Book Review: Women and the City by Sarah Deutsch


Author:  Sarah Deutsch
Title: Women and the city : gender, space, and power in Boston, 1870-1940
Publication Info: New York : Oxford University Press, 2000. 
Summary/Review:

This is a book I read to discuss with my coworkers in archival processing.  It is a broad history of women in Boston over a period of about 80 years and how they fit in the city’s urban landscape amid Boston’s notable class and ethnic segmentation.  Deutsch draws upon many primary sources, especially the records of the Boston Women’s Trade Union League and Dennison House, a settlement house in the South End. The book covers a broad variety of topics including women in the domestic space, women as workers and entrepreneurs, women’s social, political, and labor organizations, the suffrage movement, and women’s involvement in politics after gaining the vote.  I found the book worked best when Deutsch focused on individual women or organizations as case studies for her theses.  Unfortunately some parts of this book the author attempts to provide a wider view but it ends up being scattershot and confusing, jumping among people and organizations.  It still proves to be an interesting account of women in Boston over a few generations of profound change.

Recommended books:

Rating: ***