Women of 1800s also worked outside the home

Published 2:41 am Saturday, March 25, 2006

By Staff
NILES - The Fort St. Joseph Museum and The Niles District Library present “Niles Women Entrepreneurs In the Victorian Age of a Business World Dominated by Men.”
The slide presentation will be by Carol Bainbridge, executive director of Fort St. Joseph Museum, on Thursday, March 30, at the Niles District Library.
Explore the history of women entrepreneurs of early Niles. Many women living in Niles during the late 1800s worked outside their homes. Some worked to earn their living; others needed to supplement their husband's income; and still others worked just because they wanted to.
According to the 1899 Niles City Directory there were 24 women working outside the home as schoolteachers and 15 are listed as being dressmakers.
Other occupations for women at that time included bookkeeper, clerk, boarding house operator, milliner, telephone operator, music teacher, and laundry service.
A few women took up occupations normally filled by men.
One woman operated a dry goods store and Kate Nobles, along with a few other Niles women, operated a chewing gum manufacturing company.
Fannie Delano performed with the Peak Family Bell Ringers and later with her husband, Jeppe, as part of a vaudeville act.
Bainbridge's presentation will focus on Niles women who operated their own businesses. They were female entrepreneurs in a business world dominated by men. Most were successful, some were not.
Bainbridge is the Niles City liaison and representative for The Fort St. Joseph archeology projects. Prior to her current position of nine years, she was Archivist for The Northern Indiana Center for History in South Bend, Indiana.
The presentation is sponsored by The Fort St. Joseph Museum and The Niles District Library and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Library's Community Room.