Short essay (2) assignment, due Tuesday Oct. 23

10 points per essay, total 20 points


From this selection of primary sources about women in the industrial-urban era of the late 19th-early 20th century, choose two to write about. Write 2 essays (one for each source) analyzing them. Use the accompanying material in Born for Liberty to provide context.  Each essay should be 1 to 2 pages long, and the assignment may be hand-written or typed.


Choose 1 document from this list of primary sources that focus on working-class women

AND Choose 1 document from this list that looks more at middle class women reformers/Progressives (and some of these also explore their interactions with working class women)

(All in MAW)

     Bertha Palmer (pp. 7-11)

     Anzia Yezierka (pp. 20-22)

     The Harsh Conditions of Domestic (pp. 52-56)

     Female Perspectives on Great Mig. (pp. 56-59)

     Agnes Nestor (pp. 59-62)

     Working Women Write the Jewish (pp. 62-65)


          MAW:   Anna J. Cooper (pp. 11-14)

               Ida B. Wells (pp. 14-17)

                Jane Addams (pp. 34-37)

                Mamie Garvin Fields (pp. 40-43)

                Mary Ritter Beard (pp. 43-46)

Online:   Jane Addams Advocates Civic Housekeeping, 1906 

Muller v. Oregon

RR folder in in CTools: Robins, WTUL Purpose



 To analyze each source, consider these questions:

Some of these questions apply better to some documents than others.  Choose the questions (it could be several) that you think can best be used to analyze and reveal the meanings of your document.

   I suggest beginning your analysis by identifying/analyzing authorship and when the document was created – get the basic contextual information down before you proceed.

            As for your tone when writing, stay fairly detached, objective, and historical. You may use first person (“I”), but this is not meant to be a personal reaction essay, nor should you focus on making comparisons/contrasts to the present day.  (e.g. the significance of a document is not, for instance, that it demonstrates how much better working conditions are today.)

This is not meant to be a summary of the document.   Nor is it meant to be a personal reaction essay. (I’m not interested in whether you agree with the document’s message or not.)

Instead,  I want to see that you have read and thought about the document and are able to apply the kinds of questions that historians use when confronting an artifact from the past.  Be a detective; consider this document a “clue.”  Read between the lines.  Try to say something meaningful about the document’s significance by connecting it to larger themes.