Women's History Salons
All the Single Ladies: "Women's Only" Buildings in Early 20th c. New York
Nina Harkrader
Wed, March 13th, 2019 | 5:30 pm
(Members $5)

Note: This event is sold out

Free for Members of the Women’s History Council


By the early 20th century, women had won the right to vote and were living and working in major cities as not only shop girls and dressmakers, but stenographers, telephone operators, nurses, and even journalists.

With the lure of such jobs, women were breaking free from traditional household bonds. By 1923, one out of five employed young women in America lived away from a family home. But navigating city life as a single working woman was tough. Housing options were limited and often too expensive, boarding or rooming houses were considered “immoral” or “unsafe,” and hotels would not admit single women!  The growth of women-only residences—buildings that provided safe, temporary living arrangements for single women working in the city—played a key role in the growth of women's independence between 1880 and 1930.

Join historian Nina Harkrader for a discussion of "all the single ladies" who bravely forged new paths for women in early 20th-century New York City. We'll explore the women-only homes designed to offer "good moral surroundings" for young ladies, the hotels that provided independence and ladylike comforts for “business women,” and a taste of what it might have been like to make one's way through New York City in the heady, early years of the 1900s.

Refreshments will be served. 



Skylight Gallery at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024


By phone: Contact New-York Historical’s in-house call center at (212) 485-9268. Call center is open 9 am–5 pm daily.
Online: Click on the orange “Buy Tickets” button at the top of this page.
In person: Advance tickets may be purchased on site at New-York Historical’s Admissions desk during museum hours.

Advance purchase is required to guarantee seating. Programs and dates may be subject to change. Program tickets do not include Museum Admission unless otherwise noted.

Lead support for the Center for Women's History programs provided by
Joyce B. Cowin, Diane and Adam E. Max, Jean Margo Reid, 
and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

This program is presented in collaboration by the New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History and Education Department.

Creative: Tronvig Group