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Company Men

'Company Men' cover image

Company Men

White-Collar Life and Corporate Cultures in Los Angeles, 1892-1941

The story of the early decades of American big business, when white-collar jobs were new and their future uncertain

America's white-collar workers form the core of the nation's corporate economy and its expansive middle class. But just a century ago, white-collar jobs were new and their future anything but certain. In Company Men Clark Davis places the corporate office at the heart of American social and cultural history, examining how the nation's first generation of white-collar men created new understandings of masculinity, race, community, and success—all of which would dominate American experience for decades to come.

Company Men is set in Los Angeles, the nation's "corporate frontier" of the early twentieth century. Davis shows how this California city—often considered on the fringe of American society for the very reason that it was new and growing so rapidly—displayed in sharp contours how America's corporate culture developed. The young men who left their rural homes for southern California a century ago not only helped build one of the world's great business centers, but also redefined middle-class values and morals. Of interest to students of business history, gender studies, and twentieth-century culture, this work focuses on the "company man" as a pivotal actor in the saga of modern American history.