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Working Women and the Industrial Revolution

Working Women During the Industrial Revolution - Occupations

Before the Industrial Revolution

  1. Based on the readings and class discussions describe the lives of three women prior to the Industrial Revolution in the United States.
  2. Give at least three specific examples of how each woman spent her day(s) and explain the reasons for what she did and the ramifications it had for herself and for her family.
  3. Creating three questions, one from each category in Bloom's Taxonomy, what would you want to ask each woman and why?

What Changes? The First Industrial Revolution

  1. Using the two column note format, select five inventions effecting how Americans lived. Use specific examples and quotations from the reading.
  2. In your assigned group share your examples and write specifics on the sticky notes. Put the sticky notes on the Bucket List posters around the room.
  3. Select a representative to defend your group's bucket list choices with the class. Add to your two column notes from what is shared.
  4. Homework: Which invention do you think most changed the United States? Using your two column notes, write nine to twelve sentences that support your reasoning. Include a minimum of two compound and two complex sentences.


  • US History Collection
    "...this collection provides well-rounded coverage of both the current thinking and events in US History, as well as scholarly work being established in the field".
  • US History in Context
    Excellent site with information from a variety of sources. So well organized.


Destiny Catalog Websites

Destiny Catalog Websites

Topic Language Lexile


The Diary of a Civil War Nurse
Many women made the choice to leave their families, homes and communities during the U.S. Civil War and serve as nurses. Read the diary and letters of Amanda Akin who documents the 15 months she spent working in a hospital in Washington, D.C. Use the interactive feature to view historic photographs of places Amanda Akin visited while she was in Washington, D.C. The menu at the bottom of the page leads you to information about Akin, the wartime roles of women, hospital routine and turmoil and hospital newspapers.

American Civil War--Family life, American Civil War--Women, Nursing, American Civil War--Medicine  English 1300


Civil War Women: Primary Sources on the Internet
Within Duke University's Special Collection Library is the Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, who produced this web site at the request of students and teachers who wanted to see primary sources about women and the Civil War on the Internet. Here you can find diaries, letters, documents, photographs, and prints from the Civil War period. Don't miss Carrie Berry's diary. Carrie Berry was a 10-year-old resident of Atlanta at the time she recorded her thoughts and feelings in this diary. You'll learn how she celebrated her 10th birthday, and view five months of the Civil War through the eyes of a young girl.

American Civil War, 1861-1865, History--Sources, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives English 1400


The Home Front
Four different perspectives on life at home during the American Civil War are provided at this web site. The first is a journal written by a woman in Georgia who became widowed in 1858 and stayed on the family plantation. Read about women in Wisconsin who stayed and worked on the family farms while their husbands went to war. There is a letter from a woman in Michigan to her solider husband who was stationed in Tennessee and a letter to relatives in Germany from a woman describing what her life was like while her husband was at war.

American Civil War--Family life English 1160


The 'Better' Sex
When men began leaving home for longer periods of time to earn a living, women were at home in charge of the children by themselves. This responsibility molded the reputation of the woman being the more responsible in passing along family values. This page from an online textbook explains how women were viewed prior to the 1800s when Puritan families first arrived. It explains what types of jobs and responsibilities women were most fit to take on, how men were viewed, and how this impacted the role of women.

Women--History--19th century English 1340


Laura E. Richards
Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards was born in 1850 in Boston to distinguished parents. Her father was a social reformer who gained fame as an abolitionist and founder of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind. Her mother was well-known poet Julia Ward Howe, who authored the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This web site provides a detailed, interesting biography of Richards. It is illustrated with photographs of a young and a mature Richards and pictures of places which influenced her life.

Richards, Laura Elizabeth Howe,--1850-1943 English 1270


One Room Schools in the Oz
The little red schoolhouse was often white or even unpainted on the frontier. In Missouri, one-room schoolhouses were still common into the 1950s. In the Ozarks, people lived on scattered homesteads so small schools were necessary. Farmers rarely went to town unless they needed to trade for things they could grow or make. Parents often directly paid the costs for subscription schools, and the schoolhouse might serve as church and community center. Teachers, who boarded with local families, varied greatly in their skills. Lessons involved recitation, spelling bees, and ciphering matches. Students learned at their own paces.

One-room schoolhouses English 1120


Women and Railroads
As long as there have been railroads, there have been women involved in railroading. Women have operated railroad telegraphs, worked as station agents, taken roles in railroad advertising, and even laid track. Read the story of 15-year-old Kate Shelley, the daughter of a railroad foreman, and how she went for help when a train went crashing into Honey Creek. In spite of the numerous risks to her own safety, she crossed the long railroad bridge over the Des Moines River on a dark and stormy night. Discover the useful rewards she received for her rescue efforts.

Shelley, Kate English 1280


Women in History: Susan Blow, Founder of U.S. Kindergartens
Many people assume that Kindergarten has always been a part of elementary school, but the concept of Kindergarten was unknown before 1873 when Susan Blow founded Kindergarten. This article tells you all about Susan Blow, how she became interested in early childhood education, and the Kindergarten movement. Not only will you learn of Susan Blow's life history, but you will also learn about the history of Kindergarten. A picture of an early Kindergarten class is presented and can be enlarged.

Kindergarten English 1270


Women Homesteaders
Did you know that a large number of the pioneers who settled the Great Plains were single women? Read about how the Homestead Act provided opportunity for women who were widowed, abandoned or who had never married. Find out how many women took on other jobs (as teachers, nurses, domestic workers, etc.) to make ends meet as they established their new homes. Although many of the women settlers banded together to help each other, read about Kirsten Knudsen, a Norwegian immigrant, for an inspiring success story of a determined woman pioneer who made it entirely on her own.

Pioneers English 1060


Cleveland Public Schools: The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History  
Also Women-The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The history of the Cleveland public school district is discussed in this encyclopedia article. The article describes the school district in the nineteenth century and the issues that arose with time and immigration. It also explains the challenges the school district faced following World War II including poverty, racial discrimination, and federal government control. Information on school programs, related legislature, and the issues related to school integrations and busing is provided as well. Summaries of the modern school district can also be found.

Busing for school integration English 1380


Innovative Lives: Exploring the History of Women Inventors
Although the list of inventions created by women is extensive, it is most likely incomplete. This article focuses on the contributions of women inventors, from the nineteenth century through the present. As pointed out here, women initially applied for patents under the name of their husbands or with just initials. However, new property-rights laws, enacted in the mid 1800s, led to more patented inventions registered under women's names. The histories of specific women inventors, and the success of their inventions, are also discussed.

Women--History, Women inventors English 1210


Chapter 6: Late Nineteenth Century - Nellie Bly (1867-1922)
Launching an innovative type of investigative journalism, Elizabeth Jane Cochran became the writer she had always dreamed of becoming. Explore the journey of her childhood from the rebellious daughter of a prominent citizen to the loss of home, livelihood, and security after the death of her father. Discover what happened in Pittsburgh when she responded to a newspaper article with an angry letter. Then, travel with Nellie Bly to New York City as she met the challenge of a newspaper editor with boldness, and began to expose poverty, injustice, corruption, and labor issues.

Bly, Nellie,--1864-1922 English 1190


World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893
Items from the Special Collections department related to the World's Columbian Exposition that you can only view online. In highlighting this collection the department first provides you with some background information on the World's Columbian Exposition that explains the type of crowd it drew and the types of attractions that added to the legacy of the fair. Following this information you will find thumbnail prints of the items in the collection. Each thumbnail print is accompanied by descriptive information. When you click an image you will get to view an enlarged version.

World’s Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.) English 1210


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