Websites

Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business
http://www.radcliffe.edu/schles/exhibits/enterprisingwomen/about/exhibition.html
This Web site from Harvard University and the National Heritage Museum explores the history of women in business. Access information on Brownie Wise and a host of other enterprising women, play the "Mind Your Own Business" game, and share your own stories.

Harvard Magazine: Burping Cash
http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/09/tupperware-the-movie.html
Harvard Magazine goes behind the scenes with Tupperware! producer Laurie Kahn-Leavitt to describe the documentary and what it reveals about the 50s.

American Experience: Miss America
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/missamerica/
Follow American women through the major cultural and political events of the 20th century, and track the changing female ideal.

People's Century: Boomtime
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/peoplescentury/episodes/boomtime/index.html
This companion Web site for a PBS program addresses post-war prosperity and how it changed lifestyles and cultural values. Read the interview with Georgette Braga to find out about her Tupperware experience!

Lisa's Nostalgia Café: The Fifties Home
http://www.angelfire.com/retro/lisanostalgia2/50shome.html
This Web site presents an interesting set of 50s trends with illustrations and links covering subjects like Eames furniture, how to set up a home bar, the history of the washing machine, and more.

Levittown: Building the Suburban Dream
http://www.statemuseumpa.org/levittown/index.html
The State Museum of Pennsylvania takes a look at Levittown, the vast suburban housing development that came to represent the postwar American dream, in this online exhibit.

American Plastics Council: History of Plastics
http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Education-Resources/Hands-on-Plastics/Introduction-to-Plastics-Science-Teaching-Resources/History-of-Polymers-Plastics-for-Teachers.html
Get the inside story on the evolution of plastics, accompanied by descriptions of the major discoveries and inventions, from the industry trade association's website.

Direct Selling Association
http://www.dsa.org/about/history/
Scan a brief history of the Direct Selling Association. The site also includes a page with answers to common questions about direct selling.

Women's Statistics New Releases
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/women/
Look to the U.S. Census Bureau for current information on women in the United States: education levels, percentage voting, single mothers, and more.

Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/
This huge and helpful Library of Congress site provides access to millions of digital documents, films, and images relating to the history of women from many Library collections -- general collections, recorded sound, moving images, rare books, manuscripts, folklife, and more.

The Prelinger Film Archives
http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger
Rick Prelinger spent two decades collecting remarkable advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films -- and you can screen them for free on this Internet Archive site. Some of the footage in Tupperware! came from the Prelinger collection.

Books

Albus, Volker, Reyer Kras and Jonathan Woodham. Icons of Design, The 20th Century. New York: Prestel Press, 2000.

Benson, Susan Porter. Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores 1890-1940. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

Biggart, Nicole Woolsey. Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Selling Organizations in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Bijker, Wiebe E. Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1997.

Blaszczyk, Regina Lee. Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgewood to Corning. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins Press, 2000.

Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982.

Clarke, Alison. Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999.

Cockburn Cynthia, and Susan Omrod. Gender and Technology in the Making. London: Sage Publications, 1993.

Cockburn, Cynthia, ed. Bringing Technology Home: Gender and Technology in a Changing Europe. London: Taylor and Francis, 1994.

Cohen, Lizabeth. A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. New York: Basic Books, 1993.

----. A Social History of American Technology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Cowan, Ruth Schwartz, and Neil M. Cowan, Our Parent's Lives: Jewish Assimilation in Everyday Life. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Davis, Simone. Living Up to the Ads: Gender Fictions of the 1920s. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2000.

De Grazia, Victoria, and Ellen Furlough, eds. The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Douglas, Susan. Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Random House, 1994.

Enstad, Nan. Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Ewen, Elizabeth. Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars: Life and Culture on the Lower East Side, 1890-1925. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990.

Ewen, Stuart. All Consuming Image: The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Ewen, Stuart, and Elizabeth Ewen. Channels of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness Revised. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

Fenichell, Stephen. Plastic: The Making of a Synthetic Century New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Friedel, Robert. Pioneer Plastic: The Making and Selling of Celluloid. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.

Gabaccia, Donna. From the Other Side: Women, Gender, and Immigrant Life in the U.S. 1820-1990. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Glickman, Lawrence B., ed. Consumer Society in American History: A Reader. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Heinze, Andrew. Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption, and the Search for American Identity. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Horowitz, Roger, and Arwen Mohun, eds. His and Hers: Gender, Consumption, and Technology. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998.

Hounshell, David, and John Kenly Smith, Jr. Science and Corporate Strategy: Du Pont R&D 1902-1980. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Kay, Mary. You Can Have it All: Lifetime Wisdom from America's Foremost Woman Entrepreneur. Pima Communications, 1995.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Kwolek-Folland, Angel. Engendering Business: Men and Women in the Corporate Office, 1870-1930. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

----. Incorporating Women: A History of Women and Business in the United States. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Lukas, Paul. Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted. New York: Random House, 1997.

Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

----. Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Marcus, Greil. The Dustbin of History. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Marling, Karal Ann. As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994.

May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. New York: Basic Books, 1988.

Meikle, Jeffrey. American Plastic: A Cultural History. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

Mossman, Susan, and Peter J. T. Morris, eds. The Development of Plastics. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 1994.

Mowery, David, and Nathan Rosenberg. Paths of Innovation: Technological Change in 20th Century America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Noble, David. The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention. New York: Penguin, 1997.

Nye, David. Image Worlds: Corporate Identities at General Electric, 1890-1930. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1985.

----. Narratives and Spaces: Technology and Construction of American Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Parr, Joy. Domestic Goods: The Material, the Moral, and the Economic in the Postwar Years. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Peiss, Kathy. Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998.

Poletti, Raffaella. La Cucina Elettrica. Milan: Electa Press, 1994.

Potter, David Morris. People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and the American Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Reskin, Barbara, and Irene Padavic. Women and Men at Work. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press, 1994.

Rodgers, Daniel T. The Work Ethic in Industrial America 1850-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Scanlon, Jennifer, ed. The Gender and Consumer Culture Reader. New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Seymour, Raymond, ed. Pioneers in Polymer Science. Boston and London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989.

Sparke, Penny, ed. The Plastics Age: From Bakelite to Beanbags and Beyond. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1993.

Spears, Timothy. 100 Years on the Road: The Traveling Salesman in American Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Strasser, Susan. The Making of the American Mass Market. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.

----. Never Done: A History of American Housework. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1982.

----. Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999.

Wise, Brownie. Best Wishes, Brownie Wise: How to Put Your Wishes to Work. Orlando, Florida: Podium Publishing, 1957.

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

What do you think of the Tupperware story? What's your opinion of the postwar consumer boom, the rise of plastics, and other events of the 1950s? Has Tupperware affected you?



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  • NEH