Women and the Everyday City
Public Space in San Francisco, 1890–1915
Publication Year: 2011
Focusing on women's everyday use of streetcars, shops, restaurants, and theaters, Sewell reveals the impact of women on these public places-what women did there, which women went there, and how these places were changed in response to women's presence. Using the diaries of three women in San Francisco-Annie Haskell, Ella Lees Leigh, and Mary Eugenia Pierce, who wrote extensively on their everyday experiences-Sewell studies their accounts of day trips to the city and combines them with memoirs, newspapers, maps, photographs, and her own observations of the buildings that exist today to build a sense of life in San Francisco at this pivotal point in history.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
This project has been possible with the support of a community of scholars who critiqued, applauded, nudged, edited, and otherwise helped me to turn my general ideas about women and space into this book. My writing partners Julian Carter, Zeynep Kezer, Marie-Alice L’Heureux, ...
Introduction: Women in Public
In the early twentieth century, San Francisco boasted a thoroughly modern downtown, a specialized district of tall, densely packed commercial buildings. After the earthquake and fire of 1906, Market Street, San Francisco’s spine and the center of its downtown, was quickly and substantially rebuilt with stylish buildings ...
One: Sidewalks and Streetcars
When women like Annie Haskell went out in public, whether shopping, going to the theater, visiting, or for any other purpose, they took to the streets in order to get to their destinations. Streets, streetcars, and ferries made up a web of transportation that connected domestic spaces to one another and to other landscapes. ...
In this diary entry Annie Haskell describes the rounds of errands she made on one ordinary day. The desire to exchange a pair of rubber gloves and an appointment at an insurance agency became the basis for a trip (probably on public transportation), a meal out, and visits to a number of other stores. ...
Three: Dining Out
From the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, dining out became increasingly common for women of all class positions. As women’s roles in the workforce expanded, and as they increasingly went out to shop and for amusement as well as to work, a growing number of institutions served meals away from home to women. ...
Four: Spectacles and Amusements
Amusement was a common reason for women to go out in public at the turn of the twentieth century. During this period, working hours shortened and leisure time became more common, in large part because of the efforts of unions, which were particularly strong in San Francisco.1 ...
Five: Spaces of Suffrage
In 1896 and 1911, California woman suffragists fought to win the vote in California, using a wide range of private and public spaces. In 1896, suffragists were very concerned with maintaining their propriety and femininity, often acting almost as visitors in public. ...
Epilogue: Everyday Landscapes
This book argues for a complex relationship between gender ideology and the built environment, a relationship that positions the modern downtown created in American cities like San Francisco at the turn of the century as central to changing attitudes about the lives of women. ...
About the Author
Jessica Ellen Sewell is assistant professor in the American and New England Studies Program and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Boston University.