Occupations for Women by Frances E. Willard

“You speak of a new woman farmer, a new woman this, and a new woman that. . . . There are no new women, but there are new men; for they are beginning to recognize the worth of women, and to acknowledge it. Women are the same as they always have been, only the sudden opening of the world’s eyes to their power has given them courage to strike out and conquer new fields.

Occupations for Women starts out predictably enough on domestic themes; the very first case study is a young woman with a marketable talent for making what were then called “Saratoga chips”. But it is not long before we get to Women in Medicine and Women in Politics, Woman in the Pulpit and Women in Banking. There’s even a chapter on “Chances for Colored Girls”. Laundry, agricultural labor and domestic service, right? Wrong: Meet Tennessee’s Lutie Lytle, soon to become America’s first female law professor.

Occupations for Women

Contents (this page)

List of Illustrations (this page)

Chapters I-XXI

Chapters XXII-XL

Chapters XLI-LXI


Index (this page)

The Author(s)

Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839–1898) was educated at Northwestern Female College—no relation to Northwestern University—graduating in 1859. And then, just to confuse everyone: in 1871 she became president of Evanston College for Ladies, which later merged with Northwestern (the well-known one). From 1874 she became involved in the temperance movement, founding the World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, lovingly discussed in Chapter XXVIII.

If wikipedia can be believed, “FEW Spirits, a distillery located in Evanston, Illinois, uses Willard’s initials as its name.” Snicker.

Parts of Occupations for Women are adapted from the author’s 1887 work How to Win: A Book for Girls, which went through several editions over the years.

The book also incorporates nine articles from the ten-article series “A Girl’s Talk to Girls” by Sarah L. Joy. (The second-to-last article, subtitled “Flirtation”, didn’t make the cut.) They were originally published in Volumes XLI and XLII of the Universalist publication The Ladies’ Repository, spanning the dates March-November 1869. The “girl” in the title is accurate, since the author was no older than 22 when the series came out.

In 1874 Sarah L. Joy married Henry Keith White, yielding her later byline “Sallie Joy White” (1847–1909). Under this name she is listed as a co-author of Occupations.

The third named co-author is Helen Winslow (1851–1938), whom we have met elsewhere on this site as the author of Concerning Cats and Spinster Farm. Her name isn’t associated with any specific chapter, but it seems safe to guess that she had something to do with Chapter XVII, “Caring for Pets”.

Frances Willard is modestly not pictured. But Chapter XLV, “Newspaper Women”, includes photographs of both Sallie Joy White and Helen Winslow.


Occupations for Women features at least four types of illustration, beginning with the “portraits of prominent women” advertised on the title page. (I didn’t count, but 75 seems about right.) As usual for the time, the photographers aren’t named.

Interspersed with the photographs are a handful of original drawings. A few carry the date “1897”, so we know they must have been done for the book. Rather embarrassingly, all appear to be by men. Those with legible signatures include:

And that’s not all. Every chapter has a decorative headpiece and—space permitting—tailpiece. Some are pictorial; others are more abstract designs. Quite a few of them are used inter­changeably, so one chapter’s headpiece will reappear as another chapter’s tailpiece.

Finally, each chapter has a decorative drop capital, again ranging from simple designs to tiny pictures. The headpieces, tailpieces and capitals aren’t specific to the text, but seem to have been pulled from a bin at random.

Words and Names

Lucy Stone (1818–1893) is especially remembered for refusing to take her husband’s name when she married. (Her daughter, Alice Blackwell, did get her father’s surname.)

Jennie June” is Jane Cunningham Croly (1829–1901), American’s first syndicated columnist. Born in the UK, she came to the US with her family in 1841.

Dr. Zakrewska”, sometimes abbreviated “Dr. Zak”, is correctly Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska (1829–1902). She was trained as a midwife in Germany, years before German medical schools admitted women, and eventually got a medical degree in the US. Thanks to the quality of German medical education as compared to that in the English-speaking world, it is safe to say her real education was in that school of midwifery.

At a few points, the author mentions Harper’s Bazaar. This doesn’t look like a mistake to modern eyes. But at the time Occupations for Women was published, and continuing until somewhere in the 1920s, the magazine spelled its name “Bazar” with single “a”.

