Research and Scholarship

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Dressmaking Students at Lucy Flower Technical High School for Girls, c. 1930s (Chicago History Museum)

My book manuscript in progress, Gendered Vocations: Educating Girls for Work in Progressive-Era Chicago, explores how women’s reform groups created new vocational schools, public courses, and guidance programs for female students in Chicago between 1880 and 1930. Gendered Vocations demonstrates how women’s vocational school reformers created new inequalities of gender, race, and class in Chicago’s public school system by World War I through their efforts to protect girls from dangerous labor conditions and ultimately prepare them for motherhood. Drawing on oral histories, letters, and yearbooks, Gendered Vocations also highlights the experiences of female students who negotiated new vocational programs designed to prepare them for work in and outside the home in early-twentieth century Chicago.

My research on women, girls, and vocational school reform has been supported by the Illinois State Historical Society, the Newberry Library, and Loyola University Chicago.