Boss Waving His Fist at Female Employee in a Sweatshop

Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: engraving
Museum Number: LC-USZ62-79589
Annotation: From the latter 1800’s to the turn of the twentieth century, the rise of Robber Barons and Monopolies, and “The Gospel of Wealth” espoused by extravagantly wealthy men like Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller marked the rise of American capitalism and a dramatic decrease in the small independently owned businesses that had supported the American economy before the Civil War. After the war, growth in corporate owned factories in the U.S. doubled, employing thousands of workers whose ability to perform repetitive menial tasks became more valued than traditional artisan skills. The ensuing drive for larger profits drove factories to push workers into increasingly longer work hours, poor working conditions and minimal wages. This image, taken from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, depicts a young woman at work just such a factory being menaced by a male foreman.
Year: 1888