For those who have forgotten: A “typewriter” is a person who operates a typewriting machine. The book doesn’t mention calculators and computers, though it certainly could have done so.

The author consistently says “employe” rather than employé (masculine) and employée (feminine), and similarly “protege” without accent. To make up for it, she always says “résumé” with plentiful accents. She seems undecided whether the word is “musn’t” or “mustn’t”. The words “co-educational” and “business-like” show up both with and without hyphen; I have left them as I found them.


This ebook is based on the 1897 Success Company edition.

Page numbers in [brackets] indicate full-page illustrations that have been moved to the nearest paragraph break. Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each chapter. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space.

Occupations for Women

UPLIFT OF WOMEN . . . . . .

Frances E. Willard

Helen M. Winslow and
Sallie Joy White


“They talk about a woman’s sphere,

As though it had a limit;

There’s not a place in earth or heaven,

There’s not a task to mankind given,

There’s not a blessing or a woe,

There’s not a whisper, Yes or No,

There’s not a life, or death, or birth,

That has a feather’s weight of worth,

Without a woman in it.”

The Success Company

Copyright, The Success Co.



I. What Is Life For? 21
II. What Your Hand Finds To Do, 25
III. This One Thing I Do, 31
IV. The Spiritual Side, 36
V. Preserve Making and Pickling, 41
VI. The Way it Happened, 47
VII. Professional Menders, 55
VIII. Co-operating for a Home, 60
IX. Books and Reading, 67
X. Guides, Shoppers and Chaperons, 72
XI. A Chapter on Dressmaking, 78
XII. What Career, 84
XIII. Occupations that Kill, 90
XIV. What Physical Culture Can Do, 95
XV. Women as Farmers, 102
XVI. Bee Culture, Poultry Culture and Silk Culture, 108
XVII. Caring for Pets, 114
XVIII. Lunch and Tea Rooms, 120
14 XIX. From the Successful Woman’s Standpoint, 126
XX. Telegraph and Telephone Girls, 132
XXI. Stenographer and Typewriter 127
XXII. The Faithful Saleswoman, 142
XXIII. Women in Advertising, 149
XXIV. Women in Real Estate, 155
XXV. Women in Banking, 160
XXVI. Women in Insurance, 165
XXVII. A Chapter of Facts, 171
XXVIII. In Temperance Work, 175
XXIX. The Day of Small Things, 185
XXX. Women in Medicine, 189
XXXI. Women in Politics, 196
XXXII. Woman in the Pulpit, 204
XXXIII. Piano and Organ Tuning, 209
XXXIV. Public Singers 215
XXXV. In Choir and Concert, 220
XXXVI. Pianists and Composers, 225
XXXVII. In Orchestra Work, 233
XXXVIII. Where Is My Place? 238
XXXIX. Women as Photographers, 242
XL. Women in Interior Decoration, 249
XLI. How a Girl May Work Her Way Through College, 257
XLII. Women as Teachers, 262
XLIII. College Presidents, Professors and Principals, 269
15 XLIV. In the Lecture Field, 277
XLV. Newspaper Women, 283
XLVI. Editors, Magazine Writers and Paragraphers, 293
XLVII. In the Dramatic Profession, 300
XLVIII. Women as Dramatists, 305
XLIX. What the Blind Can Do, 310
L. Women in Science, 317
LI. Women in Unusual Paths, 322
LII. Just What Women Are Doing, 333
LIII. Cooking School Teachers, 338
LIV. The Kindergarten Teachers, 345
LV. Women as Inventors, 349
LVI. Women as Business Managers, 355
LVII. In Government Service, 359
LVIII. Architects, Civil Engineers and Designers, 366
LIX. Women at the Bar, 371
LX. Chances for Colored Girls, 377
LXI. Trained Nurses, 383
LXII. Women in Millinery, 390
LXIII. Manicuring and Hairdressing, 395
LXIV. Dentists and Pharmacists, 400
LXV. Printing and Publishing, 405
LXVI. Bookkeepers and Cashiers, 411
LXVII. Up-to-date Rich Girls, 416
LXVIII. Women in Art, 423
16 LXIX. My Brave Helper, 429
LXX. For Study at Home, 435
LXXI. Women’s Exchanges, 439
LXXII. What We Owe to Pioneer Women, 443
LXXIII. In New Fields 448
LXXIV. What Two Girls Did, 455
LXXV. An Old Girl’s Talk to Girls, 463
LXXVI. Beauty and Dress, 467
LXXVII. Our Aims, 473
LXXVIII. Working Girls’ Clubs, 480
LXXIX. Marriage as a Career, 485
LXXX. The Devastation of Loopholes, 490
LXXXI. A Closing Word, 495




