Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This historical census micro-data project examines the characteristics of women who self report as accountants in the 1880 US Federal Census. Using the data provided by the actual Census forms the demographic, familial, and economic characteristics of women accountants are examined and found to be quite different from the experience of accountants overall found by Lee [2007]. A fairly clear picture of a typical 1880 female accountant emerged and analysis of their multi-generational families gave insight into the changing occupational landscape of the period. Almost all women accountants were US born of US born parents and most did not migrate within the US thus showing some very mild evidence of exclusionary closure of the occupation for immigrant women. The 1870 and 1900 US Federal Census actual forms are also examined to determine where these women came from and where their lives led on both personal and career dimensions.


Paper submitted to the American Accounting Association National Meeting (Meeting held August, 2010).

Article was later published after substantial revision. Citation:

Diane Roberts, 2013. Women in accounting occupations in the 1880 US Census. Accounting History Review. Volume 23, Issue 2, July 2013, pages 141-160.

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