[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch00272View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
Gr 10

Schiffer, Clara Goldberg, collector. Clara Goldberg Schiffer print collection documenting working women, 1839-1994 (inclusive), 1851-1890 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: Gr 10
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Clara Goldberg Schiffer
Title: Clara Goldberg Schiffer print collection documenting working women, 1839-1994 (inclusive), 1851-1890 (bulk)
Date(s): 1839-1994
Date(s): 1851-1890
Quantity: 2.96 linear feet (1/2 file box, 2 folio+ boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 3 oversize folders, 1 photograph folder, 1 folio+ folder of photographs)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: 19th century prints of women's work in the United States and abroad.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 88-M191, 90-M114, 90-M188, 91-M125, 93-M171, 94-M126, 96-M150, 97-M152
This collection was assembled by Clara Goldberg Schiffer and given to the Schlesinger Library between November 1988 and November 1997.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1998
By: Jane S. Knowles


Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Radcliffe College makes no representation that it is the owner of the copyright in any part of this collection; permission to publish must be obtained from the owner(s) of the copyright (the author or her/his transferees, heirs, legatees, or literary executors.)
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Clara Goldberg Schiffer print collection documenting working women, 1839-1994; item description, dates. Gr-10, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Clara Goldberg Schiffer print collection documenting working women, 1861-1999 (Gr-11.).


Clara (Goldberg) Schiffer (A.B. Radcliffe, 1932 and M.A. George Washington University, 1939) was a health program analyst for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and was concerned with occupational and environmental health and disease prevention. Earlier she had worked her way through college and spent summers working in factories and thus developed an interest in the history of women and work. Over the years, Schiffer assembled a large collection of prints culled from the 19th century pictorial press, which provided compelling documentation of women's labor history.
The era of pictorial journalism began with the publication of the London Illustrated News in England (1842) and Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion (1851) in the United States. In the United States a brilliant group of wood-engravers were employed by magazines to translate artists' sketches (by Winslow Homer et al.) into engravings on blocks of boxwood. For large illustrations, composite blocks were put together and then electrotypes capable of withstanding thousands of printings were produced from the blocks. The whole industry disappeared in the 1880s with the introduction of photomechanically produced blocks.


This collection contains electrotype (some hand colored) and photomechanical prints, as well as engravings, photographs, clippings, pamphlets, and other miscellaneous material illustrating women at work in the United States and abroad in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection shows women's traditional spheres of work in domestic service, needlework, and agriculture; the development of their roles in commerce (from street markets to department stores); the limited occupations available to African American women in the South and to immigrants in the North; and the opportunities for women's professional advancement in teaching, medicine, and nursing. There are also illustrations of new openings for women as workers in government offices, telephone exchanges, and telegraph companies, and the employment of women in factories making clothing, munitions, textiles, tobacco, or watches, or processing food.
The collection illustrates not only the greater presence of women in the labor market, but also their sex-segregated jobs and exploitation in factories and sweatshops. Other aspects of the social history of women such as fashion, recreation, and sports are also shown.
The collection is arranged in two geographical and one miscellaneous series. In the first two series each print is designated by a folder and item number; in the third series items are grouped in numbered folders. There is an artist, subject, and occupation index at the end of this finding aid.
Series I, Prints of United States subjects (items #1-201), consists of electrotype and photomechanical illustrations of women's employment clipped from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, Harper's Weekly, Harper's Bazar, Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, The London Illustrated News, other nineteenth century pictorial periodicals, and books. They are arranged alphabetically by subject or industry and illustrate women at work in agriculture, industry, commerce, domestic service, and the professions. Also interfiled alphabetically are topics unrelated to work, such as city and seascapes, fairs, slave auctions, suffrage, and depictions of immigrants and pioneers.
Series II, Prints of non-United States subjects (items #202-261), arranged alphabetically by country, shows the employment of women in France, Germany, and Great Britain in the 19th century with scattered examples of women's work in Ceylon, Costa Rica, India, Spain, and Switzerland.
Series III, Other formats (folders #27-35f+), includes the first issue of The Lowell Offering, pamphlets and catalogs about 20th century women printmakers and print exhibitions; clippings and pamphlets about women's occupations and women's field hockey and baseball; color reproductions of paintings showing women at work; a song in Yiddish memorializing the victims of the Triangle Shirt-Waist Co. fire; and photographs of women workers.



Index of artists, places, subjects, and occupations

Container List

Additional Index Terms

African Americans--Pictorial works
African American women--Pictorial works
Boston (Mass.)--Pictorial works
Businesswomen--Pictorial works
Charities--United States--Pictorial works
Childcare workers--Pictorial works
Clothing workers--Pictorial works
Cotton growing--Southern States--Pictorial works
Dressmakers--United States--Pictorial works
Factories--Pictorial works
Fishing--Pictorial works
Laundresses--Pictorial works
Marketplaces--Pictorial works
Needleworkers--Pictorial works
Nurses--Pictorial works
Photomechanical prints
Prisons--Pictorial works
Prostitutes--United States--Pictorial works
New York (N.Y.)--Pictorial works
Washington (D.C.)--Pictorial works
Women artists--Pictorial works
Women cannery workers--Pictorial works
Women clerks (Retail trade)--Pictorial works
Women coal miners--Pictorial works
Women--Employment--France--Pictorial works
Women--Employment--Germany--Pictorial works
Women--Employment--Great Britain--Pictorial works
Women--Employment--United States--Pictorial works
Women household employees--United States--Pictorial works
Women in agriculture--Pictorial works
Women in charitable work--United States--Pictorial works
Women in education--Pictorial works
Women in science--Pictorial works
Women labor union members--Pictorial works
Women teachers--Pictorial works
Women physicians--United States--Pictorial works
Women's clothing industries--Pictorial works
Working class--Great Britain--Pictorial works.
Working class--Songs and music
Working class--United States--Pictorial works
Cushman, Charlotte, 1816-1876--Pictorial works
Davis, Theodore R., illustrator
De Thulstrup, Thure, 1848-1930, illustrator
Frenzeny, Paul, illustrator
Homer, Winslow, 1836-1910, illustrator
Macquoid, Percy, -1925, illustrator
Rogers, W. A. (William Allen), 1854-1931, illustrator
Taylor, James E., 1839-1901, illustrator
The Lowell Offering
Sheppard, William Ludwell, 1833-1912, illustrator
Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891, illustrator
Woodhull, Victoria C. (Victoria Claflin), 1838-1927--Pictorial works