What My Hand Finds to Do, 27
Preserving and Pickling, 43
Mrs. Ida Moore Lachmund, 48
The “Robert Dodds” with Raft in Tow, 49
Miss Catherine Humes Jones, 52
A Pleasant Home, 63
Guides, Shoppers and Chaperons, 75
Physical Culture, 97
At Work in the Garden, 103
Miss Sarah A. Taft, 105
Caring for Pets, 115
Lunch and Tea Room, 121
Mrs. J. C. Croly (Jennie June) 127
The Faithful Saleswoman, 145
Miss M. B. Caffin, 152
Miss Grace J. Alexander, 161
18 Lady Henry Somerset, 177
An Errand of Mercy, 184
Operating Room in Women’s Hospital, 191
Mary A. Livermore, 197
Rev. Caroline Bartlett Crane, 207
Piano Tuning, 211
Gertrude Franklin, 221
Nannie Hands-Kronberg, 223
Martha Dana Shepard, 227
Mrs. H. H. A. Beach 229
Margaret R. Lang, 230
Fadette Orchestra, 232
Mrs. Caroline B. Nichols, 235
View in Franklin Park, Boston, 245
Professor Maria Mitchell, 272
Alice Freeman Palmer, 274
“Homelike Appearance Inside the Observatory,” 275
Lena Louise Kleppisch, 279
Mercedes Leigh, 280
Alice Parker Lesser 281
Mrs. Sallie Joy White, 285
Estelle M. H. Merrill 287
Adeline E. Knapp 288
Catharine Cole, 289
Helen M. Winslow, 292
Margaret E. Sangster, 295
19 Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, 297
Miss Katherine E. Conway, 299
Olga Nethersole, 301
Mrs. Julia Marlowe Taber, 303
Mrs. Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland, 308
Willie Elizabeth Robin, 313
Helen Kellar, 314
Edith Thomas, 315
Mrs. May French-Sheldon, 328
Palanquin in which Mrs. French-Sheldon Traveled in Africa, 329
Marie Robinson Wright, 330
A Model School Kitchen, 339
A Girls’ Cooking School, 341
Public Cooking School, 343
Mrs. Van Leer Kirkman, 354
Miss Helen A. Whittier, 356
Mrs. A. Emmagene Paul, 360
Miss Harriet P. Dickerman, 364
Woman’s Building, Nashville Exposition, 367
Mrs. Myra Bradwell, 373
Miss Lutie A. Lytle, 379
Miss Lilian Lewis, 381
“A Ministering Angel Thou,” 385
The Trained Nurse, 387
Mr. and Mrs. George H. Krafts, 391
Madame Juliette Pinault, 396
20 Mrs. Cora Dow Goode, 403
Women Operating Typesetting Machines, 407
Miss A. Florence Grant, 408
A Sea View, 422
Miss Anna Adams Gordon, 430
“A Fine Needlewoman Finds a Ready Market at the Exchanges,” 441
Susan B. Anthony, 445
Julia Ward Howe, 446
Woman’s Veterinary Hospital Ward, 451
Lida A. Churchill 456
“We will Sing Every Song in the Book,” 459
Deeds of Kindness, 465
Miss Cornelia T. Crosby, 475
Up and Doing in the Early Morning, 482
The Sunshine of a Happy Home, 487


Notes and Corrections: List of Illustrations

Helen Kellar,   314
spelling unchanged
[Her name will also be misspelled in the text of Chapter XLIX.]

[Typographic spoiler: This tailpiece will reappear no less than five times in the course of the book—always as a headpiece.]



