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During the later half of the nineteenth century, a majority of Brazilian women worked, most as domestic servants, either slave or free. House and Street re-creates the working and personal lives of these women, drawing on a wealth of documentation from archival, court, and church records.
Lauderdale Graham traces the intricate and ambivalent relations that existed between masters and servants. She shows how for servants the house could be a place of protectionas well as oppressionwhile the street could be dangerousbut also more autonomous. She integrates her discoveries with larger events taking place in Rio de Janeiro during the period, including the epidemics of the 1850s, the abolition of slavery, the demolition of slums, and major improvements in sanitation during the first decade of the 1900s.