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The Condition of Women Workers Under the Present Industrial System....

An address at the National Convention of the American Federation of Labor, held at Detroit, Mich., December 8th, 1890.

Availability: In stock

Published: [New York Concord Cooperative Print, 1891]

Stock Code: 133013

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First edition, one of two 1891 printings, of Van Etten's address, one of the first serious attempts to secure safe conditions and better working hours for women in the underground garment industry. The other 1891 printing was published in Washington, DC by the Globe Printing Company; no priority has been established. The copyright for both printings was owned by Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). OCLC and Copac suggest that Van Etten's address (in either state) is relatively well held in American institutions - though it is somewhat unclear as to which have hard copies and which offer microform or digital access only - but only nine institutions outside the US are recorded as housing copies (three in Australia, two in Canada and the same in the UK, and one apiece in Germany and the Netherlands).
Van Etten (1872-1930), a scion of one of New York's oldest families, served as secretary of the Working Women's Society in New York and was an influential writer and speaker on women in industry. In Van Etten's address - she was one of only two women who spoke at the AFL's convention that year, the other being Eva McDonald Valesh - she analyses the growth of female employment and the exploitative and horrific working conditions under which they worked. The union movement was frequently hostile to female employees, with employers often replacing union men with lower salaried women, and so Van Etten's address also sought to convince her audience of union men that the enhancement of pay and conditions for female employees was in their best interests.
Provenance: the copy of the Progressive economist and journalist Richard T. Ely (1854-1943), with his inked ownership signature at the head of the front wrapper. Ely founded the American Economic Association, and promoted the extension of government regulation into economic life to ameliorate poor labour conditions.

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Octavo [16 pp.]. Original printed buff paper wrappers.


Blue crayon notation "HFN" at head of front wrapper. Very lightly creased, minor soiling to wrappers. A very good copy.


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