Cover image for Beauty and business : commerce, gender, and culture in modern America
Beauty and business : commerce, gender, and culture in modern America
Scranton, Philip.
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2001]

Physical Description:
iv, 340 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
On beauty-- and the history of business / Kathy Peiss -- "Any desired length": negotiating gender through sports clothing, 1870-1925 / Sarah A. Gordon -- Questionable beauty: the dangers and delights of the cigarette in American society, 1880-1930 / Nancy Bowman -- Collars and consumers: changing images of American manliness and business / Carole Turbin -- "Fighting the corsetless evil": shaping corsets and culture, 1900-1930 / Jill Fields -- A depression-proof business strategy: the California Perfume Company's motivational literature / Katina L. Manko -- "I had my own business-- so I didn't have to worry": beauty salons, beauty culturists, and the politics of African-American female entrepreneurship / Tiffany Melissa Gill -- "At the curve exchange": postwar beauty culture and working women at Maidenform / Vicki Howard -- Estée Lauder: self-definition and the modern cosmetics market / Nancy Kohen -- Black is profitable: the commodification of the Afro, 1960-1975 / Susannah Walker -- "Loveliest daughter of our ancient Cathay!": representations of ethnic and gender identity in the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. beauty pageant / Judy Tzu-Chun Wu -- Hiding the scars: history of breast prostheses after mastectomy since 1945 / Kirsten E. Gardner.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
HF3031 .B42 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Leading historians explore how our ideas of what is attractive are influenced by a broad range of social and economic factors. They force us to reckon with the ways that beauty has been made, bought and sold in modern America.

Author Notes

Nancy Bowman is a member of the faculty at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California, and a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Maryland.
Jill Fields is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fresno
Kirsten E. Gardner is assistant professor of U.S. history and gender studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio
Tiffany Melissa Gill is a doctoral student in American history at Rutgers University
Sarah A. Gordon is a graduate student at Rutgers University in American and women's history
Vicki Howard is a Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the Hagley Museum and Library and Rutgers University, Camden
Nancy Koehn is associate professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School
Katina L. Manko is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Delaware
Kathy Peiss teaches American women's history and cultural history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Philip Scranton is Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University and director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library
Carole Turbin is professor of sociology and history at SUNY/Empire State College
Susannah Walker is working on a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu is an assistant professor of history at the Ohio State University

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In this scholarly and illuminating work, Scranton (history, Rutgers Univ.; Endless Novelty: Specialty, Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925) has compiled 12 essays that document the cross-cultural presence of women in the world of business during the 19th and 20th centuries. One common theme is that while women played a key role in business during this time, their presence was clearly overlooked and, in many instances, exploited. Thus, little is known about the African American women entrepreneurs who created an economic niche for themselves by becoming proprietors of thriving beauty shops. The section on "breast prostheses after mastectomy since 1945" asks, "How did a `surgical appliance' that catered to a narrow and specific consumer base evolve into a beauty product?" The book further notes that to get women to purchase certain restricting undergarments, they had to be imbued with the notion that their bodies were flawed. Well-researched notes follow each of three sections: "Images and Reform," "Business and Work," and "Constructing Commodities." Recommended for business historians and upper-division academic libraries with women's studies programs.DBellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

These essays from a conference at the Hagley Museum and Library and edited by Scranton (Rutgers; director of Hagley's Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society) attest to the growth of women in business and the welcome incursion of social and gender history into traditional business history. The collection is broken into sections ("Images and Reforms," "Business and Work," and "Constructions and Commodities") that roughly progress chronologically from the late 19th through the late 20th centuries. Essays look at business and beauty from the vantage point of workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, corporate strategy, and ideology, many analyzing class and race as well as gender. Particular products discussed include cigarettes, collars, sports clothing, corsets and bras, and cosmetics. Other topics include the Afro hairdo, mastectomy prostheses, beauty pageants, and the role of African American beauty shops. The mix is both interesting and potentially widely useful, not only for the study of business or women in business, but for a variety of other academic pursuits. It is a welcome addition to a growing body of literature. C. A. Kanes Maine College of Art

Table of Contents

Philip ScrantonKathy PeissSarah A. GordonNancy BowmanCarole TurbinJill FieldsKatina L. MankoTiffany Melissa GillVicki HowardNancy KoehnSusannah WalkerJudy Tzu-Chun WuKirsten E. Gardner
Prefacep. 1
Acknowledgmentsp. 5
On Beauty ... and the History of Businessp. 7
Part 1 Images and Reforms
"Any Desired Length": Negotiating Gender through Sports Clothing, 1870-1925p. 24
Questionable Beauty: The Dangers and Delights of the Cigarette in American Society, 1880-1930p. 52
Collars and Consumers: Changing Images of American Manliness and Businessp. 87
"Fighting the Corsetless Evil": Shaping Corsets and Culture, 1900-1930p. 109
Part 2 Business and Work
A Depression-Proof Business Strategy: The California Perfume Company's Motivational Literaturep. 142
"I Had My Own Business ... So I Didn't Have to Worry": Beauty Salons, Beauty Culturists, and the Politics of African-American Female Entrepreneurshipp. 169
"At the Curve Exchange": Postwar Beauty Culture and Working Women at Maidenformp. 195
Estee Lauder: Self-Definition and the Modern Cosmetics Marketp. 217
Part 3 Constructing Commodities
Black Is Profitable: The Commodification of the Afro, 1960-1975p. 254
"Loveliest Daughter of Our Ancient Cathay!": Representations of Ethnic and Gender Identity in the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Beauty Pageantp. 278
Hiding the Scars: History of Breast Prostheses after Mastectomy Since 1945p. 309
Notes on the Contributorsp. 329
Indexp. 331