Claudia B. Kidwell and Margaret C. Christman, Suiting Everyone: The
Democratization of Clothing in America. Washington, D.C.: 1974, pp.
See Susan Porter Benson, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and
Customers in American Department Stores. Urbana: 1986.
Stuart Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience
in the American City, 1760-1900. Cambridge (England) and New York:
1989, pp. 83-107.
Anna Tirocchi to Ivory Flakes Soap, June 3, 1940, and June 4, 1940.
Cf. pp. 38-39 in this volume.
Biographical information on clients and descriptions of their purchases
may be found in the Tirocchi Archive client data base. See also Mary D.
Doherty to Miss T., May 1923; and Street List of Residents over Twenty
Years of Age in the Town of Brookline, 1923. Brookline (Massachusetts):
1923. The latter reference was kindly supplied by Anne Clark of the Brookline
John S. Gilkeson, Jr., Middle-Class Providence, 1820-1940. Princeton:
1986, pp. 204-10, 318-20. In addition to those mentioned in the text,
"general social organizations" include the Jacobs Hill Hunt, Warwick Country
Club, Dunes Club, Wannamoisett Country Club, and the Providence Plantations
Club; intellectual/artistic organizations include the Providence Athenaeum,
the Needlework Guild, Rhode Island School of Design and its museum, The
Players, and the University Glee Club; other elite men's clubs are the
Economic Club of Providence and the University Club; and lineage societies
include the Society of Mayflower Descendants, Sons of the American Revolution,
and Daughters of the American Revolution.
Kathryn Manson Tomasek, "Irrepressible Women, Work, and Benevolence in
Providence, Rhode Island, 1860-1936," paper presented at the conference
"Rhode Island Reconsidered," John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University,
November 15, 1997; see also Sixty-Third Report of Irrepressible Society
for the Year Ending April 30, 1926. Providence: 1926.
Providence Journal (January 19, 1930); Tirocchi Archive.
Dorothy Newton to Anna Tirocchi, n.d., 1923; Mrs. Charles B. Luther [Charlotte
Robinson Luther] to Anna Tirocchi, n.d.
"Women's Union at 100 changes with times," "Union has changed with the
times," and "Over the years many groups have been aided by the Union,"
Fall River Herald (June 18, 1987); Fall River Women's Union:
A Brief History Celebrating the Hundredth Anniversary of Incorporation,
1887-1987. 1987, n.p. Jamelle Tanous Lyons of the Fall River Historical
Society generously supplied these references.
Obituary of Mrs. W. H. [Mira] Hoffman, n.d. (1940); Tirocchi Archive.
Judith E. Smith, Family Connections: A History of Italian and Jewish
Immigrant Lives in Providence, Rhode Island 1900-1940. Albany: 1985,
Wendy Gamber, The Female Economy: The Millinery
and Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930. Urbana: 1997. A related problem
in using the letters in the Tirocchi Archive is that there is no way to
know what proportion of the incoming correspondence was saved or of the
outgoing correspondence copied. Over half (52%) of the letters date from
1919 to 1923, but even these appear not to be all the letters received
in these years, since those from 1919 are almost all dated September through
December and those from 1923 are almost all dated from March through July.
Another fifth of the letters (19.7%) are undated. The most one can say
is that the best selection of the letters comes from the four years after
the end of World War I, an era of inflation followed by a sharp deflation,
during which the dollars of the wealthy went even further than usual.
Anna Tirocchi to Mrs. Hoffman, March 20, 1940; and Mrs. E. G. Butler to
My dear Madam, November 1919. Because it is often not clear to which of
the sisters a letter was directed, they are herein identified by salutation.
"Madam" or "Madame," however, was the common form of address to Anna Tirocchi.
Alice E. Trowbridge to Anna and Laura [Tirocchi], November 1, 1922; Dorothy
Newton to Anna [Tirocchi], May 6, 1923.
Mrs. Luther to Anna [Tirocchi], June 1923. Mrs. Luther to Anna [Tirocchi],
Tuesday. Elizabeth Phetteplace to Anna [Tirocchi], n.d. Lucy L. Wall,
no salutation, n.d.
J. S. Bateman to Anna [Tirocchi], November 1919. Mrs. E. G. Butler to
Madame Tirocchi, November 6, 1919.
Mrs. E. G. Butler to Madam Tirocchi, December 9,
1919, and December 19, 1919. Elizabeth A. Seaman to Madame, n.d. Mrs.
A. D. Champlin to Anna [Tirocchi], 1918? Mrs. M. A. Davis to A & L. Tirocchi,
1920. Mrs. Luther to Anna [Tirocchi], January 1920. E. A. Loomis to Anna
[Tirocchi], May 10, 1920.
Dorothy Newton to Anna [Tirocchi], March 2, 1923. A. N. Brown to Miss
Tirocchi, July 1, 1923. Adelaide W. Danforth to Miss Anna [Tirocchi],
April 15, 1923. Mrs. E. G. Butler to Madam Tirocchi, November 13, 1919.
Mrs. Charles B. Luther to Anna [Tirocchi], n.d.: Lucy L. Wall to Anna
[Tirocchi], November 22, 1919.
