Female Proprietors in San Francisco, 1850-1920
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge the help and support of the many people who have contributed to this book and its completion. First and fore-most among them is Gary Nash. When I asked him to direct the committee for my dissertation, he replied that he thought it would be fun! It was that intellectual curiosity and enthusiastic support that drew me to him as an ad-...
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For most Americans today, the word ‘‘businesswoman’’ brings to mind women who have enjoyed spectacular success in big business corpo-rations. Of course, it is only recently that such female success stories have emerged from what remains a male-dominated business world. Yet female corporate executives are minorities not only in the world in which they cir-...
Chapter 1. Female Proprietors and the Businesses They Started
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In 1888 Mrs. Ann Hudson’s clothing store, on Market Street at Seventh,was situated to draw attention from the San Francisco men who at-tended functions at the Odd Fellows building on the adjacent block. Any of the working-class men who dominated the club’s membership likely found the location convenient, since so many must have walked by it on the way...
Chapter 2. Why San Francisco Women Started Businesses
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The stereotypical entrepreneur was motivated by a desire for riches and independence. But for businesswomen in San Francisco between 1850 and 1920, such dreams provided only brief inducement. Gold, the dust that inspired a worldwide migration to northern California, pulled women into proprietorship during the first decade of statehood. Yet gold’s lure was short-...
Chapter 3. How Women Started Businesses
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Once San Francisco women seized on proprietorship as a way to over-come the economic, legal, and personal restrictions that limited theiremployment choices, they faced the daunting task of getting their businessesstarted. This too was a test of a woman’s capital intentions. For what start-upstrategy she adopted might determine whether or not her enterprise took oﬀ...
Chapter 4. What It Took to Draw Customers
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Starting their businesses was only the first of several hurdles that San Francisco businesswomen confronted at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. The next challenge was to attract customers or, in the popular parlance of the day, to draw ‘‘a share of public pa-At first, doing so was relatively simple. In the 1850s, women in San Fran-...
Chapter 5. Women as Financial Managers
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D‘‘ o a good job and the profits will take care of themselves.’’ According to her son Grover, this was the philosophy of Mary Ann Magnin, founder of the elegant San Francisco–based department store, I. Magnin.1 The formula seems to have worked, since the retail chain eventually opened stores in thirty diﬀerent locations and maintained a reputation as the West’s pre-...
Chapter 6. When Women Went Out of Business
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Although most female proprietors entered the world of business poorly prepared to take on the complicated job of financial management,the marketplace did not wait for them to catch up. Not only were they hurled into a frenzy of daily financial decisions, but many also faced the caprice of business ownership head-on when calamity struck and their fortunes took...
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Capital intentions steered San Francisco’s female proprietors through the vagaries of small-business ownership between 1850 and 1920. This is not to say that women operated their businesses unhampered. In fact, women’s choices as female proprietors, from start to end, were shaped by legal, economic, and family restrictions, sometimes in ways that distinguished these...
Appendix 1: Note on Sources
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Appendix 2: Figures and Tables
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Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 13 illus., 2 figs., 13 tables, 1 map
Publication Year: 2006