Ileen DeVault

people / faculty

Ileen DeVault

Director, The Worker Institute at Cornell and Professor of Labor History
Labor Relations, Law, and History


Ileen DeVault is Professor of Labor History at Cornell University’s ILR School in Ithaca, NY, where she teaches classes on labor and working-class history. She is also one of the co-chairs of the Equity at Work Initiative of The Worker Institute at Cornell, as well as a member of The Worker Institute Executive Committee. She is the author of "Sons and Daughters of Labor" and "United Apart: Gender and the Rise of Craft Unionism," as well as articles. Her current research is on issues involving the impact of workers’ family status on their workplace experiences between 1880 and 1930 and in the present. As part of this, she is working on a book manuscript which illustrates the complex ways in which capital and workers came together in the logging industry of the Pacific Northwest.

Teaching Statement

Most of my teaching is in the field of labor and working class history. I am interested in communicating to students the ways in which people's lives in the past were both the same as and different from our lives today. I also hope to convey an appreciation for the process of historical research. Through my affiliation with The Worker Institute at Cornell, I have helped develop and run the course, The Gendered Workplace, which examines the many ways in which gender affects workplace experiences.

Research Statement

My overall research focus is on the interactions among gender, family, workplace, and community in US history. I look at the many manifestations of "family" and their impact for different groups of workers between 1880 and 1930, as well as in present.

Service Statement

I am a co-chair of the Equity at Work Initiative of The Worker Institute at Cornell, as well as a member of The Worker Institute Executive Committee.

Outreach Statement

I am a co-chair of the Equity at Work Initiative of The Worker Institute at Cornell, as well as a member of The Worker Institute Executive Committee. Under the auspices of the Worker Institute, I participated in the 2015 Advancing Worker Rights Conference as well as helping to plan the 2016 Union Days events on the topic, "Workers Without Borders."


Journal Articles

  • Ileen DeVault. 2016. 'Everybody Works But Father': Why the Census Misdirected Historians of Women's Employment, Social Science History . 40(3).
  • Ileen DeVault. 2015. Review of Miriam Frank, Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America, Journal of American History . 102(1 (June 2015)):310-311.
  • Ileen DeVault. 2013. Family Wages: The Roles of Wives and Mothers in Working-Class Survival Strategies, 1880-1930, Labor History . 54(1):1-20.
  • Ileen DeVault. 2010. Review of Dorothy Sue Cobble, Sex of Class: Women Transforming American Labor, Labor History . 51(3):506-507.
  • Ileen DeVault. 2006. “Too Hard on the Women, Especially”: Striking Together for Women Workers' Issues, International Review of Social History . 51(3):441-462.
  • Ileen DeVault. 1999. Narratives Serially Constructed and Lived: Ethnicity in Cross-Gender Strikes, 1887-1903, International Review of Social History . 44(supplement, Eileen Boris and Angélique Janssens, eds., 'complicating categories: gender, class, race and ethnicity'):33-52.


  • Ileen DeVault. 2004. United Apart: Gender, and the Rise of Craft Unionism, 1887-1903. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University Press, 2004.
  • Ileen DeVault. 1990. Sons and Daughters of Labor: Class and Clerical Work in Turn-of-the-Century Pittsburgh. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Book Chapters

  • Ileen DeVault. 1998. 'To Sit Among Men': Skill, Gender, and Craft Unionism in the Early American Federation of Labor. in Labor Histories: Class, Politics, and the Working-Class Experience. University of Illinois Press, 1998. Eric Arnesen, Julia Greene, Bruce Laurie.
  • Ileen DeVault. 1991. 'Give the Boys a Trade': Gender and Job Choice in the 1890s. in Work Engendered: Toward a New History of American Labor. Ithaca NY, United States: Cornell University Press, 1991. Ava Baron.

Book Sections

  • Ileen DeVault. 2017. Afterword: Matilda Robbins' Memoir. in Matilda Robbins. Ithaca, NY, United States: ILR Press, Cornell University Press, 2017. Frances Benson. (Accepted)
  • Ileen DeVault. 2013. Clerical Workers. in The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Business, Labor, and Economic History. New York, NY, United States: Oxford University Press, 2013. Melvyn Dubofsky.
  • Ileen DeVault. 2013. Craft Unions. in Sociology of Work. Sage Reference, 2013. VIcki Smith and J. Geoffrey Golson.
  • Ileen DeVault. 2010. "AFL-CIO". in Encyclopedia of American Women's History. United States: Facts on File, 2010. Hasia Diner. (Accepted)

Selected Works

Selected Works is a service of BePress Publishing that helps readers follow a scholar's most current work. View Selected Works of Ileen Devault

Professional Activities

  • Family Business. Presented to History of Capitalism. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. 2016.
  • Advancing Worker Rights: 80 Years After Passage of the NLRA, Chair. Presented to LERA. 2015.
  • "A Saint in FDR's Cabinet? The Life and Labor of Frances Perkins". Presented to CURW, Episcopal Church. Anabel Taylor Founder's Room. 2015.
  • Following the Women: Working Women, the Labor Movement, and Economic Justice. Presented to Labor and Working-Class History Association. New York city. 2013.
  • “Organizing Contingent Labor: Lessons from the Past and Struggles of the Future”. Presented to LAWCHA. New York city. 2013.
  • "Work-Family Issues in Historical Perspective". Presented to Cornell University. Barton Hall, Ithaca, NY. 2013.
  • Women in the Labor Movement--"What Would Mother Jones Say?". Presented to NYS Public Employees Federation. Syracuse, NY. 2012.
  • "'Let the Indian do it': Family, Ethnicity, and Industrial Paternalism in the Pacific Northwest, 1917-1931". Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 2012.
  • "Defining Ourselves as 'Other': Immigration, Class and the American 20th Century" . Presented to Cornell Prison Education Program. Auburn State Penitentiary. 2011.
  • "Defining Ourselves as 'Other': Immigration, Class and the American 20th Century" . Presented to Cornell University. Ithaca. 2011.
  • Panel Comment, “Hands Across the Border: Forging Identities and Intimacies in Transnational Service Work” . Amherst, Massachusetts. 2011.
  • Feminism, Low Wage Workers, and Organized Labor. Presented to Murphy Center . New York city. 2011.
  • Labor Themes: A Cultural and Historical Perspective. Presented to NYSUT. Saratoga Springs. 2010.
  • Married to the Union? Family responsibilities and labor activism, 1880-1930. Presented to ILR School/Queen Mary College University of London. Ithaca, NY. 2010.
  • Moderator. Presented to The History Center. The History Center, Ithaca, NY. 2010.
  • The Lens of the past. Presented to CSEA/AFSCME/Carroll Associates. Miami, Florida. 2010.
  • “Crisis and Oppportunity: Parallels and Possible Lessons. Presented to ILR ULI. Ithaca. 2009.

Honors and Awards

  • Cornell Class of 2017 Faculty Award, Cornell University 2017 Class Council.
  • Best Article Published in Labor History on a U.S. Topic, 2013, Labor History. 2014
  • MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching, ILR School. 2010