Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mizell-Nelson, Michael

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Powers, Madelon


In 1881, Margaret Bartlett of New Orleans crafted the Christian Woman's Exchange using the New York Exchange chapter as a model. Bartlett hoped this new organization would help alleviate at least some of the economic suffering "reduced gentlewomen"faced. Despite the Exchange's original mission to help the elite, the group soon crossed class and racial boundaries in a campaign of conservative activism. The Christian Woman's Exchange helped women provide for their families by training them to produce homemade goods for sale in consignment shops. Simultaneously, working-class women found employment within the Christian Woman's Exchange lunch room and other business ventures. Since the group's consignors had the opportunity to earn wages while remaining at home, and working-class women tied themselves to a respectable business, the accepted societal expectations for all women involved remained intact. In the group's first decade, the Christian Woman's Exchange members managed to maintain the Southern lady veneer while attracting attention from women around the world.


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