The increasing involvement of women in business and finance in turn-of-the-century urban Canada.
A Silent Revolution? explores how urban women managed wealth at a time when they were thought to have little independence - including economic - and shows that women were in fact important players in the world of capital.
Peter Baskerville situates women in their immediate gendered and familial environments as well as within broader legal, financial, spatial, temporal, and historiographical contexts. He analyses women's probates, wills, land ownership, holdings of real and chattel mortgages, investment in stocks and bonds, and self employment, revealing that women controlled wealth to an extent similar to that of most men and invested and managed wealth in increasingly similar, and in some cases more aggressive, ways.
Traditional historiography has highlighted women's fight to acquire cultural and political rights during this period, but it is less well known that women acquired and exercised many economic rights as well. In doing so they put pressure on men to reconceptualize the notion of middle class and women's proper place.
384 Pages, 6 x 9
65 tables 34 graphs
Formats: Cloth, Paperback, eBook
"The analysis and discussion of the issues are of the highest order and interest - A Silent Revolution? is a major contribution to the field of women and gender history." Françoise Noël, director of the Institute for Community Studies and Oral History, Nipissing University
"Potentially, one of the most important books in the last two decades in Canadian social history." David Burley, history, University of Winnipeg
"A Silent Revolution? Is a fascinating study of female capitalists in Victoria and Hamilton at the turn of the twentieth century. Peter Baskerville employs both quantitative and qualitative methods to establish that women were willing and active participants in building the financial infrastructure of the liberal bourgeois state in modern Canada." BC Studies
"Baskerville's history does that welcome work of opening the doors to future study in our own areas of scholarship." Canadian Literature
"Baskerville's study provides a welcome upset even to contemporary attitudes about women and wealth." Jennifer Blair, Canadian Literature
"By making so clear the gap between quotidian practices ... and the ideas of women's incapacity for business, Baskerville's empirical contribution in this work makes a superb case study of a fundamental methodological problem. Polemical enough to be interesting, but measured enough to be taken seriously, A Silent Revolution? should be required reading for graduate students." Journal of Social History
One of Canada's leading business social scientists, Peter Baskerville is professor of history, University of Victoria, in-coming chair of Modern Western Canadian History, University of Alberta, and the author of several books, including, with Eric Sager, Unwilling Idlers: The Urban Unemployed and Their Families in Late Victorian Canada.
Table of Contents
1 Gender, Wealth, and Investment: Victoria and Hamilton, 1869-1931 17
2 Inheriting and Bequeathing: Women and Men in Victoria and Hamilton, 1880-1930 55
3 The Gender of Shareholders: Investment in Banking and Insurance Stocks in Ontario, 1860-1911 76
4 The “fountain-head of all production”: Land and Gender in Victoria and Hamilton, 1881-1901 93
5 Stretching the Liberal State: Legal Regimes, Gender, and Mortgage Markets in Victoria and Hamilton, 1881-1921 122
6 Gender, Credit, and Consumption: The Market for Chattels in Victoria, 1861-1902 163
7 Canadian Urban Women in Business 190
8 “A Retail Dry Goods Merchant on My Own Separate Account”: Gender and Family Enterprise in Urban Canada at the Turn of the Twentieth Century 222
1 The Gendered Nature of Sources for the Calculation of Property Ownership Trends 251
2 The Construction of Tables 4.7 to 4.10 254
3 Property Ownership by Relation to Means of Production: Women in Urban Canada, 1901 256
4 Women and the Business of Philanthropy: The Case of Victoria 258
Sir John A. Macdonald Prize
Canadian Historical Association (2009)