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"Machines Instead of Clerks" Technology and the Feminization of Bookkeeping, 1910 1950 SHARON HARTMAN STROM The nineteenth-century office was a world inhabited by men. Chief clerk, bookkeeper, copyists, and messenger boys supervised the office, kept financial records, produced documents, and trans- mitted information. In the 1870s and 1880s women were recruited to use the telephone and the typewriter as the production of doc- uments and transmission of information were mechanized. But, to most observers it seemed that financial matters and record keeping were still where they belonged: in the secure grip of the mate book- keeper. The bookkeeper, C. Wright Mills said (1951:191), "was at the very center of the office world. He recorded all transactions in the day book, the journal, the cashbook or the ledger; all the current orders and memoranda were speared on his iron spike; on his desk and in the squat iron safe . . . were all the papers . . . which the office and its staff served. But the traditional bookkeeper was soon to lose his importance and more often wouIcl be a woman and not a man. Women were only 5.7 percent of the bookkeepers, cashiers, and accountants in 1880, but were 38.5 percent of them by 1910. Along with the rising number of women classified as stenographers, typists, and machine operators (many of whom were doing some sort of bookkeeping), these women, newly classified as bookkeepers, caused the number of females working in offices to triple between 1910 and 1920. By 63

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64 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING 1930 the Census showed that more than half of all the bookkeepers were women. In 1940, the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor (1942:2) found that women were 42 percent of the hand bookkeepers and 82 percent of the bookkeeping machine operators in Philadelphia, a major center of office employment. Why did women become bookkeepers and why was the femi- nization of bookkeeping linked to the mechanization of office work? This paper will argue that management initially sought women workers to use bookkeeping machines because they could pay them less and because they thought women would offer less resistance to the deskilling of bookkeeping than salaried male workers fa- miliar with the traditional craft of posting books by hand. Yet the extent to which bookkeeping could be deskilled and mecha- nized remained problematic. Workers continued to apply hidden skills of judgment and to integrate a number of tasks, particularly to jobs in the middle levels of bookkeeping, even though these jobs required the use of machines. Work done by machine opera- tors had to be supervised, checked, and prepared for use by head bookkeepers and accountants. Some of the machine work was sta- tistical or inappropriate for "factory~-like regimens. Most of this kind of work had never been performed by traditional bookkeep- ers. The increasing numbers of women holding these jobs before World War IT were thus neither "unskilled" nor "deskilled," yet their duties remained largely unarticulated in official job titles and descriptions. Workers responded to these changing conditions in the office in a number of somewhat contradictory ways. Some male office workers sought to protect their jobs from feminization. Postal and railroad clerks, who had powerful craft unions at the turn of the century, were largely able to do this. Men might try to move into the new profession of accounting, more clearly off limits to most women. Some women tried to improve their status in the once hierarchy by moving up to more interesting and better-paying positions. Some women and men joined together and began to . unionize to resist the worst aspects of mechanization, speed-up, and deskilling. And some women began to agitate for new job titles and higher salaries because they recognized the "hidden skills they were using and because they perceived that male clerks received more pay than women for the same work. Before taking up these issues, however, it must be explained why the changes in bookkeeping and accounting after 1910 had

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SHARON NARTMAN STROM . . 65 such wide-reaching consequences for American office workers. Both the size of business and government and the number of bookkeeping and paperwork functions they performed increased. The cost of producing these functions became a matter of con- cern as overhead costs rose and margins of profits declined in the 1920s and as depression hit in the 1930s. New kinds of corpo- rations and agencies based on extensive financial record keeping appeared, such as department stores, public utilities, life insurance companies, savings and loan companies, the Internal Revenue Ser- vice, and the Social Security Administration. The technology of the fine machine too} and die industry made possible significant breakthroughs in the mass production of office machines. At the same time a vast supply of women workers suitable for office work were available to employers when sufficiently educated male work- ers were in short supply. The typewriter and telephone had already established a link between the mechanization and feminization of the office. Finally, there was an explosion in the volume of finan- cial record keeping after 1910 due to the widespread introduction of cost accounting. Corporate and government managers, under internal pressure to produce more information in comprehensible form, and under external pressure to make themselves publicly accountable, turned to new methods of accounting and office man- agement, which necessitated, from their point of view, both the mechanization and feminization of traditional bookkeeping. SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT, THE COST ACCOUNTING REVOLUTION, AND THE ACCOUNTANT Braverman (1974) and Davies (1982) have both noted that by the turn of the century principles of "scientific management," first developed for use in industry by F.W. Taylor, were being applied to office work. These principles included scientific observation of work (time and motion studies) to develop more efficient work patterns, the subdivision of tasks, standardized forms and office furniture, rewards for employees based on measured output (bonus plans), a pace of work which encouraged workers to work as fast as possible without loss of efficiency, and close supervision of workers to prevent siow-downs, sabotage, and error. What is not as widely known is that the scientific managers also urged reconstruction of not only how the office worked but the kind of work it produced. Bookkeeping, accounting, and statistical analysis were intrinsic to

