Download Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America by Althea McDowell Altemus,Robin F. Bachin PDF

By Althea McDowell Altemus,Robin F. Bachin

Sharp, imaginative, and with a mode all her personal, Althea Altemus embodied the spirit of the self reliant operating lady of the Jazz Age. In her memoir, Big Bosses, she vividly recounts her existence as a secretary for well known (but thinly disguised) employers in Chicago, Miami, and manhattan through the overdue adolescents and Twenties. along her we rub elbows with motion picture stars, artists, and high-profile businessmen, and event lavish property events that oftentimes defied the legislation of Prohibition.

Beginning along with her employment as a personal secretary to James Deering of overseas Harvester, whom she describes as “probably the world’s oldest and wealthiest bachelor playboy,” Altemus tells us a lot approximately excessive society throughout the time, taking us inside of Deering’s glamorous Miami property, Vizcaya, an Italianate mansion invaluable of Gatsby himself. Later, we meet her different outstanding employers, together with Samuel Insull, president of Chicago Edison; long island banker S. W. Straus; and actual property developer Fred F. French. We cinch up our trenchcoats and head out sleuthing in Chicago, employed via the spouse of a large boss to determine how he spends his evenings (with, it seems, a mistress hidden in an condo inside of his place of work, no less). Altemus was once additionally a suffering unmarried mom, a truth she needed to hold mystery from her employers, and he or she unearths the problems of being a operating girl on the time via glimpses into women’s residences, their friendships, and the dangers—sexual and otherwise—that she and others confronted. all through, Altemus entertains with a tart and self-aware voice that mixes the information of an insider with the wit and readability of somebody at the fringe.

Anchored by means of huge annotation and an afterword from historian Robin F. Bachin, which contextualizes Altemus’s narrative, Big Bosses offers a distinctive peek contained in the pleasure, extravagances, and the demanding situations of being a operating lady roaring throughout the ’20s.

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