March 8th, 2020

Shanghai women at work (1890s–1960s)

March 8 – time for women empowerment stories! In the past, we highlighted the careers of the dentist Antonina Kazimirow-Doenina, sculptor Isabella Karsnitsky, architect Cecilia Ezra, journalist Nevada Semenza, dancer Larissa Andersen, and scam artist Slick-Fingered Lil. This year we have a historic photo essay.

Weaver, late Qing:

Image: Shanghai Library

Making straw sandals, late Qing:

Image: Shanghai Library

Students at the South Gate Presbyterian Mission School, 1901:

Image: Library of Congress

[See the rest of the images...]
Nanny waking a toddler, c. 1918:


Mending clothes in the port, c. 1918:


Moving across Suzhou Creek with her family, c. 1918:

Images: Sydney D. Gamble

Nurses training, 1925:

Flickr Cities in Old Days

Thais Homiakoff (Jaspar) opening a training center for women, 1933:

Image: Y. S. Sun

Woman and girl shopping in the times of the occupation, 1937:

Image: Spaarnestad

Tailoring workshop at St. Olga's Orphanage, late 1930s:

Image: Amir Khisamutdinov

Dentist seeing a patient, 1940:

Image: A. T. Hull, Jr.

Woman running a café, 1940s:

Image: Yad Vashem

Tatiana Chumakova, wife of the artist Victor Podgoursky, painting in the studio, 1940:

Image: Malcolm Rosholt, HPC

Office work, 1940:

Image: Werner von Boltenstern, LMU

Working in a shoe shop, 1940s:

Image: Werner von Boltenstern, LMU

Typing class at the Gregg Business College, 1940s:

Image: Yad Vashem

Dressmaker Eleonora Garnett and the model in front of a customer, 1946:

Image: George Silk

Making propaganda in the Soviet Consulate, 1946:

Image: George Silk

Participants of the taxi dancers' riot in December 1948:

Image: Jack Birns

Opera singer Katerina Orlovskaya in the Renaissance restaurant, 1949:

Image: Jack Birns

Students marching in support of the Communists, 1949:

Image: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hairdresser with customer, 1949:

Image: Jack Birns

Tailors posing at their workplace, 1950s:

Image: Shanghai Library

At the former Wing-On Department store, 1960s:

Image: Shanghai Municipal Archive

Acting on stage, 1960s:

Image: Shanghai Municipal Archive



Red Guard posing at the People's Square, 1960s:

Image: Taobao