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The Woman Who Toils

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  9 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Bessie (Mrs. John) Van Vorst and her sister-in-law Marie Van Vorst were both from New York's privileged class at the turn of the 20th century. The pair worked for several months under assumed names - Bessie as Esther Kelly, Marie as Bell Ballard - to dsicover first-hand the working conditions, values, and ambitions of factory girls. From a Pittsburgh pickle factory to a Ly ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2010 by Applewood Books (first published 1902)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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Persephone Abbott
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Sitting in my yoga class today, I realize that the young women participating in the class with me (the not so young person there) are the same as those women described working in various jobs to pay rent or buy pretty clothes. Except we are all having a yoga class together because 100 years later we have access to birth control, household appliances, and education, and yet are still prone as victims to ill health, financial dependence, and the threat of a downward spiral into poverty. The chance ...more
Jane
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Had to buy this because I have a neighbor who always describes herself as toiling around the house, and I love that.
This book is about different toil - real, grinding factory work. Written in a Nellie Bly expose manner, two society women dress down
and apply for jobs in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Lyn, MA. It ain't great literature, but you come away with a vivid picture of
how hard life was for women at the turn of the last century.
Beth Manger
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been interested in women millworkers since taking a Women's Studies class at UW in the 1980s. This insider view gives the reader a picture of quasi-slavery. The children workers' plight was especially difficult to stomach.
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Mrs. John (Bessie) Van Vorst, nee McGinnis (1873-1928) was an American author and social reformer. She lived for a time in France with her sister-in-law Marie Van Vorst (1867-1936) and they collaborated on several works including Bagby's Daughter (1901) and The Woman Who Toils (1903). Bessie also wrote: The Issues of Life (1904), Letters to Women in Love (1906), The Cry of the Children (1908), To the H ...more