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Labor] Abbott, Edith.

Women in Industry.


[Labor]. Breckinridge, Sophonisba, Introduction. Abbott, Edith, Ph.D. Women in Industry. A study in American economic history. With an introductory note by Sophonisba P. Breckinridge, J.D., Ph.D. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company, 1910.
8vo.; contemporary ownership signature on front endpaper; green cloth, stamped in gilt; t.e.g.; lightly rubbed; spine frayed.  
First edition. Abbott chronicles the history of American women and labor, and the various occupations women have held dating back to the establishment of the factory system in 1836, tracing connections between education opportunities and other factors that have influenced women entering into the work force. Includes six appendices containing statistical information regarding child labor regulations, wage rates, census reports of women's employment, and a bibliography of books and magazine articles relating to the industrial employment of women in the U.S. and England.
In the introductory note, Sophonisba P. Breckinridge outlines the problems facing working women and the urgency with which these problems must be addressed:
For women must work. They must work. They must work, because to be deprived of the right to exercise "lordship over things" is to be denied a satisfaction essential to full human life. And they must work for wages. There is today no other access possible for the self-respecting woman to that flow of wealth which is at once the product of the labor and the source of satisfaction for all members of the community. (xi-xii)
Abbott dedicates the book to "S.P.B.," most likely to acknowledge Breckinridge for her contribution.
Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866-1948), social worker, reformer, attorney, and suffragist, was born into a socially prominent family of Confederate Colonel and Congressman. Her heritage included John Breckenridge, Kentucky Senator and Attorney General under Thomas Jefferson. Her father was a Southern Liberal of the school of Wade Hampton, and a firm believer in the education of women. Breckenridge was the first woman to pass Kentucky's bar examination; predictably her law practice did not prosper. By 1895, she was extremely discouraged with her prospects for a career. It was at this time that a Wellesley classmate persuaded her to come to live with her in Chicago and become the secretary to Marion Talbot, dean of women at the University of Chicago. Under the influence of Talbot, Breckenridge secured a fellowship in political science and began studies that led to a Ph.D., which she received in 1901. She then entered the university's law school, graduating J.D. in 1904.
Subsequently drawn to the Women's Trade Union League and into the circle of Chicago reformers, she lived at Hull House and taught at the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, becoming its dean. She wrote many books and became deeply involved with the study of social conditions and with welfare administration and various social reform movements, especially those involving children, slums, public health, juvenile courts, federal child labor laws, women's trade unions and hours of employment for women. In 1908, Breckenridge became first secretary of Chicago's Immigrant Protective League. In 1911 she was elected a vice-president of the NAWSA. She championed the rights of Negroes as an early member of the NAACP, and was a national officer of the American Associated of University Women, and worked closely with Edith Abbott at the School of Social Service Administration.
In 1927 she and Abbott, who worked as her assistant beginning in 1908, established the Social Service Review and launched the university's Social Service series of books and monographs describing the "breakdown of family life under the impact of urban conditions." Both women worked closely with NAW leader Jane Addams, campaigning for social reform and the peace movement in Chicago prior to the outbreak of WWI. Of equal importance to any of the above was her great influence as a teacher of social work during her various professorships at the University of Chicago. She was also the first woman delegate to the Pan-American Congress (NAW I, pp. 233-236).

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