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Women's Work

Images of women working. Our female ancestors weren't just "housewives!"

Woman railroad crossing guard, 1943.

Woman railroader learning to grease an engine wheel, San Francisco, 1943.

Edith "Jackie" Ronne (born October 13, 1919 - June 14, 2009) was an American explorer of Antarctica and the first woman in the world to be a working member of an Antarctic expedition. The Ronne Ice Shelf was named in her honor ~

Jackie Ronne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A vendor of post cards on a French street, 1900 - I love that the stand is sharply back-lit, which reveals the mechanism it rolls around on.

Les anciennes rues de Paris | les Petits Métiers de Paris

Women marking the pattern of uniforms onto material with chalk in preparation for the cutting stage of the process. Nine hundred miles of khaki serge produces 5,000,000 battle suits and 6,000,000 pairs of trousers. UK, 1941.

The Cleanup Crew. Found in the “Way We Worked” National Archives and Records Administration digital exhibition. Photo caption: “Like girls from Mars are these “top women” at U.S. Steel’s Gary, Indiana Works, Their job is to clean up at regular intervals around the tops of twelve blast furnaces. As a safety precaution, the girls wear oxygen masks while they are doing the clean-up job” By an unknown photographer, ca. 1941–45, National Archives, Records of the Women’s Bureau (86-WWT-33-58).

President Grant appointed Van Lew postmaster of Richmond (1869-1877). She was ostracized by Richmond society for her beliefs (involvement in Republican politics, women's suffrage & African American rights). She spent bulk of her inheritance on caring for family's former slaves & espionage activities during war & died penniless, the cost of her funeral paid by family of Union officer she assisted. She was inducted into Military Intelligence Hall of Fame for work on behalf of the Union army.

Person (U.S. National Park Service)

Minnie Oakley and Florence Baker Hayes, two Wisconsin State Historical Society librarians, 1896.

25 Vintage Photos of Librarians Being Awesome

A forgotten profession: In the days before alarm clocks were widely affordable, people like Mary Smith of Brenton Street were employed to rouse sleeping people in the early hours of the morning. They were commonly known as ‘knocker-ups’ or ‘knocker-uppers’. Mrs. Smith was paid sixpence a week to shoot dried peas at market workers’ windows in Limehouse Fields, London. Photograph from Philip Davies’ Lost London: 1870-1945.

Trailblazer: American photographer and journalist Margaret Bourke-White was the countrys first accredited female photographer during WWII, and the first authorized to fly on a combat mission

Six unidentified female railroad workers pose at Lincoln Park Station. The railroad line is the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway Company. In 1917-1918, many jobs traditionally held by men were filled by women, while the men served in the Armed Services in World War I. These women cleaned passenger cars. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone Collection]

Maria Mitchell, the first professional woman astronomer in the U.S. Born to a Quaker family on Nantucket, she grew up stargazing with her father’s telescope. On October 1, 1847, while working as a librarian she discovered a new comet, which became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet. In 1865, she became the first astronomy professor at Vassar College, where she ran the school’s observatory and woke students up in the middle of the night to study Saturn and Jupiter.

Mrs. Marcella Hart, mother of three, employed as a wiper at the roundhouse. Chicago & North Western R.R. 1943

Spanish-American War Nurses

Women in France filled all sorts of men's jobs during WWI. Female railroad workers at Gare du Nord Station, Paris in 1917.