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Gail Belden Collection
Mss 75 1928-1936 B7
Papers of the secretary of the Middle West Utilities Company and Middle West Corporation during the 1920s and 30s.

Boston Chamber of Commerce Collection
Mss 881 1872-1949
Includes a file of records of the Forewomen's Council of Boston (from 1922 to 1924), information on office workers, and some materials on civic and municipal affairs involving women (from 1911 to 1930).

Henniker Crutch Company Collection
Mss 48 1936-1961 H516
Records include those related to Margaret Dow, who ran the company after the death of her father in 1952.

R. H. Macy and Company Collection
Mss 776 1858-1919 M177
Includes interviews that describe the work of female executives during the early years of Macy's department store.

Spencer Wire Company Collection
Mss 596 1876-1929 S745
Clerks' records, documenting the meetings of stockholders and the election of officers, including a woman director and president.

Click for larger image
Letter from Lucy B. Crain to A. Lincoln Filene, 1922.

In the twentieth century, women began to increasingly take on executive and managerial roles and the idea of career opportunities for women began to take shape. This involved not only a whole new way of thinking but also the development of new skills for those seeking professional employment.

"My dear Mr. Filene," wrote Lucy Crain in 1922, "I appreciated very much you giving me some of your valuable time." She may have gone to see Filene because he was active in the movement for women's professional education, or because he employed women as managers in his Boston department store. Whether Crain was seeking advice or a job is not explicit in her letter. One concludes, however, that she was looking for a professional, even managerial, position but she was not entirely comfortable with the process.

At Filene's request, Crain enclosed "a brief outline of my career, which looks a little as if written for Who's Who." It provides a remarkable window into the life of an early twentieth-century career woman. A librarian for 15 years, Crain eventually rose to assistant manager of sales for a motion picture company and then organized for the Massachusetts Civic League.

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