“There is no respectable woman . . . that sells books!” The Memoirs of Nineteenth-Century Women Book Canvassers

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Jolie Braun


This article examines three memoirs by women canvassers: Annie Nelles, or, The Life of a Book Agent by Annie Nelles Dumond (1868), Six Years Experience as a Book Agent by Mrs. J. W. Likins (1874), and Facts by Harriet Wasson Styer (1881). These works record the physical, intellectual, and emotional labor of canvassing, offering a window into the otherwise little-documented experiences of women’s experiences working in a field that both recruited and presented numerous challenges for them.


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Textual Studies: Century by Century