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Morris Rosenfeld started his New York career in 1910 as the city was growing rapidly, bustling with industry, labor activism, political unrest, new consumer goods, and popular entertainments. The photographs here capture aspects of that labor situation, as more young white women went to work in factories and offices to earn their own wages, while opportunities for women of color remained limited.
The Rosenfeld’s commercial photographs reveal details about women’s training and work conditions, changes in their work clothing, and amusing adaptations (look for the roller skates). They also show gender segregation at work -- notice how few women are shown working side-by-side with men. Embedded in these long-ago images of women in long skirts are reminders about how daily work was tangled with ideas about gender, race, and class.