The Long Day is a wonderfully readable personal narrative of the trials and tribulations of an "unskilled, friendless, almost penniless girl of eighteen, utterly alone in the world" who arrives in New York City in 1905 to earn her livelihood.

The book reveals much about the lives of working women in early twentieth-century urban America- the sort of jobs available to women, the ethnic and demographic makeup of the female labor force, the harshness of the conditions, the less-than-satisfactory living arrangements, the physically demanding nature of the work, and the long working hours.