By the mid-nineteenth century, many areas of lifeincluding
the waterfrontwere beginning to open up to women. With the industrial
revolution came new opportunities for women to work. Popular media
such as Harper's Weekly began showing women taking on jobs,
caring for family, traveling, and enjoying leisure activities such
as swimming and sailing.
1887 W. T. Smedley
From Harper's Weekly,
October 22, 1887
The Mariners' Museum Research Library and Archives
During this period, more women began working the water in partnership with their husbands. Some found success carrying on the family business after their husbands died. By the end of the century, satirists and others were even beginning to consider the idea of women in the navy. Little did they know that only a few decades would make this a reality.
With the advent of larger steamships capable of
crossing the ocean, it became feasiblethen fashionablefor
women to travel in pairs or even alone. By the late 1800s, a voyage
to Europe had become a key part of a wealthy young American woman's
coming of age. This in turn led to an acceptance of female stewards
and cooks aboard ocean liners, for well-to-do female passengers could
not be expected to be waited on personally by a man.
Using a map of the world,
brainstorm on what countries a woman in the nineteenth
century could travel to.
Think about travel time, safety,
and cultural differences for each of the countries.
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