Business History Review

Articles

“To Triumph before Feminine Taste”: Bourgeois Women's Consumption and Hand Methods of Production in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Paris

Whitney Waltona1

a1 Whitney Walton is assistant professor of history at Oakland University.

Abstract

In this article Professor Walton examines the influence of bourgeois women on industrial production in nineteenth-century Paris. She argues that women, as arbiters of taste and consumers for the family, sought art and originality in manufactured goods, and that their demands in turn fostered handicraft and less skilled hand methods of manufacturing as the best means of providing such goods. By establishing the connections between women's roles and bourgeois demand, and between bourgeois demand and hand manufacturing, this study offers a new perspective on the persistence of hand production in France.

Whitney Walton is assistant professor of history at Oakland University. She received her Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has studied women workers in nineteenth-century French Lorraine and is currently analyzing bourgeois views of industrialization in France as represented by French participation in the Crystal Palace Exhibition ot 1851.