How Women Saved the City

How Women Saved the City

How Women Saved the City

How Women Saved the City

Excerpt

The time between the Civil War and World War I was an important moment in the evolution of the industrial city—it established the template that guided growth until the 1950s. Architectural, planning, and urban histories recognize the significance of this period and document the accomplishments of the men who built skyscrapers, city halls, and department stores. Few, however, include women as active agents of the city's construction. Like feminist scholars in many fields, I suspected that women had played an obscured role that deserved recognition. This project thus began as a scavenger hunt for women's contributions to the American urban landscape.

One path I could have taken was to search the ranks of architects, urban planners, engineers, and builders for the few women who had made it into these professions. I was more interested, though, in the ways typical women could have engaged in shaping the public sphere. The avenues then open to women for participation in public life were voluntary organizations. Thus voluntary associations with a physical presence in the city became the object of my search.

Four voluntary associations in which women were active that had building programs were founded between 1858 and 1896: the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), The Salvation Army, the College Settlements Association (CSA), and the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The YWCA, NACW, and CSA were operated predominantly by and for women. The Salvation Army, and the larger settlement movement represented by the CSA, included male as well as . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.