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Boston Chamber of Commerce Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 881 1872-1949
Cartons 12, 42, 48, 49, 58, and 72

The papers of the Boston Chamber of Commerce include its office records, as well as records of many studies and committees the Chamber organized and sponsored. The collection contains 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).

Women at Work: Professional Labor > Executives (carton 72)
The files of the Committee on Commercial and Industrial Affairs include the records of the Forewomen's Council of Boston (from 1922 to 1924). The group consisted of "about seventy-five forewomen, employment managers, industrial nurses and other women in supervisory positions in industry from manufacturing establishments in Metropolitan Boston." Its records comprise membership lists, press releases, and several statements of the need for and functioning of this body.

Women at Work: Professional Labor > Office Workers (cartons 12 and 42)
The collection also contains material on office and clerical workers. Employee letters from 1910 to 1930 consist mainly of requests for employment or letters of recommendation, accompanied by the Chamber's responses. In 1922, the Chamber decided to set up a committee to study office salaries. The incomplete files include a draft for a detailed survey of office salaries, apparently designed by the Walworth Manufacturing Company, which lists office positions with separate spaces for men's and women's salaries at the end of each line.

Cartons 48, 49, and 58
The Chamber also collected information on civic and municipal affairs, sometimes with an eye towards policy development. The papers of the Committee on Industrial Relations include a file on child labor laws (from 1911 to 1921), an area of policy development which involved many women. It contains pamphlets from the Children's Bureau and from organizations in favor of new legislation, requests from manufacturers for information, speeches for and against child labor legislation, and correspondence between the Chamber and the Children's Bureau (most of the latter by printed form).

There are files with responses from a large number of companies to requests by the Chamber for information on industrial welfare programs between 1913 and 1916. A number of the letters are written by women, and many of the policies, such as AT&T's pamphlet "Welfare Work in Behalf of Telephone Operators," pertain to women workers. The Chamber put together reports, based on responses to its survey. Alphabetical records of the Committee on Municipal and Metropolitan Affairs contain a file on salary increases for teachers (from 1919 to 1930). The Chamber recommended against an "Equal Pay" bill.

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