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66 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING the new systems because they allowed corporate managers to gain real In ~$ `~ entific management and cost accounting had been introduced, was far more than a ~paper-pushing" sideline to real production and in fact became the nerve center that kept everything functioning smoothly (Galloway, 1921:ix): ' Van art;- e;~or'~uU~ or~an~za~ons. -' ne ounce. once ~~i- When it is seen that the activities of production and distri- bution are made possible only through the operations covered by the term Office work, then we approach the truer appraisal of the office as a necessary economic factor. The office managers and employees cease to be passive agents.... They at once rise to the dignity of active forces which furnish constructive ideas, and co-ordinate the activities of the business into smoothly working units of enormous size and power. The chief goal of the new management thinkers was to co- ordinate factory and office by first defining and then integrating such functions as purchasing, production, inventory control, pric- ing, and personnel management through a series of administrative units which did not exist before 1900. At the heart of these changes lay a new concept of bookkeeping which pinpointed the actual cost of components of production and distribution: labor, overhead, materials, energy, shipping, and the like. Nelson (1975) argues that Cost accounting" thus demanded the breaking down into smaller operations of jobs once performed by the bookkeeper and the foreman and a consequent reduction of their control over the workplace. At the same time federal and state government investigations of railroads, life insurance firms, and public utilities were revealing that the largest economic institutions in America had the shod- diest accounting procedures imaginable. A progressive reformer like Louis Brandeis argued for standard cost accounting partly because he admirecl efficiency but also because agencies like the Interstate Commerce Commission or the New York State Public Service Commission needed better records to review rates charged to consumers (Brock, 19813. The term "scientific management" was coined after a meeting between Taylor and Brandeis during the Eastern Railroad Rates cases in 1910 (Merkle, 1980:59~. During World War I government contracts spurred the growth of both cost accounting in private industry and government ac- counting procedures, which were rapidly becoming more and more

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 67 sophisticated. A wave of municipal reform after 1910 modern- ized many town and city accounting systems. Widespread growth of department stores and retail chains necessitated mechanized billing procedures and inventory control. The corporate income tax ant} the Federal Reserve System forced banks and corporations to audit their books more thoroughly and responsibly. Chandler (1962) argues that cost accounting was instituted also in response to a series of crises which faced the larger cor- porations after 1900, including overexpansion, excess inventory, growing labor unrest, and a sharp drop in demand in 1921. New "strategies and structures" for meeting these crises led to the cre- ation of the multidivision form of corporate organization. At the heart of the multidivisional corporation lay a new level of exec- utive management, "company headquarters. Here the financial managers sought and manipulated the pieces of information which aDowed them to account for costs, manage inventory, analyze sales, gauge profits and losses, raise capital through sale of stock or com- mercial loans, and, above all, plan for and predict the future. In contrast to the old offices, which had often been located in or near plants and-whose executives roamed between factory and office with ease, the new headquarters were geographically and psycho- logically separated from plants, and were often housed In towering buildings in the center of town. At the center of the new style of financial management was a relatively new professional: the accountant. By 1910 some state universities, commercial business schools, and prestigious educational institutions like the Wharton School or the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration offered accounting degrees. The schools advertised that accountants were needed everywhere (System, November, 1918:767~: Accountancy firms need them. Business concerns need them. The Federal Government needs them. Financial knots must be uncovered and untangled. Waste must be cut down and output speeded up. Operating plans must be worked out and operating stabs organized and directed. Related branches of industry must be coordinated and made to function together. These and similar problems which confront the Government and Organized Business are squarely up to the accountants the business technicians of the country. The emergence of cost accounting after 1910 did give the ac- countant new prestige. Unlike the bookkeeper, who kept track of all financial transactions, or the auditor, who checked the books

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68 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING over for mistakes or fraud, the accountant was now as important to a large company's well-being as a vice-president or treasurer. Accountants purposely tried to emphasize the distinction between themselves and bookkeepers. Accountants were to plan or manage, not to actually ado the books" (Bennett, 1926~. One management expert (McAdams, 1927, no. 26:2, in Office Management Series, 1967) described cost accountants as Business doctored who could put a firm in the pink again by providing ~budgets, methods, stan- dards, and measurement." The accounting division of Standard Oil of New Jersey employed 51 people in 1912, but had doubled in size by the m~-1920s, even though auditors and comptrollers had been moved to a separate department (Gibb and KnowIton, 1956~. Nonetheless, an ongoing problem with affiliate divisions, which were served by 20 traveling auditors from the home of- fice, "made comparative cost studies virtually impossible...." Standard Oil hired Price Waterhouse to prepare a comprehensive accounting manual for in-house use, which was completed in 1934. This new grip on the company's finances aDowed Standard Oil to radically change its operating methods. A smaller and more pro- fessionally trained executive committee was installed at the new Rockefeller Center along with 900 office employees to oversee the larger picture, to divorce itself from the petty interests of individ- ual affiliates, and to reconsider all questions from the standpoint of the general interest of the company" (I`arson, Knowiton, and Popple, 1971:2027~. Accounting seemed to be a man's world. By 1982 nearly two-thirds of those studying business in high school were women, but 84 percent of those majoring in business training courses in colleges and universities were men (Morse, 1932:24~. Some women were trained as accountants before World War IT but they were sometimes excluded from taking CPA exams, and certainly women were never seen as potential business executives. The Census of 1930, however, reported more than 17,000 women auditors and accountants. Education for accounting re- mained more accessible to the general population than for the other professions. This was partly true because bookkeepers lo~ bled so effectively to keep an exam, not educational degrees, as the chief requirement for certification. Anyone who could gain permission to take and then pass a CPA exam could be certi- fied, and would-be accountants could go to night school or take correspondence courses from schools like Pace and Pace of New

