Title: The Prospect Before Her A History of Women in Western Europe Volume One 1500-1800
Author: Olwen Hufton
Year Published: 1995 (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.)
Year Purchased: 2002-2004
Source: Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company
About: A lengthy, serious study of what girls could expect from their lives, from the cradle to the grave, between the years 1500-1800 in Western Europe. This isn’t the most well-made volume, and is falling apart at the binding, but the scholarship and writing are first-class.
Motivation: I’m a feminist. I dig history and women’s studies.
Times Read: 1
Random Excerpt/Page 91: “The women involved were drawn not from the city of Lyons, unless they were the master’s daughters, but from the mountainous villages of the Forez, Besse and Bugey and parts of the Dauphine. They were known as silk-maker’s servants because they lived in (often sleeping under the looms) and like domestic servants they were paid on an annual basis or when they left the employment of the master. Like servants they started in their early teens and expected to work for about fifteen years before having saved enough to embark on matrimony.”
Title: Born for Liberty A History of Women in America
Author: Sara M. Evans
Year Published: 1989 (The Free Press)
Year Purchased: 2001/2002
About: An intelligent, critical study of the changing nature of women’s place in American society.
Motivation: I’m a feminist who enjoys a good, solid read on the subject.
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Times Read: 2
Random Excerpt/Page 85: “By the 1830s the social worlds occupied by the genteel and by the working classes were distinct and rarely overlapped. A lack of familiarity with one another’s cultural patterns-and with the circumstances that explained them-quickly evolved into suspicion or contempt. Middle-class reformers often viewed the lower classes as a breed apart, and readily condemned their ideas of domestic comfort and standards of morals far below their own.”