Ackermann, Miss Jessie E., round-the-world missionary, W. C. T. U., 181
Albani, organist and pianist, 216
Aldrich, Miss Mildred, Boston Home Journal, 293
Alexander, Miss Grace J., assistant cashier of bank, 160
Alleyne, Miss Minnie, painter of anatomical charts, 448
Anderson, Mary, actress, 39, 302
Anthony, Susan B., advocate of woman’s rights, 201, 447
Baldwin, Miss Maria (colored), principal of Agassiz Grammar School, Boston 378
Baker, Lady, a noted traveler, 325
Barker, Mrs. E. A., care-taker of city pets, and cat kennels 116
Barton, Clara, president of the Red Cross Society, 87, 201
Bates, Cynthia, inventor of healthful corset-waist, 81
Bates, Miss Charlotte, manufacturer of underwear, 357
Beach, Mrs. H. H. A., musical writer, 229
Beecher, Catherine, a pioneer in the education of women, 189
Bickerdyke, Mother, a famous nurse during the Civil War, 388
Blackwell, Alice Stone, editor Woman’s Journal, 152, 298
Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, first graduate from medical college 189
Blackwell, Dr. Emily, second graduate from medical college, 189
Booth, Mary, first editor of Harper’s Bazaar, 294
Bradwell, Mrs. Myra, editor of the Court Register, 373
Brackett, Anna C, principal of the St. Louis Normal School, 276
Bridgman, Laura, a noted blind woman, 313
Burnett, Mrs. Frances Hodgson, author and dramatist, 307
Cameron, Mrs. Julia, portrait painter, 243
Carey, Annie Louise, vocalist, 216
Challender, Miss Rena, in charge of a daily newspaper, 406
Chaminade, Mlle., writer of songs and piano music, 229
Churchill, Lida A., writer of books, 455
Churchill, Miss, owner and manager of a large dairy farm, 106
Cole, Catharine, a New Orleans newspaper woman, 291
Conway, Miss Katherine E., associate editor of the Pilot, 298
Costa, Mrs. Mary, bank cashier, 161
Crane, Rev. Caroline Bartlett, pastor of a church in Kalamazoo, 206
Croly, Mrs. J. C. (Jennie June), a pioneer newspaper woman, 126, 290
Crosby, Fanny, a sweet blind singer, 311
Cushman, Charlotte, a celebrated actress, 301
Dascomb, Mrs. Marianna, principal of the ladies’ department, Oberlin College, 271
Davis, Mrs. Elizabeth Preston, mathematician, 318
Davis, Grace Weiser, a Methodist preacher, 205
DeKroyft, Mrs. Helen Aldrich, blind organist and author, 312
Diaz, Mrs. Abby Morton, author and lecturer, 91
Dick, Mrs. Sarah Frances, bank cashier, 161
502 Dickerman, Miss Harriet, Corporation Department of Massachusetts, 364
Dickinson, Miss Anna, dramatist, 306
Dickinson, Mrs. Mary Lowe, president of the National Council of Women, 168
Dodge, Miss Grace, founder of working girls’ clubs, 480
Dodge, Mrs. Mary Mapes, editor of St. Nicholas, 296
Durgin, Harriet Thayer, artist, 424
Durgin, Lyle, artist, 424
Eddy, Mrs. Ella H., manufacturer of overgaiters and leggings, 358
Edwards, Amelia B., Egyptologist, 322
Field, Kate, special writer, correspondent, paragraphist and editor, 297
Fletcher, Miss Alice, ethnologist, 319
Foster, Mrs. J. Ellen, Woman’s National Republican Association of America, 196
Fountain, Miss Lillie, deputy sheriff, 363
Franklin, Gertrude, church and concert singer, 221
French-Sheldon, Mrs. May, African traveler and explorer, 327
Gannon, Mary N., successful architect, 366
Gifford, Mrs. Hattie M., insurance agent, 166
Goode, Mrs. Cora Dow, a prosperous druggist, 402
Gordon, Miss Anna A., assistant secretary W. C. T. U., 181, 429
Grant, Miss A. Florence, successful job printer, 408
Green, Miss Mary A., member of bar of Massachusetts, 371
Greene, Catherine Littlefield, assisted in the invention of the cotton gin, 350
Greenaway, Kate, painter of children’s portraits, 83
