Union League and Its Principal Leaders: Guide of the Microfilm Edition, ed. Edward James, Robin Miller Jacoby, and Nancy Schrom Dye (Woodbridge: Research Publications, 1981), 27.
Mary Winslow, Woman at Work: The Autobiography of Mary Anderson as Told by Mary Winslow (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1951), 57.
Deborah Brandt, Literacy in American Lives (London: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 16.
Diane Kirkby, “Class, Gender and the Perils of Philanthropy,” Journal of Women’s History 4 (Fall 1992): 36–51.
Gerald Sorin, A Time for Building (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992), 87.
Rose Cohen, Out of the Shadow (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995), 127.
Anzia Yezierska, “How I Found America,” in American Jewish Fiction, ed. Gerald Shapiro (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993), 1, 16–37.
Violet Pike, “New World Lessons for Old World Peoples,” Life and Labor 2 (February 1912): 48–49.
David Von Drehle, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003), 64.
Joanne J. Meyerowitz, Women Adrift (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
Theresa Serber Malkiel, The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker (New York: Socialists Literature Company, 1910), 37.
Nan Enstad argues furthermore that working women during this era had alterative resources for their identity formation other than that provided by labor leaders. They, for example, “used popular culture as a resource to lay claim to dignified identities as workers, sometimes from the very terms used by others to degrade them. In addition, when working women went on strike, they utilized the subjectivities and languages they developed through popular culture practices to claim formal political status.” Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 13.
Alice Henry, The Trade Union Woman (New York: Appleton, 1915).
Alice Henry, “Report of Educational Department ,” reel 1, WTUL, 5. Indeed, Derry is first author on this article, “The Minimum Wage in Canada,” Journal of Political Economy 30 (April 1922): 155–88.
Patricia Hill argues, for example, that in the 1920s the “popularization of Freudian theory” encouraged American women to be “wife-companions,” a role that had “no public dimensions attached to it.” She theorized that this ideological shift, along with an increasingly secular culture, accounted for a dramatic rejection of missionary work among American women post-suffrage. The World Their Household (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985), 174.
Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987), 97.
Marvin J. Levine, Children for Hire (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), 139–49.
Margaret Zamudio, “Alienation and Resistance: New Possibilities for Working-Class Formation”, Social Justice 31, no. 3 (2004): 72.
David Bacon, “Labor Needs Radical Vision,” Colorlines 8, no. 3 (2005): 6.
© 2008 Anne Meis Knupfer and Christine Woyshner, eds.
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Rohan, L. (2008). “The Worker Must Have Bread, But She Must Have Roses, Too”. In: The Educational Work of Women’s Organizations, 1890–1960. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230610125_7
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