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 69 York. While an advertisement (System, August, 1918:259) by the Walton School in 1918 was clearly aimed at men, "Be a Walton-Trained Man," Pace in the same year (System, November, 1918:767) claimed that "demand for trained accountants, both men and women, is increasing daily, hourly." During the Great Depression the interests of enlightened busi- ness planners and progressive reformers came together in a body of federal legislation which continued to transform accounting proce- dures. The securities act of 1933 and 1934 required all firms selling stock to be independently audited and to publicly disclose their financial statements. The Federal Power Act of 1935 mandated new systems of accounting for public utilities. FHA legislation spurred the growth of monthly inst aliment home mortgages, and the Federal Banking Act of 1935 brought far more banks~into the Federal Reserve System and its accounting methods for credit control. The new social security, unemployment insurance, and income tax legislation required ~11 but the smallest employers to adopt new methods of financial record keeping for employees. The amount of financial paperwork that changes in account- ing, management, and regulation created was staggering, and without fundamental changes In the organization of the clerical labor force, its composition, and the machines it used, the changes would not have been possible. OFFICE MACHINES AND THEIR HISTORY Most of the technology required for the mechanization of book- keeping had been developed by the late nineteenth century in small machine too} and die shops near factories, in large manufacturing cities by engineers, and by businessmen inventors seeking more ef- ficient office methods. William Patterson, a former railroad owner, built the first cash registers (adding machines on drawers) for use in his Dayton coal yard business in 1882, and later founded the National Cash Register Co. Joseph Burroughs, a former bank clerk from St. Louis, named his adding machine the American Arithometer, and sold a grand total of 1,435 machines between 1895 and his untimely death in 1898. After renaming the firm Burroughs, hm successor sold nearly 8,000 machines in 1905 and was producing 100,000 calculating machines by 1930 (Coleman, 1949; Morgan, 1953~. Frank Baldwin's machines were adopted by the accounting department of the Pennsylvania Railroad and

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70 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING a leading life insurance company. A young college graduate and employee of the Western Electric Company, Jay Monroe, helped Baldwin develop a higher-speed machine and by the m~d-1920s the Monroe Calculating Co. had 165 branch offices in the United States (Morse, 1932:83-85~. Listing adding machines required two motions: punching the keys and turning a crank. Any additional functions made them bulkier, heavier, and more difficult to use. While electrical adding and calculating machines became more common during the 1930s, the fancier machines were still very large, expensive, and most likely to be used by accountants or statisticians. Consumers wanted more lightweight and affordable machines. Heavy com- petition developed between companies to produce the most reli- able lightweight adding machine in the teens and early 1920s. In 1899 there were 18 establishments making cash registers, calcu- lators, and tabulating machines valued at less than $6 million in total, but by 1919 65 firms made more than $83 million worth of products (Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1933:1120). The comptometer, developed by Felt and Tarrant in Chicago, was often more popular than the calculator because it was key- driven, lightweight, and inexpensive; and once a special system was learned, it could be used to do subtraction, multiplication, and division. Its chief drawback was that it was non-listing; that is, there was-no printed tape which showed each item entered, only a window In which a running total appeared. Since the bulk of financial record keeping required simple addition, the comp- tometer was suitable to a wide variety of purposes. Some of the first machines were ordered by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Equitable Gas Light and Fuel Company (Derby, 1968~. The Comptometer Corporation developed training schools for opera- tors, and in 1930 placed an estimated 27,500 operators in offices in the United States and Canada (Morse, 1932:78~. Bookkeeping and billing machines, used to enter transactions and to make up bills, invoices, and purchase orders, were sim- ple combinations of typewriters and adding machines. Remington made an "adding and subtracting typewriter in the teens, but both typewriter and calculating machine firms made all kinds of bookkeeping and billing machines after World War I. The produc- tivity of both bookkeeping and duplicating machines was greatly enhanced if used in conjunction with the addressograph, which