Mrs. Mary O. P. Rounseville to Madame Dirocchi [sic], n.d. Mrs. Charles
B. Luther to Anna [Tirocchi], n.d.; see also Mrs. Charles B. Luther to
Anna [Tirocchi], January 1920. David M. Katzman, Seven Days a Week:
Women and Domestic Service in Industrializing America. Urbana: 1981,
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Handbook of Labor
Statistics 1975 - Reference Edition. Washington, D.C.: 1975, p. 254,
table 102. This table gives the average weekly salary for a nonsupervisory
manufacturing employee as $21.94. I multiplied this by 50 to get a yearly
figure, but this is almost certainly too high, because so many workers
at that time were unable to secure a full year's work. See weddings folder;
Tirocchi Archive. Mrs. O. H. Williams to Misses Tirocchi, September 26,
1919; Alice E. Trowbridge to Anna and Laura [Tirocchi], November 1, 1922.
Margaret D. DuVillard to Anna [Tirocchi], July 12, 1940.
Charlotte Luther to Anna [Tirocchi], May 1922, two letters. Lottie Luther
to Anna [Tirocchi], August 2, 1922. Anna L. Tirocchi to Richard Hawes,
January 14, 1932. For another example of a price dispute amicably resolved,
see Mary Burlingame Peck to Anna [Tirocchi], July 26 and August 1, 1939.
J. S. Bateman to Anna [Tirocchi], November 1919; Jennie L. Bateman to
Anna Tirocchi, 1923. Jennie L. Bateman to Madam Tirocchi, October 1920.
Cornelia L. W. Ely to Anna [Tirocchi], July 3, 1923. E. A. Loomis to Anna
and Laura Tirocchi, n.d. See, for example, Nina A. Williamson to Mrs.
Tirocchi, 1916; Florence Beresford to Anna [Tirocchi], November 20, 1919;
E. A. Loomis to Anna [Tirocchi], 1922. Mary Colt Gross, 1934; Mrs. Harold
J. Gross to Miss Tirocchi, June 11, 1934; Anna Tirocchi to Mrs. Gross,
July 10, 1934; Mary Colt Gross to Miss Tirocchi, January 29, 1940. Anna
Tirocchi to Mrs. T. C. Barrows, September 20, 1932.
M. B. Baker to Anna Tirocchi, November 19, 1919; Florence P. Maxwell to
Anna [Tirocchi], November 7, 1922; Lucien L. Butler to Madame Tirocchi,
November 18, 1922; Bessie H. Sweet to Miss Tirocchi, December 3, 1922.
Ella Fielding-Jones to Anna [Tirocchi], January 25, 1915. Mrs. A. D. Champlin
to Anna and Laura Tirocchi, 1918. Hetty Newton to Anna Tirocchi, n.d.;
see also Abbie H. R. Stearns to Anna and Laura Tirocchi, December 2, 1919;
Bessie H. Sweet, October 11, 1922; Marion R. Vonsiatsky to Anna [Tirocchi],
January 18, 1937; Mary Burlingame Peck to Anna [Tirocchi], July 26, 1939;
Mary E. Gardner to Madame Tirocchi, n.d.
Sofia Johnson to miss Tirochi [sic], n.d.
This conclusion is based on a comparison of data in table I in the U.S.
Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, Women in Rhode Island Industries.
Washington, D.C.: 1922, p. 61, which gives the number of hours worked
in one unspecified weekly pay period, and the weekly hours of each woman
listed in the Tirocchi time book during October, November, and December
1920, excluding Anna and Laura (who always reported themselves as working
fifty-four hours) and Christmas week (the last week of the year). The latter
tabulation included 109 woman-weeks of work at the Tirocchi shop. Corroborating
evidence for hours at the Tirocchi shop may be found in the letter from
Sofia Johnson to miss Tirochi [sic], n.d.; and in the Emily Valcarenghi
Martinelli and Mary Rosa Traverso interviews in the Tirocchi Archive.
U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, Industrial Homework in Rhode
Island, Bulletin 131. Washington, D.C.: 1935; U.S. Department of Labor,
Children's Bureau, Industrial Homework of Children: A Study Made in
Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls, Rhode Island, Bulletin 100.
Washington, D.C.: 1922; Susan Porter Benson, "Women, Work, and Family:
Industrial Homework in Rhode Island," in Eileen Boris and Cynthia R. Daniels,
eds., Homework: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Paid Labor
at Home. Urbana: 1989, pp. 53-74.
Tirocchi Women's Bureau
under $7 33% 2.8%
under $10 56.8% 7.7%
under $12 63.3% 15.4%
$10-$19.99 45.7% 60.2%
$12-$19.99 39.3% 52.5%
$20+ 0% 32.1%
Tirocchi data calculated from the time records for all weeks in October,
November, and December 1920, omitting the pay rates for Anna and Laura
Tirocchi. For Women's Bureau data, see op. cit., 1922, p. 64, table
IV. The Tirocchi median wage was $9; the Women's Bureau median for all
industries was $16.85 and for 5-and-10-cent stores, $11.90. See ibid.,
Ibid., p. 25.
Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century
New York. Philadelphia: 1986, pp. 38-41.
It first seemed possible that Margaret C. was the same as Margherita, who
appeared in the time book at the end of January 1920, a week after Margaret's
last appearance. Margherita worked until early fall of 1920 and disappeared
from the record just before Margaret reappeared. A promising hypothesis,
however, fell by the wayside when the time book showed both at work the
week of December 12, 1920.
National Industrial Conference Board, What Employers Are Doing for
Employees: A Survey of Voluntary Activities for Improvement of Working
Conditions in American Business Concerns. New York: 1936, pp. 44-45.
U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, op. cit., 1922, p. 4. Smith,
op. cit., pp. 37, 69.
See data base of Tirocchi workers; Tirocchi Archive.