We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Women and the Everyday City

Public Space in San Francisco, 1890–1915

Jessica Ellen Sewell

Publication Year: 2011

In Women and the Everyday City, Jessica Ellen Sewell explores the lives of women in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. A period of transformation of both gender roles and American cities, she shows how changes in the city affected women's ability to negotiate shifting gender norms as well as how women's increasing use of the city played a critical role in the campaign for women's suffrage.

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.
Working at the nexus of urban history, architectural history, and cultural geography, Women and the Everyday City offers a revealing portrait of both a major American city during its early years and the women who shaped it-and the country-for generations to come.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Architecture, Landscape and Amer Culture


pdf iconDownload PDF (98.9 KB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (46.6 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (36.1 KB)
pp. ix-x

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, ...

read more

Introduction: Women in Public

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. xi-xxxiv

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 ...

read more

One: Sidewalks and Streetcars

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 1-24

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. ...

read more

Two: Errands

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.7 MB)
pp. 25-66

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. ...

read more

Three: Dining Out

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 67-94

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. ...

read more

Four: Spectacles and Amusements

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 95-126

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 ...

read more

Five: Spaces of Suffrage

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 127-168

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. ...

read more

Epilogue: Everyday Landscapes

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.5 KB)
pp. 169-172

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. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (184.0 KB)
pp. 173-200


pdf iconDownload PDF (176.4 KB)
pp. 201-224


pdf iconDownload PDF (690.8 KB)
pp. 225-232

read more

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (15.9 KB)
p. 268-268

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.

E-ISBN-13: 9780816675340
E-ISBN-10: 0816675341
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816669745

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Architecture, Landscape and Amer Culture