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Colloquium Archive

Janine Solberg

Name: Janine Solberg, English Department

Presentation Title: "Don’t Be Mannish: Early Twentieth-Century Career Advice Books for Women"

Date: October 21, 2004

Abstract

By the 1920s (about fifty years after the introduction of the typewriter), women had become a permanent fixture in the modern office, and schools—public as well as commercial—were mobilizing to prepare young women with the skills necessary for basic office work. At the same time, a stream of vocational literature and career advice books were being published to both support and supplement the efforts of educators. Such books promised to offer the would-be “business girl” a road map to success in the white-collar workplace. This paper will discuss career advice handbooks as one example of the textual negotiation of gender in the context of the newly emerging modern corporation.