Women at Work In the City of Corsets

A presentation by: Anne Marie Murphy
Thursday, October 26, 2023 - 5:00pm
30 Elm Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Free and Open to the Public


Worcester Women’s History Project and the Worcester Historical Museum are pleased to announce its new partnership. The move to merge WWHP with WHM aligns the two organizations’ commitment to documenting and sharing the multi-layered stories that are the history of Worcester. This event is a celebration of this merger and a commemoration of the 173rd anniversary of the First National Woman’s Rights Convention held in Worcester in 1850.

Reading from her forthcoming book A Proper Fit (working title), Anne Marie will introduce some of the many women who worked in Worcester's corset industry that began in the 1860s, continuing until the 1980s. Thousands of the city's women made corsets during those years, some taking specific tasks at factories such as a presser or stitcher, some running their own one-person shops where they custom-made corsets for their regular clients, and one even opening her own factory and allied chain of retail shops. These corset-makers were widows, divorcees, immigrants, former dressmakers, former shopkeepers, sixth grade drop-outs. They and the corsets they created played important roles in the history of the city.

Anne Marie Murphy is the author of a history of the 120+ corset making businesses (1860-1980) in the city of Worcester that focuses on its many women entrepreneurs. A professional researcher for the film & television industry for over thirty years, she has a bachelor's degree in English literature from Bowdoin College and a master's degree in film studies from UCLA. Her curiosity about the corset makers of Worcester began as a pandemic lockdown hobby and grew into a website (www.cityofcorsets.com) and a book nearing publication (TidePool Press, Cambridge, MA).