Althea McDowell Altemus,Robin F. Bachin's Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America PDF

By Althea McDowell Altemus,Robin F. Bachin

Sharp, imaginative, and with a mode all her personal, Althea Altemus embodied the spirit of the autonomous operating girl of the Jazz Age. In her memoir, Big Bosses, she vividly recounts her existence as a secretary for well-known (but thinly disguised) employers in Chicago, Miami, and manhattan through the past due adolescents and Nineteen Twenties. along her we rub elbows with motion picture stars, artists, and high-profile businessmen, and event lavish property events that commonly defied the legislation of Prohibition.

Beginning together with her employment as a personal secretary to James Deering of foreign Harvester, whom she describes as “probably the world’s oldest and wealthiest bachelor playboy,” Altemus tells us a lot approximately excessive society through the time, taking us inside of Deering’s glamorous Miami property, Vizcaya, an Italianate mansion necessary of Gatsby himself. Later, we meet her different impressive employers, together with Samuel Insull, president of Chicago Edison; manhattan banker S. W. Straus; and actual property developer Fred F. French. We cinch up our trenchcoats and head out sleuthing in Chicago, employed by way of the spouse of a giant boss to determine how he spends his evenings (with, it seems, a mistress hidden in an house inside of his place of work, no less). Altemus was once additionally a suffering unmarried mom, a truth she needed to continue mystery from her employers, and he or she finds the problems of being a operating girl on the time via glimpses into women’s flats, their friendships, and the dangers—sexual and otherwise—that she and others confronted. all through, Altemus entertains with a tart and self-aware voice that mixes the data of an insider with the wit and readability of somebody at the fringe.

Anchored by way of vast annotation and an afterword from historian Robin F. Bachin, which contextualizes Altemus’s narrative, Big Bosses offers a distinctive peek contained in the pleasure, extravagances, and the demanding situations of being a operating lady roaring during the ’20s.

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Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America by Althea McDowell Altemus,Robin F. Bachin


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