3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Gender, Professionalism, and Business in the Early Twentieth Century
“The ‘Domestication’ of Business: Service in the Turn-of-the-Century American Banks”
Nancy Marie Robertson, Indiana University/Purdue University, Indianapolis
At the turn of the 20th century, “women’s departments” were found in banks across the US. Banking was increasingly being conducted in large impersonal bureaucracies, rather than small personal institutions. Complaints by customers, male as well as female, about the service provided (or not) by bank employees were rampant. Women’s departments stressed the special services they offered (such as helping women learn to balance their bank accounts). It appears that the practices developed for and by women may have been adopted by male bankers in the ensuing years. Just as the interaction of women’s voluntary associations and politics functioned to “domesticate politics,” these departments (and the women involved) worked to domesticate American business.
“Murder for Love, Journalism for Bylines: The Colorful Career of Jazz Age Chicago’s Premier Crime Woman Reporter”
Genevieve G. McBride, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Stephen R. Byers, Marquette University
Commentator: Susan Levine, University of Illinois at Chicago
The 1920s were really the “roaring ’20s” in Chicago where mobsters ruled and journalists were hardbitten. This paper examines the career of one of those journalists, Ione Quinby of the Chicago Evening Post. Quinby, the only woman on the news staff at the Post, was to carve a special niche as the city’s “foremost” crime reporter as well as a feature writer who would befriend actresses, boxers, royalty, and gangsters, including Al Capone. Her specialty was writing about women murderers. Her story shows a side of Chicago journalism seldom covered. This paper includes a content analysis of all her bylined Post stories.
Commentator: Margaret Rung, Roosevelt University