Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution


Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution

The Coffee Culture of Córdoba, Veracruz

Heather Fowler-Salamini

The Mexican Experience Series

440 pages
13 photographs, 2 maps, 13 tables


July 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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April 2020


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eBook (PDF)
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July 2013


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About the Book

In the 1890s, Spanish entrepreneurs spearheaded the emergence of Córdoba, Veracruz, as Mexico’s largest commercial center for coffee preparation and export to the Atlantic community. Seasonal women workers quickly became the major part of the agroindustry’s labor force. As they grew in numbers and influence in the first half of the twentieth century, these women shaped the workplace culture and contested gender norms through labor union activism and strong leadership. Their fight for workers’ rights was supported by the revolutionary state and negotiated within its industrial-labor institutions until they were replaced by machines in the 1960s.

Heather Fowler-Salamini’s Working Women, Entrepreneurs, and the Mexican Revolution analyzes the interrelationships between the region’s immigrant entrepreneurs, workforce, labor movement, gender relations, and culture on the one hand, and social revolution, modernization, and the Atlantic community on the other between the 1890s and the 1960s. Using extensive archival research and oral-history interviews, Fowler-Salamini illustrates the ways in which the immigrant and women’s work cultures transformed Córdoba’s regional coffee economy and in turn influenced the development of the nation’s coffee agro-export industry and its labor force. 

Author Bio

Heather Fowler-Salamini is a professor emerita of Latin American history at Bradley University. She is the author of Agrarian Radicalism in Veracruz, 1920–1938 (Nebraska, 1978) and the editor (with Mary Kay Vaughan) of Women of the Mexican Countryside, 1850–1990: Creating Spaces, Shaping Transition.


"The author provides a fascinating collective profile of women leaders and their rise from rank and file to a rotating leadership group that controlled union politics for decades."—Susie S. Porter, Hispanic American Historical Review

"Heather Fowler-Salamini has given us a rich and satisfying book on the social and economic contours of coffee processing in the Córdoba district of Veracruz."—Edward Beatty, Journal of Latin American Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
List of Tables
1. Emergence of a Coffee Commercial Elite in Córdoba, Veracruz
2. Work, Gender, and Workshop Culture
3. Sorters’ Negotiations with Exporters and the State
4. Caciquismo, Organized Labor, and Gender
5. Everyday Experiences and Obrera Culture
6. Coffee Entrepreneurs, Workers, and the State Confront the Challenges of Modernization

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