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Radio Chipstone: Leisure & Its Political Ramifications

Frederick L.G. Straubel
Wisconsin Historical Society
Elevated view of industrial waterfront and the Fox River (1889).

During the late 19th and early 20th Century, the Fox River Valley in Eastern Wisconsin was a segregated town essentially built for and by white men of means. Irishmen and African Americans living there suffered the most, with women and children close behind.

Those men working in the Fox River Valley paper and wood product factories faced 12 hour days, without breaks and were paid less than a living wage.

Women, who worked alongside men, were paid half of what their male counterparts earned. Leisure time was rare and came at a high price. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, UW Madison Doctoral candidate Jillian Jacklin tells contributor Gianofer Fields that before workers had rights, surviving as a working woman in the Paper Valley, was difficult:

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.