How Women Saved The City by Daphne Spain

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Urban History/Women's Studies

Reclaims the lost history of women's contributions to the development of American cities.

In the days between the Civil War and World War I, women rarely worked outside the home, rarely went to college, and, if our histories are to be believed, rarely put their mark on the urban spaces unfolding around them. And yet, as this book clearly demonstrates, women did play a key role in shaping the American urban landscape.

To uncover the contribution of women to urban development at the turn of the nineteenth century, Daphne Spain looks at the places where women participated most actively in public life-voluntary organizations like the Young Women's Christian Association, the Salvation Army, the College Settlements Association, and the National Association of Colored Women. In the extensive building projects of these associations-boarding houses, vocational schools, settlement houses, public baths, and playgrounds-she finds clear evidence of a built environment created by women.

Exploring this environment, Spain reconstructs the story of the "redemptive places" that addressed the real needs of city dwellers-especially single women, African Americans, immigrants, and the poor-and established an environment in which newcomers could learn to become urban Americans.

Daphne Spain is professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia.

Translation Inquiries: University of Minnesota Press


About Daphne Spain

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Spain is a professor of urban and environmental planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.
Published November 20, 2000 by Univ Of Minnesota Press. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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A professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia, Spain focuses on the activities of women in urban spaces following the Civil War, when immigrant populations dramatically increased in the Northern states as Southern blacks fled the Reconstruction, and Europeans, Iris...

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