Letter from Mary Manser to Catharine Stow, March 4, 1885



Letter from Mary Manser to Catharine Stow, March 4, 1885


Georgetta and Ella Manser were seamstresses in Cincinnati in the 1880s. At the time, thousands of "sewing girls" worked in the city, assisting dressmakers, tailors, and other clients with basic tasks. Most worked long hours and were poorly paid. Georgetta and Ella's mother described their work in an 1885 letter:

"The girls have to work very steadily from early morn till night, have no time for recreation, but their labor enables them to meet all the expenses and keep a nice home over our heads, and they grow fat on it...I do not think you can have any idea how much sewing they can do. Their custom is very large and constantly increasing. They have to refuse work almost every day. At present they cannot take a new order till June they have so much in the house. Besides they have orders up to November, a whole wedding outfit to make through the summer. They have over a hundred garments in the house."


Mary Manser


Stow Family Papers




This image is issued by The Filson Historical Society. Property rights in the collection belong to The Filson Historical Society. The user is responsible for copyright issues. Permission for use of this image for ANY reason should be obtained by contacting Filson's Curator of Collections via research@filsonhistorical.org.



Still image




Mary Manser, “Letter from Mary Manser to Catharine Stow, March 4, 1885,” The Filson Historical Society , accessed February 2, 2023, https://filsonhistorical.omeka.net/items/show/1007.