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 71 permitted the mechanical reproduction of alphabetized names and addresses on mailings and statements. Tabulating and keypunch machines became well known to the general public because of their role In compiling the Census of 1890. The principle was to mechanically keypunch individual pieces of data onto a small card and then use a mechanical sorter to compile the cards into different categories. Although any number of patents for such machines had been filed in the 1880s, Herman Hollerith, an engineering graduate of Columbia University, was the first to receive assurances from the Bureau of the Census that his machines would be used once produced. A variety of agencies and corporations began to use the machines, including the Surgeon General's office, the Baltimore Department of Health, and the New York Central Railroad. Most of the renown went to the compilation of vital statistics, but the cost-accounting possibilities of the new machines were also significant. The New York Central could, after the installation of its Hollerith system (Austrian, 1982:125), uteri on a nearly current basis how many hundreds of tons of freight were moving East or West, which of hundreds of stations along its lines were profitable; where freight cars should be sent or returned; which freight agents were being paid. It would give the railroad a much firmer command of its far-fiung business." By 1900 Hollerith was at work on a standardized cost-accounting machine to be used in conjunction with tune tickets filled out on the factory floor. In 1910 a renamed Russian immigrant, John Powers, was hired by the Bureau of the Census to supervise production of the Bureau's own census machines. He developed a new keypunch machine which more closely resembled a typewriter keyboard Ed a method for printing tabulated Formation onto rolls of paper. Hollerith's machines eventually served as the basis of IBM's empire, and Powers' machine was picked up by Remington Rand. By the 1930s office machines were more likely to be electrified. They required less operator strength and were far more automatic and productive. The International Labour Office reported In 1937 (p. 495) that An employee addressing envelopes by hand could not do more than 500 in a day's work; a hand-worked addressing machine can print 1,000 addresses in an hour, and the number rises to 1,500 for machines worked by the foot, and 2,000 for those actu- ated by electric motors, or even 10,000 in the case of special work for which the machine has been prepared." Considerable progress

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72 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING had been made in combining office machines in fairly compact electrified systems to perform more complicated functions. At the 1934 office equipment manufacturers' show in New York, IBM offered a new check proofing machine for banks {Business Week, October 20, 1934:14~: The operator rune an adding mechanism with her right hand. Her left controls 24 sorting keys for alphabetical division, clearing house bans, and other classifications. After recording the amount of each check, she presses one of the 24 keys and drops the check in a slot. The checks come out sorted in 24 bundles. A master tape gives a complete listing with code designation opposite the amount. Remington Rand offered a "central records controls system to de- partment stores, which combined the dial telephone, punch card, and tabulating and adding machines. In 1935 National Cash Reg- ister sold a machine that Avouch perform all the bookkeeping required under the new Federal Home Loan Act," and in 1936 Burroughs and Monroe offerer] special payroll machines to accom- modate new social security legislation (Business Week, October 24, 1936:16~. By the 1920s, a handful of large diversified office machine companies had been created by merger or acquisition and dom- inated the industry until the 1950s: Adressograph-Multigraph, Burroughs, National Cash Register, International Business Ma- chines, Remington Rand, and Underwood Elliott Fisher. While all firms showed a drastic decline in sales in 1931, by 1935 the industry had regained its highs of the 1920s and saw record profits in 1937 and 1938. The year 1941 was a banner one, and office machine firms received handsome war contracts because of their fine machine-tooling capacities. Many of them made war materi- als such as bomb sights and rifles as well as office machines. The war spurred demand for more diversified and sophisticated ma- chines as the size and complexity of institutions and their functions grew; most new developments in technology were commissioned and financed by the federal government. The government literally devoured most office machines for its agencies and war-related industries during the war (Fortune, August, 1944:127-132, and December, 1944:15~154, 194-196~. Soma (1976) argues that ad the technology needed to create the digital computer was available by WWl, but that no one in

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 73 government saw the need to provide massive funding for its re- search and development until WWIT. While his assumption that government capitalization of computer research was inevitable is somewhat perplexing, it points out how important government pa- tronage of the office machine industry was and continues to be. We might add that the growing size and complexity of both business and government in the 1940s made it inevitable that computers would be used if produced. The development of office machine technology responded to demand for machines more than inven- tions influenced demand. As Mills (1951:193) argued, machines were mass manufactured because they complemented the chang- ing social reorganization of the office: Thus machines did not impel the development, but rather the development demanded machines, many of which were actually developed especially for tasks already socially created. MECHANIZATION, FEMINIZATION, AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT Substantial numbers of women began to work in bookkeep- ing departments in the decade before WWI. Some had studied in business schools, were hired with the title of bookkeeper, and held jobs comparable to those of men. But most were specifi- cally hired to use office machines. Women and their machines sometimes replaced men. Edward Page (1906:7683), a dry goods jobber, instituted the use of carbon forms, loose-leaf ledger sheets, a vertical file, a typewriter, and some computing machines in his office at the turn of the century. Six male clerks were replaced by one billing clerk and a 'girl who sits at a desk with a comptometer and an arithometer. She adds the yards on the comptometer and then extends the bills on the arithometer, and does the work of six men with great ease." - In a scientific management text from 1914, one expert (Ban- ning) titled his chapter "Machines instead of Clerks" and gave a number of examples of how women machine operators might replace male hand clerks. In the payroll department of one manu- facturer, it had taken six clerks two days to compute the payroll. Two women using calculating machines could do the same work in the same time with fewer errors. Felt and Tarrant reported that a Kansas City steel firm had eliminated the jobs of three men in the estimating department by installing a woman machine operator

