From 1858 to 1880 the Daughters of Charity religious order held an annual "fancy fair" in Los Angeles to support the work of its orphanage and school. The women of the town's elite families—Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish—managed the event and made the hand-crafted wares. Women across the class spectrum attended the fairs and purchased the wares. The important role of the fairs in community formation and in building a philanthropic culture enriches our understanding of the complexity of this frontier town beyond the focus on economic, political, and male-oriented events that dominate the standard literature.

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