Dr. Wendy Gamber's research centers on the social and cultural history of the nineteenth-century United States, with particular attention to relationships between gender and economy. Her first book, The Female Economy (1997), focused on the custom dressmaking and millinery trades, underscoring the gendered consequences of economic change-what was lost and what was gained as a nineteenth-century "female economy" largely controlled by women gave way to a twentieth-century clothing industry largely controlled by men. Gamber's recently released book, The Boardinghouse in Nineteenth-Century America, focuses on how the ubiquitous but much-maligned boardinghouse helped to construct the very idea of home and the ways in which both landladies and boarders negotiated powerful-if often illusory-dichotomies between home and market, public and private, love and money, boardinghouse and home. She is currently at work on a book-length microhistory that explores the social, cultural, and political consequences of a murder (one involving outwardly respectable middle-class women as perpetrator and victim) in late-nineteenth-century Indianapolis.
Wendy E. Gamber
Robert F. Byrnes Professor of History - 2014