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Working Women's Woes.

Printed matter

Working Woman's Woes
[Labor] Working Women's Woes. Broadside advertisement for The (Philadelphia) Press, [ca. 1892].
26 x 18 inches; printed in red; vignette illustration at center; two vertical and two horizontal folding creases; a few nicks; small dampstain to upper left corner.
An excellent specimen of a broadside advertisement for a Sunday edition of The (Philadelphia) Press featuring an exposé on the working conditions of women at the end of the nineteenth century. The headline reads, in 2 inch red capitals, working women's woes, above a 4 ½ x 8" vignette illustration of women standing in employment lines waiting to meet with one of two well-tailored male bosses. The lines stretch beyond the frame of the illustrations, and a woman at the front of the line at the left of the illustration reaches for a pen to sign a contract - held out by one of the bosses - reading "employees are required to remain on duty till midnight during the busy season without extra pay," while at his feet lays a "list of fines" which include "for being late," "for sitting down," "for inattention," and "for mistakes." At the right, the other boss interrogates an elderly woman at the head of the line, her brow arched with worry and her hand raised defensively. In the background looms a large factory with smokestacks on the left, and on the right a Victorian mansion, representing two of the main spheres - industrial and domestic - in which nineteenth-century women were employed. At the illustration's front and center is a barefoot pauper child tugging on the petticoat of one of the working women, to whom he gives an imploring look. At right of the illustration, a caption reads, "A Woman Reporter of 'THE PRESS,' after many weeks Investigation, will show next Sunday why the Wages of Women in Stores Steadily Falls, and why some other Wages Steadily Increase." "Light On a Dark Mystery," in banner type, appears below the illustration and caption. The Philadelphia Press, published from 1857 - 1920, earned a reputation for featuring the kind of investigative journalism that sought to depict realistically the lives (and exploitation) of women and of the working poor. (The Press had been one of the newspapers to praise the "Declaration of the Rights of Women" when it was issued by the N.A.W.S.A. in 1876.)
The lower third of the broadside advertises other pieces to appear, including "Robert Louis Stevenson Among the Cannibals," "The Life of a Model," "A Philadelphia Romance," and "Hosts of Other Features."

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