“Vacations do not appeal to them …”: Extending Vacations to the Working Class

Cindy S. Aron

in Working at Play

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195142341
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849024 | DOI:
“Vacations do not appeal to them …”: Extending Vacations to the Working Class

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The 19th century had afforded few members of the working class the opportunity for a vacation. Toward the end of the century, some working-class people found other means to eke pleasure out of unemployment. Persuaded that vacations for workers could make good business sense, a small number of progressive American companies began during the 1920s to institute paid vacation plans. Although it was not until the last half of the 1930s that a majority of working-class people enjoyed the privilege of paid vacations, during the early decades of the 20th century, middle-class reformers, social critics, and businessmen helped to fashion a rationale for mass vacationing. By the early 20th century, a variety of groups had become interested in vacations for working women. Both businessmen and reformers apparently shared a general consensus that vacations spent outdoors—preferably camping—were the most beneficial.

Keywords: vacations; camping; working class; working women; unemployment; paid vacations; mass vacationing; 19th century; reformers

Chapter.  10583 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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