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SHARON NARTMAN STROM 87 WAGES AND CLERICAL WORK One of the most important consequences of the rising literacy of the work force and the feminization of the office was a steady lowering of clerical wages compared to those in manufacturing. Male clerks particularly lost ground. Douglas (1930:363-366), after taking the rise in the cost of living into account, found that while all wage earners in manufacturing earned 29 percent higher wages in 1926 than they had in 1890, all salaried and clerical workers earned only 3 percent more. Certainly women clerks earned far less than male workers In industry and substantially less than the average male wage earner. Until WWIT, however, they were likely to earn more than women in manufacturing jobs. In his study of the male-female earnings differential in clerical work between 1880 and 1970, Niemi (1983) found that "male earnings levels consistently exceeded female earnings levels. As clerical occupations became more feminized the gap between men's and women's salaries within clerical work narrowed from a range of 25-45 percent in the early twentieth century to a 15 to 20 percent gap in the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, clerical wages were falling relative to nonclerical wages. From a working-cIass or middle-cIass woman's (or her family's) point of view, the salaries paid for office jobs must have looked good, even with the stagnating wages of the 1920s and 1930s, and may partly explain why so many women were still looking for office jobs before WWIl. Since some high school was now compulsory for everyone, a daughter could receive free business training and move right into an office job, where she made higher wages than women In any other line of work except the professions. Moreover, if she could advance into the middle ranges of clerical work stenographer, bookkeeper, statistical clerk, or supervisor, for exampIc she could earn more than most other working women and even as much as some men (see Table 33. As clerical wages increased somewhat during the 1940s, these perceptions of women's clerical jobs continued, and with good rea- son. The Census of 1950 still showed that median yearly incomes for women clerical workers put them closer to managers, propri- etors, and professionals of the same sex than any other occupation. And while female professionals, who needed to invest in expensive college educations to obtain jobs, made 65 percent as much as men in a similar category, on average women in clerical positions earned 71 percent as much as their male counterparts (Table 4~.

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88 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING TABLE 3 Average Annual Earnings of Clerical Employees Who Worked 48 Weeks or More in 1939, by Occupation--Philadelphia Occupation Women Men Special office workers Rate clerks Secretaries Bookkeepers, hand Audit clerks Cashiers, tellers Bond, security, and draft clerks Clerks, n.e.c.,- public utilities Renewal clerks Statistical clerks Cost and production clerks Payroll clerks timekeepers Clerks, n.e.c.,- finance and insurance Stenographers Accounting clerks Clerks, n.e.c.a, federal and state government Claims examiners, adjusters Billing machine operators Actuarial clerks Bookkeeping clerks Billing, statement, and collection clerks Bookkeeping machine operators Tabulating machine operators Calculating machine operators Dictating machine transcribers Order and shipping clerks Keypunch operators Telephone operators Receptionists Duplicating machine operators Typists File clerks Credit clerks $2,010 $2,704 -- 2,280 1,469 1,920 1,446 2,016 1,413 2,099 1,412 2,231 1,404 1,716 1,360 1,948 -- 1,926 1,332 1,989 -- 1,791 1,227 1,561 1,225 1,415 1,223 1,463 1,213 1,667 1,202 1,838 1,190 1,931 1,183 1,583 1,181 1,209 1,171 1,467 1,169 1,701 1,169 1,161 1,552 1,151 1,508 1,147 -- 1,144 1,585 1,106 1,095 1,061 1,060 1,056 1,054 925 __ __ 1,290 1,384 1,355 1,612 aNot elsewhere classified. SOURCE: Women's Bureau (1942~.

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM TABLE 4 Median Yearly Income for Non-Fartn Workers Working 50-52 Weeks/Year, 1949, by Occupation 89 Occupation Men Women Ratio of Women's Income to Men's Income (percent) Professional and technical Managers, officers, and proprietors Clerical and kindred Sales Craftsmen, foremen Operatives Laborers Service workers $4,030 4,327 3,136 3,270 3,378 2,924 2,366 2,405 2,600 64.5 2,536 58.6 2,235 71.3 1,632 49.9 2,265 67.1 1,920 65.7 1,900 80.3 1,137 47.3 SOURCE: Kaplan and Casey (1958~. THE LIMITS OF RATIONALIZATION AND THE ISSUE OF UPWARD MOBILITY Not Al the new jobs for women in clerical work were for standardized use of business machines. A 1927 survey of the sex of workers managers preferred for certain jobs found that while men were strictly preferred for shipping clerks and timekeepers, and women for typists, stenographers, file clerks, and bookkeeping machine operators, either men or women would be hired as ledger, payroll, and statistical clerks or as bookkeepers (RotelIa, 1977:25~. Women were also hired to supervise machine departments or steno pools. Accounting and bookkeeping functions were still growing ram idly. The number of workers with the job title of bookkeeper grew until 1930, and from 1930 to 1940 the number of bookkeepers declined only slightly while the number of machine operators and clerical workers not elsewhere classified increased. There were nearly 47,000 new jobs for accountants and auditors. New urgency was given to more sophisticated methods of cost accounting for the office because of the establishment of government regulation and the increasing need to justify prices and minimize taxes. Scientific management planners initially wanted to create a sex-segregated labor force in which male professionals and head bookkeepers received salaries and female machine operators were

