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Though it is a relatively recent field of study, women's history is inscribed across all of the Harvard Library holdings gathered since 1638. By examining those holdings afresh and querying them in a new and feminist light, the curators of Women Working have aggregated thousands of items that illuminate women's history. The result is a unique, virtual collection, comprising over 650,000 individual pages from more than 3,100 books and trade catalogs, 900 archives and manuscript items, and 1,400 photographs. Women Working, 1800–1930 is a digital exploration of women's impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression.

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The Human Factor Introduction In the 1930s Harvard Business School colleagues Donald Davenport and Frank Ayres contacted leading businesses and requested photographs for classroom instruction—images Davenport hoped would “reveal the courage, industry and intelligence required of the American working man.” They amassed more than 2,100 photographs, from strangely beautiful views of men operating Midvale Steel’s 9,000-ton hydraulic press to women assembling tiny, delicate parts of Philco radios. Now students, and America’s aspiring corporate managers, had visual data to study “the human factor,” the interaction of worker and machine. But the pictures were more than documentary records.

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