University Profiles

Vanessa May

Vanessa May, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of History


Professor May studies the history of women, gender, and class in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century America.

I am interested in the history of women and gender in the United States. My book examines the public debate over domestic service in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I explain how and why domestics, the largest category of women workers before 1940, did not win protective labor legislation until 1974. In contrast, women industrial workers benefited from this legislation as early as 1908. I investigate the debate over domestic service from both sides of the class divide, assessing middle-class women’s reform programs as well as domestics’ efforts to determine their own working conditions. I argue that working-class women sought to define the middle-class home as a workplace even as employers and reformers strictly regarded the home as private space.


  • PhD, University of Virginia
  • MA, University of Virginia
  • BA, Vassar College



Office Phone
(973) 761-9447


Office Location
Room 335
Fahy Hall


Sign In to PirateNet