Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beyond Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker

Recently, I was thumbing through the Boston city directory for 1798 and noticed that many women were identified by their non-domestic professions. Here is a sample — I only listed one woman for each of the professions (there are dozens of hucksters, mantua-makers, and school mistresses). Most unexpected female profession: "Cancer Doctress."

Maria Ayers, mantua-maker
Patty Bacon, school-mistress
Sarah Badger, huckster
Anna Barrel, instructress
Augusta Baxter, milliner
Elizabeth Bayley, baker
Ruth Beales, glove-maker
Susanna Benjamin, retailer
Dorcas Blake, nurse
Catherine Breal, boarding house proprietor
Mary and Faith Butler, shopkeepers
Mary Clough, seamstress
Ann Corbitt, tayloress
Eleanor Druitt, boarding school proprietor
Silence Eustis, washerwoman
Abigail Perkins, ironer
Hannah Pope, cancer doctress
Eleanor Reed, slop shop owner
Mary Wentworth, pastry cook
Abigail Woodman, toy shop proprietor

favorite male profession: lemon dealer (there were at least 3!)

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