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go THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING paid on a piece-work basis. But the continuation, even growth, of large numbers of jobs in between these two groups, and the temptation to fill them with women, who were always paid less than men, created a more complicated labor force. G.~. Harris, active in the American Management Association and the author of a textbook on office work (1935:163), noted that "expert book- keepers are not so much in demand, but expert billing calculators are. There are more opportunities for young women in the depart- ments than there are for men, and such young women can advance to responsible positions in the division. For many women the chance to work in bookkeeping departments represented not only slightly higher salaries but a chance to think of themselves as "ad- vancing" in clerical work and even holding positions comparable to those of men. It ~ also important to keep In mind that while stenographers and typists used machines that were distinctly sex- stereotyped, both men and women used adding and calculating machines. And since so many educated m~le-ciass men and women were unemployed ant! forced to take low-paying clerical jobs throughout the 1930s, women and men held some of the same jobs. Once women worked in jobs also held by men, they were likely to gain some of the job privileges and self-esteem of men, if not comparable salaries. These privileges might include more self-pacing, self-direction, and a wider variety of tasks to perform. The comptroller of Fraton and Knight (Wilson, 1934, no. 63:18, in Office Management Series, 1967) argued that bonus plans were really only effective "when quantity is the predorninanting factor" such as In transcribing, typing, ordering, and invoicing. For gen- eral accounting, sales, and cost estimating, however, "we find only the direct salary base is applicable." These employees "contribute materially to the financial success of the company . . ." and "it is evident that in this division quality of the work cannot be sacrificed to speed." Marion A. Bills of the Aetna Life Insurance Company (1929, no. 44:~l, in Office Management Series, 1967) disagreed. We "find innumerable cases where people are still doing the sim- plest routine work . . . but whose salaries have grown by small increases so that they are paid two, three, and even four times what . . . they are worth. For example, we have the much misused term of 'bookkeeper.' In different companies we find bookkeepers who are simply posting clerks, a job which they could learn in a few weeks, and bookkeepers who need to be expert accountants."

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 91 Yet her success at implementing these ideas beyond the all-female departments at Aetna remained limited (Murolo, 19823. Prior to 1928, women clerical workers at Roxana Petroleum were scattered throughout various functional departments. When the corporation announced plans for centralizing and rationalizing its typing, transcribing, ~d comptometer operations into one division, both male executives and female operatives were resistant to the change (Jones, 1928~. The men were resistant because they would no longer control the operations perfortned by the women clericals, and the women clericals because "they seemed to think their work might be more humdrum and difficult. They felt in some cases that they might not be able to measure up to the standard and quality of work expected, that they might lose their freedom, that their chances for promotion would not be so good. . . .~ These women workers, in other words, perceived that working alongside men improved their chances of securing better positions and working conditions. Managers had intended women's office jobs to be held by "workers whose highest ambition will be realized when they are placed on your payroll as clerical workers the kind that can be depended upon to perform faithfully routine tasks day in and day out without thought of promotion" (Nichols, 1934, no. 65:26, in Office Management Series, 1967~. But many women did receive promotions to better jobs, held more responsibility than their job titles indicated, and became ambitious far beyond the expecta- tions of managers. Everyone knew, however, that there was an unspoken law: advancement for women stopped short of the ex- ecutive's door. Men, whether qualified OE not, had to be the top managers and executives, and the shock of that reality must some- times have disturbed women workers. One management specialist (Barnhard", 1933, no. 61:~-19, In Office Management Series, 1967) worried about this problem in 1933: Some of my studies have revealed the extent to which firms employing women for doing certain kinds of clerical, especially secretarial work have used and promoted women so extensively that there is an absolute absence of men in the upper levels from which promotions to junior executives can be made. We checked the private secretaries and assistants to executives in one company, and found that in eighteen cases, fourteen Assistants to executives were women who, if the executive went out of the organization, could not be promoted. Indeed at the time of our study some of these women were already falling down an the job because they

