Electric City
General Electric in Schenectady
Business History - History
6 x 9, 272 pp.
26 b&w photos. Index.
Pub Date: 10/22/2014
Kenneth E. Montague Series in Oil and Business History
Price:        $35.00 s

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Electric City

General Electric in Schenectady

By Julia Kirk Blackwelder

For seven decades the General Electric Company maintained its manufacturing and administrative headquarters in Schenectady, New York. 

Electric City: General Electric in Schenectady explores the history of General Electric in Schenectady from the company’s creation in 1892 to the present. As one of America’s largest and most successful corporations, GE built a culture centered around the social good of technology and the virtues of the people who produced it. 

At its core, GE culture posited that engineers, scientists, and craftsmen engaged in a team effort to produce technologically advanced material goods that served society and led to corporate profits. Scientists were discoverers, engineers were designers and problem solvers, and craftsmen were artists.

Historian Julia Kirk Blackwelder has drawn on company records as well as other archival and secondary sources and personal interviews to produce an engaging and multi-layered history of General Electric’s workplace culture and its planned (and actual) effects on community life. Her research demonstrates how business and community histories intersect, and this nuanced look at race, gender, and class sets a standard for corporate history.

JULIA KIRK BLACKWELDER is an emerita professor at Texas A&M University, where she previously served as head of the history department and as associate dean. She is the author of three books: Styling Jim Crow: African American Beauty Training during Segregation (2003); Now Hiring: The Feminization of Work in the United States, 1900–1995 (1997); and Women of the Depression: Caste and Culture in San Antonio, 1929–1939 (1984). She is a Schenectady County native and currently a resident of Ballston, New York.


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