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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

Back Stairs at Brucemore:
Life as Servants in early 20th-Century America--
Supplementary Resources

By studying Back Stairs at Brucemore: Life as Servants in early 20th-Century America students understand the "servant" experience in early 20th-century America, as well as the pros and cons for women working in factories versus domestic service. Those interested in learning more will find that the Internet offers a variety of interesting materials.

Brucemore is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Visit Brucemore's website for visitation information, and for more information on the history of this house, the families that lived there, and the servants that kept the home running. Also included is information about the house as a community cultural center, with numerous activities for the public.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Chartered in 1949 by Congress, the National Trust is dedicated to preserving historic neighborhoods and properties throughout the United States. Their website provides links to their historic properties, including Brucemore, and additional resources.

Public Broadcast Service: America 1900
America 1900 presents a comprehensive picture of what life was like in the United States at the turn of the century. The Web site offers compelling images, information, and documents about American life. PBS also offers a related Teacher's Guide section. The site also provides an amazing resource called 1900 House. Originally this was presented as a TV series that followed a modern middle-class family "transported" back in time (1900) and living in a house restored to the period. The website provides detailed information on what it was like to live in an average home at the turn of the century. A virtual tour allows one to explore a home with little indoor plumbing, no heating or electricity, a kitchen with few modern amenities, and much more.

The Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record Collection
Search the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record Collection for information, photographs, and drawings of Brucemore.

American Memory Digital Collection, Library of Congress
Search the American Memory Collection for various primary sources related to the themes presented in this lesson plan. Use search terms such as immigration; servants; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; working women, and factories and sweat shops.

Modern History Sourcebook
The Modern History Sourcebook is one of a series of internet history primary sourcebooks created by the History Department of Fordham University in New York. Included on their web page is information about immigration in the U.S., the Gilded Age, the first and second Industrial Revolution, and much more.

Cornell University Library: The Triangle Factory Fire
For a unique perspective of working in a factory "sweatshop" explore this web exhibit that presents original documents and secondary sources on the Triangle Fire, held by the Cornell University Library. They are housed in the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Kingwood College Library
American Cultural History: The Twentieth Century

The purpose of this web & library guide is to help the user gain a broad understanding and appreciation of culture and history for each decade of 20th-century America.

For Further Reading
For further reading about working women and factory work consider the following useful works: Alice Kessler-Harris, Out to Work: A History of Wage-earning Women in the United States (New York: Oxford U. P., 1982); Catherine Gourley, Good Girl Work: Factories, Sweatshops, and How Women Changed Their Role in the American Workforce (Brookfield, CT: Millbrook, 1999); Rosalyn Baxandall, America's Working Women: a Documentary History, 1600 to the Present (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995, rev. ed.); Philip Foner, Women and the American Labor Movement (New York: The Free Press, 1982); and Lynn Weiner, From Working Girl to Working Mother: the Female Labor Force in the U.S., 1820-1980 (Chapel Hill: University of N.C. Press, 1985).


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