Swimming in the Steno Pool (Paperback)
A Retro Guide to Making It in the Office
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393338546, 291pp.
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Millions of women have held the position of secretary, alternately lauded as a breakthrough opportunity and excoriated as dead-end busy work. From the female pioneers who infiltrated Capitol Hill offices during the Civil War to today's tech-savvy administrative assistants, secretaries have withstood criticism for abandoning their rightful sphere (the home), weathered the dubious advice of secretarial guide-books, taken hits from feminists and antifeminists alike, and demanded the right to resist making coffee--all while making their bosses look good.
In Swimming in the Steno Pool, author-secretary Lynn Peril profiles the various incarnations of the secretary, from pliable, sexy mate of the "office husband" to postfeminist executive-in-training, drawing inspiration from a wide range of "femorabilia" and secretarial guidebooks of yesteryear. Featuring an array of fabulous illustrations promoting office equipment and office girls alike, Peril delivers a feisty, witty celebration of the women who've been running the show for decades.