Women's Exchange movement provided opportunity for 19th century artisans | Women's History Month

Mar 16, 2017

In the nineteenth century, Woman's Exchanges formed a national network that created economic alternatives for financially vulnerable women in a world that permitted limited employment options.

One of the nation's oldest continuously operating voluntary movements -- many are still in business after more than a century.


Women’s Exchanges were fashionable and popular shops where women who had fallen on hard times could sustain themselves by selling their handiwork on consignment -- without having to seek public employment.

These exchanges took shape in the Eastern U.S. …and eventually spread from coast to coast.

The Women’s Exchange took root in Michigan in Detroit during the 1880’s

Peter Whorf speaks with Northville writer Michele Fecht…who recently told the story of the movement in her Michigan History Magazine article The Women’s Exchange of Detroit….