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92 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING were sure they would not be promoted and could not see why they should work very hard any longer. In this firm some of these secretaries and assistants were college-trained women, high-grade women. Both women who worked in low-pay~ng machine operator jobs and women who had moved to more responsible positions re- mained problematic for employers. Employers complained as early as the 1920s about higher rates of absenteeism and job turnover for women than for men in office jobs. These rates reached epi- dem~c proportions in the banking industry by the late 1940s (Mc- Colloch, 1983~. Other women expressed their dissatisfaction in ways that sometimes perplexed employers. One industrial psy- chologist (Giberson, 1939, no. 87:27, in Office Management Series, 1967) classified "wily females" with alcoholics, psychoneurotics, paranoids, and other social misfits of the office. Their "devious natures," she concluded, were partly attributable to the fact that they are temporary workers frustrated by the A-consuming mat- ter of pay levels." One question that arises here is when and how the issue of job classification began to emerge in management-labor conflict in the office. As noted above, managers in government and private industry both had devised job-cIassification schemes to facilitate hiring, job placement, salary setting, and the justification of a multiply stratified labor system. But once jobs were classified and given job descriptions employees could also argue that they were not being paid wages commensurate with their duties or that they should be moved to a higher job classification. There is some evidence that women and minorities in the expanding clerical labor force of the federal government of the 1930s and 1940s, with its highly refined civil service classification system, were the first to use this as a tool to achieve upward mobility and to attack sex discrimination. When the Bureau of Agricultural Economics listed a new position "for men only," women workers protested and the designation was changed to Image or female" (Federal Record, Jan. 20, 1940:6~. In 1941 ledger account clerks in the Veterans Administration won what was claimed to be a Midyear battle to upgrade their position to a higher grade because "they did work which required a broad knowledge of laws and legal opinion governing the accounts handled by their division. Thirty- One clerks, led by Mrs. Marvel Lockhart Ball, drafted their own appeal to the Civil Service Commission. As their union newspaper

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 93 explained, "the greatest significance of this decision is that it raises questions concerning similar type advances for thousands of clerks in the Government service who are doing a calibre of work far above their rank" (Federal Record, November 7, 1941~. A flurry of such office workers' union activity between 1937 and 1950 began to address the issues of job classification, possibili- ties of promotion, working conditions and deskilling, and adequate compensation for men and women (Strom, 1983; McCoDoch, 1983; Strom, 1985~. These unions were crushed by employers, govern- ment, and rival craft unions during the McCarthy period, and it was not until the emergence of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the women's movement in the 1970s that the same issues emerged as political and trade union causes. By then the sexual composition of office work had changed dramatically. With the coming of WWIT, men who had been willing to take office jobs dur- ing the 1930s had a growing variety of occupational choices, and competition for managers, accountants, and servicemen quickly decimated many male staffs of bookkeeping departments. In the Tong run the disappearance of men from the lower levels of clerical work proved to be a positive development for managers because it saved so much money. Management expressed concern over the shrinking pool of women clerical workers, but an immediate solution was simply to open office jobs to married and a small but steadily growing number of minority women. The hiring of minority and married women workers allowed office employers to continue their major objectives in the labor management of bookkeeping: to steadily cheapen wages through feminization, to mechanize and deskill traditional salaried jobs, and to raise the productivity of office staffs by reducing the number of privileged males. As the number of married womennow likely to be in jobs for many years at a time and the number of single m~dle- class college womenunable to enter the professions because of discrimination- increased, managers apparently imposed new forms of segmentation on the office in the 1950s. While male ex- ecutives and to~leve} managers were still there to oversee things, older women may have more and more been asked to supervise young women and middle-class white women placed in more plead ant jobs. Minority women may have more frequently been assigned to machine operators jobs. There is every reason to believe that this pattern of segmentation still largely exists. What obstacles it

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94 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING presents to worker solidarity is something that warrants further investigation. But it should have come as no surprise that when more mass-based union movements appeared in the 1970s they emphasized higher wages, upgraded and fuller job classifications, adequate working conditions for machine operators, an end to sex discrimination, and the important connections between all of these. REFERENCES Austrian, G.D. 1982 Herman Holler,i,th. Forgotten Giant of Information Processing. New York: Columbia University Press. Banning, K. 1914 Machines instead of clerks. Library of Office Management, 1. Chicago and New York: A.W. Shaw Co. Beach, E.H. 1905 Took of Bwirze~: An Encyclopedia of Office Equipment and Labor Saving Devices. Detroit: Bookkeeper Publishing Co., Ltd. Bennett, G. 1926 Accounting S,y~tem~: Principled and Pro bleary of Installation. Chicago and New York: A.W. Shaw Co. Bra~rerman, H. . . 1974 Labor and Monopoly Capital: Thc Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. New York: Monthly Review Press. Brock, B. 1981 Thc Dcocl,opment of Public Utility Accounting in New York. East Lansing Michigan State University. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce 1933 Census of Manufactures, 1929, Volume II. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce. Chandler, A.D. 1962 Strategy and Structure: Chapters ire the History of the Ir~du~trial Enterprise. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Coleman, J.S. 1949 The Business Machine- with Mention of William Seward Burroughs, Conk, M.A. Jo~ephy Boycr, and Others Since 1880. Princeton, N.J.: Newcomen Lecture, Princeton University Press. 1978 Thc United Stated Census and Labor Fores Change, t870-1940. Ann Arbor, Micli.: UMI Research Press. Coyle, G.L. 1929 Women ih the clerical occupations Annals of the American Academy of Polities and Social Scienec 143(May):180-187. Darby, E. 1968 It All A,,]ds Up: The Growth of the Victor Comptometer Corporation Victor Comptometer Corporation.

