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A-Z Challenge 2020 Detroit Turner

W – WORKING WOMEN

Employees of Annis Furs. My Aunt Daisy is right in the middle, 4th from each side, in the center row. My great grandmother Jennie Turner is the first person on the right of that row and Aunt Alice is right next to her.

I was not sure of the date of the above photograph of the staff at Annis Furs in Detroit. What I knew was that my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Turner and her daughters, Daisy and Alice moved to Detroit in 1922. My grandparents, Mershell and Fannie (Jennie’s oldest daughter) had moved there in 1919. By 1930 Daisy was the only one still working at Annis. The photo had to be taken between 1923 and 1929. Looking at old family photographs, I saw that Daisy and my grandmother had their hair bobbed by 1926.

My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Turner, learned her seamstressing skills from her mother Eliza, who had been a seamstress during slavery. My great grandmother did not teach her own daughters to sew.

Jennie V. Turner had been a seamstress working on her own account in Montgomery and worked at Annis Furs for several years after moving to Detroit, before she retired.

Daisy was “head porteress” at the store, according to the 1930 census. I do not know what Alice did when she worked there because she in 1930 census she was not employed. Daisy was also head numbers runner at Annis Furs. The “numbers” being an illegal lottery. The runner took the bets and gave them to the banker and then paid off from the banker if anyone won. See a link below if you want more information on the numbers game.

Fashion changes during the 1920s.

There is more information at blog post “They Worked at Annis Furs”

You can read more about the numbers here – Daughter of a Numbers Runner.

20 replies on “W – WORKING WOMEN”

Such wonderful photos, and I, too, love the laughing one best. And how fascinating about the numbers and the fact your Aunt Daisy was a runner. I’m fascinated by the fashions as well. I couldn’t help but notice that in the first photo there were lots of necklaces, but only one woman had earrings.

So many changes in fashion in the twenties. Those dresses look superb. All the women in your photos have their smartly styled. It is nice to see them smiling in the bottom snapshot compared with the more formal picture at the top.

What a great photo. As people have commented, there’s a feeling in it of camaraderie and the dignity and pleasure of work. My mother-in-law had a collection of photos and clipping of women working. When she died my sister-in-law kept it and kept it up, at least for a while. If she was interested it could be something she could scan and put online somewhere.
Also cool that they could come to the city as newcomers and all three get a job at the same establishment.

My great grandmother and Daisy both had skills. They did have connections in the community. Family members and joining the church that had pretty much moved up from Montgomery to Detroit. I would suppose that might give them a way in.

Love the first photo for its hairstyles and dresses and the general fashion of the twenties (I do have a soft spot for those short bob cuts and strings of pearls) and the last one for the smiles.
That colourful poster gives a great summary of the fashion of the times.
Did you inherit any of the old dresses/blouses/jewellery Kristin or have pieces that are wearable?

No. I don’t think the clothes were saved. I have some of my grandmothers jewellery and some rings from my great aunts but my fingers are too big to wear them.

I love that Daisy was a numbers runner at Annis Furs. Always good to have a side job. I have a similar photo of my grandmother at The Boston Store in Gloversville, N.Y. during the same period. Amazing how many women were in the workforce in the 1920s.

I do to! It gave her a touch of pizazz that I didn’t associate with her during the time I knew her. She was still working at Annis Furs and doing her numbers, but at that time I didn’t know anything about it. There have been a lot of women working all along. Some sewed in their homes or worked in family businesses or family farms.

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