"Canvass for Books" and "Lords of Creation"

Reading a 19th century satirical speech by David Ross Locke, and it’s generally easy to understand, but I don’t understand this one sentence.

I’d assume to “canvass for books” means selling them, but I want to be sure…I have no idea what “lords of creation” means. Help? Would be much obliged.

Failing the kitchen, women may canvass for books, though that occupation, like a few others equally profitable, and which also brings them into continual contact with the lords of creation, has a drawback in the fact that some men leer into the face of every woman who strives to do business for herself as though she were a moral leper; and failing all these, she may at least take to the needle.

Doesn’t it just mean men?

ETA: I’m not sure about that, but that’s what it sounded like to me – a satirical reference to men.

Would make a lot of sense…maybe I was just thinking too hard about it :stuck_out_tongue:

“Canvass” can mean several things:

I’m not sure what it means in this case. “Lords of creation” is apparently men who think they’re so much better than women.

“Lords of Creation” was a nickname for Gilded Age businessmen, much like a later generation of financiers became known as “Masters of the Universe”. Frederick Lewis Allen wrote a book by that title about Gilded Age businessmen.

I’ve never heard the phrase “canvass for books”, but from the context I assume it means bookkeepping. A woman can keep the books for a business, but it will bring her into contact with wealthy and powerful businessmen who might leer at her.