Behind the signs on the doors they work and the walls
tell nothing from room to room.
Ten-dollar-a-week stenographers take letters from
corporation officers, lawyers, efficiency engineers,
and tons of letters go bundled from the building to all
ends of the earth.
Smiles and tears of each office girl go into the soul of
the building just the same as the master-men who
rule the building.
--Carl Sandburg (from "Skyscraper;" Chicago Poems)
While continuing my research on working women in turn-of-the-century Chicago, I ran across an overview article by Lisa M. Fine that may be of interest titled "Female Office Workers in Chicago, 1870-1930." For a more in-depth look at the subject I refer you to Fine's 1990 book, The Souls of the Skyscraper: Female Clerical Workers in Chicago, 1870-1930, published by Temple University Press.
Another interesting article highlights the groundbreaking career of Ida Gray Nelson Rollins (1868-1953), the first Black woman to practice dentistry in Chicago (from 1895 to 1930). Gray, who graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, was also the first to graduate from any dental school in the country.