Griswold, Miss Edith J., solicitor of patents, 453
Hamilton, Mrs. Emma Colman, drain pipe, firebrick, tile, etc., 357
Hand, Miss Alice J., a prosperous architect, 366
Hartt, Miss Irene, talks to girls, 131
Haskell, Mrs. Ella Knowles, Assistant Attorney-General of Montana, 375
Hasse, Miss Adelaide, librarian of the Interior Department, 319
Hemenway, Mrs. Mary, founder of first public cooking school, 340
Henrotin, Mrs. Ellen M., president General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 168
Herschfeld, Fraulein Henriette, the first female dentist, 401
Hoffman, Mrs., famous for her doughnuts, 38
Howe, Julia Ward, one of the pioneers of the W. C. T. U., 447
Hughes, Miss Alice, celebrated photographer, 244
Jenkins, Miss Josephine, a clever Boston newspaperwoman, 55
Johnson, Miss Nettie, a young sculptor, 427
Johnston, Miss, photographer, 244
Jones, Miss Catherine Humes, collector for an illuminating company, 52
Kelly, Sarah D., scientific packer of household goods, 334
Kilgore, Mrs. Carrie Burnham, first woman lawyer in Philadelphia, 373
Kimball, Mrs. Nellie Russell, dealer in coal and wood, 357
Kirtley, Miss Carrie, manager of insurance company, 165
Klotz, Miss Florence, an Allegheny County, Pa., constable, 363
Klumpke, Miss Dorothea, scientist, 318
Knapp, Adeline E., a San Francisco newspaper woman, 291
Krafts, Mrs. Georgia, successful milliner, 391
Lachmund, Mrs. Ida Moore, operator of steamboats and saw-mills, 50
LaCoste, Mrs. Carrie, real estate agent, 157
Lang, Margaret Ruthven, writer of music, 230
Lease, Mary Elizabeth, an eloquent speaker, 201
Leavitt, Mrs. Mary Clement, round-the-world missionary, W. C. T. U., 181
Lesser, Mrs. Alice Parker, member of the bar of California, 281, 372
Lewis, Miss Lilian (colored), journalist, 381
503 Lind, Jenny, a famous singer, 216
Livermore, Mary, an organizer of the American Woman Suffrage Association, 199, 444, 447
Lockwood, Mrs. Belva A., attorney and solicitor, 168, 373
Lougee, Miss Amanda M., head of large rubber “gossamer” manufactory, 356
Luzier, Mrs. Clemence S., one of the first women to study medicine, 194
Lytle, Miss Lutie, colored lawyer, 380
McDonald, Miss Margaret, designer of paper dolls, 453
McGregor, Mrs. Edith, insurance agent, 166
McLean, Miss Mary, of the faculty of Stanford University, 274
Marbury, Miss Elizabeth, theatrical manager, 449
Meade, Miss Jane, lecturer on American history and literature, 281
Merrill, Estelle M. H., a Boston newspaperwoman, 291
Metcalf, Miss Betsey, first manufacturer of straw bonnets, 351
Millard, Miss Clara, book hunter, 33
Miller, Mrs. Annie Jenness, on life insurance, etc., 81, 169
Miller, Mrs. Emily Huntington, dean of Woman’s College, 169
Minot, Mrs. Harriet G., manufacturer of blankets, 356
Mitchell, Professor Maria, Vassar College faculty, 272, 317
Morton, Mrs. Martha, dramatist, 307
Mulligan, Mrs. Agnes Murphy, land appraiser and real estate agent, 156
Murray, Maud, harpist, 233
Nichols, Caroline B., leader of Fadette Orchestra, 234
Nightingale, Florence, 87
Osgood, Marion, leader of the Marion Osgood Orchestra, 234
Palmer, Alice Freeman, professor of history, Wellesley College, 274
Parker, Miss Marian S., practical civil engineer, 368
Patti, Adelina, a famous cantatrice, 39, 216
Paul, Mrs. A. Emmagene, Chicago street-cleaning department, 360
Peabody, Miss Elizabeth, introduced the kindergarten into America, 346
Peavy, Mrs. A. J., Superintendent of Public Institutions for Colorado, 200
Pinault, Juliette, manicuring and hairdressing, 395
Pollock, Mrs., cobbler, 51
Pratt, Mrs. Ella Farman, editor of Wide Awake, 294
