Northampton, MA: Department of History of Smith College, [1935-36]. First Editions. Two octavo volumes, 23cm x 15cm in original printed tan wrappers; 264 [Shlakman]; pp141-270 [Lumpkin]. First volume warmly inscribed by Shlakman to Lumpkin: "To K.D.L. - (a) with thanks, and (b) in memory of the preface that could never be written," signed "V.S.", undated but clearly contemporary with publication. Second volume is the author's copy, signed by Lumpkin in pencil at head of front cover. Slight overall wear, both volumes still well-preserved, Very Good or better in the original wrappers. Both volumes published in the series "Smith College Studies in History;" also comprising the second and first volumes, respectively, in the series of "Council of Industrial Studies" monographs.
First printing of Shlakman's only published full-length work, a landmark historical, sociological and economic study of female workers in the industrial town of Chicopee, Mass from the 18th century to the onset of the Great Depression. Economic History of a Factory Town remained an important and highly influential work well into the post-WW2 era, cited by one scholar as "an intellectual and conceptual guide, not only to a changing field, but to the persistent questions it raises..." (for a thorough review of Shlakman's work and influence, see Alice Kessler-Harris, "Vera Slakman, Economic History of A Factory Town" in International Labor & Working Class History, Aug 2006). Shlakman (1909-2017) was born in Montreal to radical Jewish immigrant parents who counted Emma Goldman among their inner circle. Shlakman pursued a scholarly path in economics and sociology that spanned eight full decades of the 20th century, but her academic career was interrupted for more than a decade in the Fifties when she became one of the first victims of the college blacklist following her refusal to testify before HUAC. She returned to teaching in 1966, eventually retiring as professor emerita from Columbia University in 1978. Shlakman's inscription in this volume, to her colleague and mentor Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, hints at something more than an academic friendship, though what personal relationship these two pioneers of American sociology may have shared does not appear to be a matter of record.
Offered together with Lumpkin's own copy of her second book, Shutdowns in the Connecticut Valley, issued a year prior to Shlakman's work in the same series. Lumpkin (1897-1988), a Georgia-born sociologist and memoirist, was the sister of radical novelist Grace Lumpkin and long-time Director of Research at the Institute of Labor Studies in Northampton. Both books are somewhat uncommon in commerce; we have never before seen an example of Shlakman's autograph.