Got an email from Bay Area author Lynn Peril–she’s the founder of “Mystery Date”: One Gal’s Guide to Good Stuff, click here
and having been a social science college major, I was drawn to her book subject matter.
Take a look: This one’s called: “Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons,” click here
And this one’s called: College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens and Co-Eds, Then and Now, click here
About her new book: “Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Social History of the American Secretary,” (to be published by Norton in 2009), author Lynn Peril says:
“My goal is to write good history that’s enjoyable to read; I want general readers to have fun and academics to appreciate the research. The new book, ‘Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Social History of the American Secretary’ will be published by W.W. Norton in 2009. I’m interested in the subject because I did office work for 20 years, the first three as a secretary, the remainder as a word processor. As always, I’m interested in gender roles, and the ones surrounded the secretary are lulus.
“Once she was on the job, the secretary, in the words of historian Alice Kessler-Harris, was expected “to possess all the sympathetic and nurturing characteristics of a good wife.” She “radiated the office with sunshine and sympathetic interest,” said the Ladies Home Journal in 1916. The Efficient Secretary (1917) counseled the wise worker to “carefully, tactfully protect” her boss “from himself and from his inclination to drift away from his work.” In 1931, the New York Times proclaimed the office “A New School for Wives” and the secretary “doubtless the nearest thing to the old-fashioned wife … modern civilization affords.”
“She was “paid to attend to the bothersome details with which he [her boss] cannot concern himself. … She may be counted upon to smile appreciatively at his jokes, even to hold his pencils admiringly …” If she was depressed or sad, “office etiquette requires that one be as cheerful as possible,” noted The Successful Secretary (1951). A 1970 Business Week article on office workers and drug use noted that according to “numerous anecdotes,” a doped-up secretary could fly under the radar of a boss who confused “her dazed condition for love.” Yikes.”