Randall, Dr. Lilian Craig, surgical hospital for women, 195
Ransom, Miss Emily A., editor of insurance paper, 167
Reel, Miss Estelle M., Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wyoming, 200
Revert, Miss Jennie, veterinarian, 449
Ristori, Madame, a famous actress, 21
Rorer, Mrs. Sara, lecturer and instructor in cooking, 344
Rose, Annie M., manager of advertising bureau, 150
Safford, Rev. Miss, president of Iowa Unitarian Association, 204
Sanborn, Kate, farmer, 105
Sanderson, Mrs. Mary E., treasurer W. C. T. U., 181
Sangster, Mrs. Margaret, editor Harper’s Bazaar, 294
Shanivan, Mrs. Annie, engineer, 51
Shaw, Rev. Anna Howard, M. D., 169
Shaw, Miss Harriet A., harpist, 233
Shaw, Mrs. Quincy, established free kindergartens, 346
Shepard, Mrs. Martha Dana, music festival pianist, 225
Sherman, Marietta (Mrs. Raymond), musical director, 235
Slack, Miss Agnes E., secretary W. C. T. U., 181
Small, Miss Lilian, maritime signal service, 453
Smith, Mother, restaurant, 123
Smith, Sophia, founder of Smith College, 272
Somerset, Lady Henry, vice-president-at-large, W. C. T. U., 181
504 Spofford, Mrs. Harriet Prescott, on insurance, 168
Starkwether, Mrs. Louisa, superintendent of women’s insurance agencies, 166
Steininger, Miss Thora, authority on mammals, 319
Stimson, Miss Clara M., manufacturer of lumber and shingles, 47
Stokes, Mrs. Emily, photographer, 244
Stone, Mrs. Lucy, advocate of women’s rights, 142, 196
Stuart, Mrs. Ruth McEnery, on life insurance, 169
Sutherland, Mrs. Evelyn Greenleaf, dramatist, 307
Symonds, Miss Edith, on telegraph and telephone girls, 132
Taber, Mrs. Julia Marlowe, actress, 303
Taft, Sarah A., farming and poultry culture, 106
Temple, Mrs. Grace Lincoln, decorator, 252
Ticknor, Anna Elliot, literature, art and science, 435
Thompson, Martha A., publisher, 461
Thurber, Mrs. Jeannette M., National Conservatory of Music of America, 228
Trine, Alexandrine, explorer of the Nile and Africa, 325
Turner, Miss Cora L., invented and patented a boiler, 352
Vannah, Kate, successful song writer, 229
Vogl, Mrs. Susan, advertising agent, 152
Wait, Dr. Phebe J. B., A. M., dean of New York Medical College, 169
Ward, Mabel Henshaw, working girls’ clubs, 480
Watson, Miss Laura S., principal Abbot Academy, 169
Wertheimer, Miss Jennie, inventor of safety paper for commercial uses, 163
West, Mrs. Percy, cat farm, 117
Whiting, Lilian, correspondent of Times-Democrat, 296
Whitney, Anne, Boston sculptor, 423
Whitney, Rev. Mary P., pastor of Unity Church, South Boston, 205
Whittier, Miss Helen A., president of cotton manufactories, 355
Wiggin, Kate Douglas, early San Francisco kindergartner, 347
Willard, Emma, principal of the Academy for Female Education, 270
Willard, Miss Frances F., president W. C. T. U., 181
Willett, Mrs. Taber, farmer, 107
Winslow, Miss Helen M., editor of the Beacon, Boston, 298
Woelper, Mrs. E. G., real estate agent, 157
Wood, Mrs. Louisa, insurance agent, 166
Wright, Marie Robinson, journalist and traveler, 331
Wyatt, Miss Julia, teacher of vocal music, 222


Notes and Corrections: Index

Bates, Miss Charlotte, manufacturer of underwear,   357
[This may be the same person as “Bates, Cynthia”; see Chapter LVI.]

Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, first graduate from medical college   189
text has Blackell

Crosby, Fanny, a sweet blind singer,   311
comma after “Crosby” missing

McLean, Miss Mary, of the faculty of Stanford University,   274
text has Standard
[The error is carried over from the body text.]

Murray, Maud, harpist,   233
comma after “Murray” missing