WWOC 06: Printshop

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The printing press and movable type revolutionized the world. Have you ever considered how different the world would be without the printed word? Women have played a major role in the development, spread, and impact of printing. Typesetting means putting together, or composing, a text by arranging letters and other symbols into the final product. Women worked in print shops as typesetters in the 1860s relying on their knowledge of spelling and grammar as well as finger dexterity to complete their work. These were prestigious jobs, so the women who worked in typesetting were well-educated and considered fast learners. Their options were limited, however, by male dominance of the field. The International Typesetters Union was one of the first to admit women members Augusta Lewis, Mary Moore, and Eva Howard in 1869. Typesetting allowed women to get into publishing. Working with her husband Harold, Eva White did everything from setting type to page markups to serving as editor of the Naperville Sun. She and her husband were major benefactors of the relocation and restoration of Naper Settlement’s print shop.