Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar

Laborers, Servants, and Schools: Aspirations of Mobility and the Reproduction of Inequality in Boston, 1880-1940

Comment: John McClymer, Assumption College

This paper traces the shift in the central site of preparation for work from informal on-the-job training in the late 19th century to formal schooling by the 1930s, using the city of Boston to illustrate this transformation. The work argues that during this period, education as a path to social advancement was forged as a central tenet of American democracy. Yet this shift affected groups unevenly, and the expansion of education perpetuated some social hierarchies.

RSVP required. To respond, email

Unless stated, all seminars take place at the Society, 1154 Boylston St., Boston, and commence at 5:15 PM. Each of our seven Immigration and Urban History seminars consists of a discussion of a pre-circulated paper provided to our subscribers. (Papers will be available at the MHS on the day of an event for those who choose not to subscribe.) After each session the Society will provide a light buffet supper.

To subscribe online ($25 for the season): Use the link in Receive online access to the papers we will be discussing at each session. Moreover, subscribers to any of three of the series we sponsor—in Early American, Environmental, and Immigration and Urban history—also receive access to the papers for the other two series. Questions? Email

In case of inclement weather, please phone 617-536-1608 for information.

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