Published in 1997
** Has writing in pencil on quite a few pages **
Hemmed in by "women's work" much less than has been thought, women in the late 1800s and early 1900s were the primary entrepreneurs in the millinery and dressmaking trades.
The Female Economy explores that lost world of women's dominance showing how independent, often ambitious businesswomen and the sometimes imperious consumers they served gradually vanished from the scene as custom production gave way to a largely unskilled modern garment industry controlled by men. Wendy Gamber helps overturn the portrait of wage-earning women as docile souls who would find fulfillment only in marriage and motherhood.
She combines labor history, women's history, business history, and the history of technology while exploring topics as wide-ranging as the history of pattern-making and the relationship between entrepreneurship and marriage.