Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Christine Evans

Committee Members

Winson Chu, Neal Pease


Company Men, Russian Revolution, Singer Manufacturing Company, Singer Sewing Machine, World War I


In 1914, the Russian Empire was the largest foreign market of the Singer Manufacturing Company. Following the Russian Revolution, Singer’s Russian subsidiary, Kompaniya Singer, was nationalized in a piecemeal fashion. Singer’s employees were forced to adapt to the new order or attempt to leave Soviet Russia. This thesis addresses the ways in which Kompaniya Singer and its employees built, used, fostered, and hampered national and institutional identities during the chaotic period from 1914 to 1930 in their quests to respond to the shifting political foundations of Russian society. As it became impossible for Kompaniya Singer and its cosmopolitan, managerial employees to adapt to the nationalist and Bolshevik changes of the early twentieth century, they relied on each other for stability and aid. This thesis explores the causes, expressions, and extent of this mutual reliance. This mutual reliance amid adversity adds a new dimension to corporation-employee relationships—especially the concept of corporate company men—and complicates discussions of identity.