Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
“Respectable Women, Ambitious Men: Gender and Family Networks in Victorian Sheffield” offers a family study of Nonconformist manufacturers in nineteenth-century Sheffield through several thematic case studies on such subjects as gender, family networks and businesses, bankruptcy, piety, and charitable work. This project focuses on the Reads, a family of middle-class Congregationalist smelters who owned a smelting works, named Read & Co., in nineteenth-century Sheffield. The Reads’ experiences contribute to recent scholarship on gender and kinship studies by addressing the role of nineteenth-century conceptions of masculinity and femininity on family, charity, and business and the enduring influence of nuclear families and family networks in modern Europe. Analyzing the Reads’ family network demonstrates that families utilized these structures to sustain and promote their businesses and philanthropic work during periods of financial crisis. The Reads’ charitable activism also reveals the integral role of inward religion and piety within their philanthropic ventures—aspects that many other studies of middle-class charity dismiss as primarily representations of middle-class respectability, social authority, and self-interest.
Mayle, Autumn, "Respectable Women, Ambitious Men: Gender and Family Networks in Victorian Sheffield" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7530.