Thursday, August 30, 2007
Lowell and Gilded Age America
Josephine Shaw Lowell (1843-1905) was one of the most remarkable women figures in the late nineteenth century, much better known as the Gilded Age in American history. Born into a wealthy New England family, she dedicated her life to eradicating poverty. A Progressive Reform leader, she established the New York Consumers' League in 1890, which strove to improve the wages and working conditions of women workers in New York City. Founder of many charitable organizations, she said, "If the working people had all they ought to have, we should not have the paupers and criminals. It is better to save them before they go under, than to spend your life fishing them out afterward." The Gilded Age certainly reminded of the Dickens' England-- unregulated and exorbitant wealth side by side with complete and irremediable poverty... For more on the biography of this remarkable woman see the scholarly work of Professor Joan Waugh at UCLA (here).