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 95 Davies, M.W. 1982 Woman's Place Is at the Typewriter: Office Work and Office Workers, 187~f980. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Douglas, P.H. 1930 Real Wages in the United States, 1890-1926. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Erickson, E. 1934 The employment of women in offices. Women' Bureau Bulletin 120. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Fawcett, W. 1927 Uncle Sam rates the efficiency of his office workers. Office Economist 9(May):3-4, 13. Galloway, L. 1921 Office Management: Its Principles and Practice. New York: Ronald Press Co. Gibb, G.S., and E. Knowlton 1956 The History of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey: The Resurger~t Years, 1911-1927, Vol. 2. New York: Harper and Row. Harris, G.L. 1935 B - inept Offices: Opportur~itie~ and Method, of Operation. New York: Harper and Bros. International Labour Office 1937 The use of machinery and its influence on conditions of work for staff. International Labour Review 36~0ctober) :486-516. Jadden, W.B. 1914 Keeping labor records by machinery. Library of Office Management. Vol. 4. Chicago, New York and London: A.W. Shaw Co. Jones, J. 1985 Labor of Lout, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Word and the Family from Slavery to the Present. New York: Basic Books, Inc. Jones, W.F. 1928 Centralization means economy. Officc Economist (November):5-6, 13. Kaplan, D.L., and M.C. Casey 1958 Occupational trends in the United States, 1900-1950. Bureau of the Ccnsw Working Paper, 5. Larson, lI., E. Knowlton, and C. Popple 1971 The History of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey: New Horizons 1927-lg50, Vol. 3. New York: Harper and Row. Leffingwell, W.H. 1917 Scientific Office Managemer~. Chicago and New York: A.W. Shaw Co. Lockwood, D. 1958 The Blachcoated Worker: A Study in Class Consciousness. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. McColloch, M. 1983 White Collar Workers in Transition. The Boom Years, 1940-1970. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

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96 THE FEMINIZATION OF BOOKKEEPING Melman, S. 1951 The rise of administrative overhead in the manufacturing indus- tries of the United States, 1899-1947. Oxford Economic Papers 3(February):62-1 12. Merkle, J.A. 1980 Management and Ideology: Thc Legacy of the International Scientific Management Movement. Berkeley: University of California Press. Mills, C.W. 1951 White Collar: The American Middle Clam. New York: Oxford University Press. Morgan, B. 1953 Total to Date: Thc Evolution of the Adding Machine. The Story of Burroughs. London: Burroughs Adding Machine, Ltd. Morse, P. 1932 Bwinc" Machir~c~: Their Practical Applications and Educational Require- mer~. New York: Longmans, Green and Co. Murolo, P. 1982 White-Collar Women: The Feminization of the Aetna Life Insur- ance Co 1910 - 1930. Unpublished T,aner Hi~t~rv T)~n~.rt;m~nt: , _ _ Yale University. .r ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ .r ~ Nelson, D. 1975 Managers and Woricre: Origins of the New Factory System in the bruited State* 1880-1920. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Niemi, A. 1983 The male-female earnings differential: a historical overview of the clerical occupations from the 1880s to the 1970s. Social Science History 7tWinter1:97-107. ~ , Office Management Series 1967 Once Management Series, 1924-1941. Originally published by the American Management Association. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation. Page, E.D. 1906 The new science of business: making an office efficient. World' Work 12(June):7682-7684. Pell, O. 1937 Thc Offi;cc WorkerLabor's Side of the Ledger. New York: League for Industrial Democracy. Previts, G.J., and B.D. Merino 1979 A History of Accounting in America: An Historical Integration of the CulturalSigni~canec of Accounting. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Rhode Island Working Women 1981 Oral History Project. Unpublished transcripts. Rhode Island Working Women, Providence. Rotella, E.J. 1977 Women's Labor Force Participation and the Growth of Clerical Employment in the United States, 1870-1930. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Economics, University of Pennsylva- n~a. Soma, J.T. 1976 Thc Computer Industry: An Economic-Legal Ar~aly~is of Its Technology and Growth. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, D.C. Heath.

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SHARON HARTMAN STROM 97 Strom, S.H. 1983 Challenging "woman's place": feminism, the left, and industrial unionism in the 1930s. Fcrruru~t Studies (Summer)8:359-386. 1985 We're no Kitty Foylesn: organizing office workers for the CIO. Pp. 206-234 in Ruth Milkman, ea., Women, Work and Protest. New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul. U.S. Department of Labor 1939 Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govern- ment Printing Office. Weiss, J. 1978 Educating for Clerical Work: A History of Commercial Education in the United States since 1850. Ed.D. dissertation. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor 1942 Office work and office workers in Philadelphia in 1940. Comer' Bu- rcau Bulletin 188-5. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.