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Women Adrift

Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930

Starting with Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, Meyerowitz uses turn-of-the-century Chicago as a case study to explore both the image and the reality of single women’s experiences as they lived apart from their families. In an era when family all but defined American womanhood, these women—neither victimized nor liberated—created new social ties and subcultures to cope with the conditions of urban life.

"Brilliant. . . . Gracefully written, and mercifully free from the jargon that often plagues social history, this book is a welcome addition to literature in women’s, urban, and black history."—Ann Schofield, American Historical Review

"Meyerowitz provides a splendid portrait of her subjects. . . . She deserves praise for her demographic spadework, sensitive analysis, and engaging style. This is a valuable and rewarding book."—Nancy Woloch, Journal of American History

"A state-of-the-art product of the new women’s history. . . . Meyerowitz’s work is an extremely useful contribution, a corrective to over-concentration on women in family, an opening to new ways of looking at single women."—Linda Gordon, Women’s Review of Books

"Women Adrift not only brings together many of the most exciting insights of women’s history in recent years, but Meyerowitz’s particular angle on issues of work, family, sexuality, mass culture and relationships among women also encourages us to rethink these insights."—Ileen A. DeVault, Historian

248 pages | 8 halftones, 15 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1987

Women in Culture and Society

Chicago and Illinois

Gender and Sexuality

History: American History

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Foreword
Introduction
1. Apart from Family
2. "A Lone Woman Can’t Be Too Careful"
3. Orphans and Innocents
4. Surrogate Families
5. "Friends to Help Them"
6. Urban Pioneers
Conclusion
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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