The Brandeis brief

Revised image


Original data

brandeis original


The visualization of data shown in a simple table originally produced in 1895 and represented in Muller v. Oregon (208 US 412) 1907, sometimes called "the Brandeis brief."

The visualization is a horizontal bar plot whose vertical axis is ordinal values of weekly hours worked by 4376 women in 279 establishments. 

  • Although the data range up to 80, a value of 100 gives more space for the bars. 
  • The vertical axis labels are reasonably aligned vertically so the fractions are clearly visible.
  • The horizontal axis could also be labeled above (but Excel doesn't support this).
  • The rows of the graphic are reversed from the order of the original 'table,' with largest values at the top.


  • The graphic makes the distribution of hours by establishment much easier to see.
  • Very few of the establishments offer employees an 8-hour day.
  • The median establishment is about 10 hours per day.
  • The original intervals are ambiguous: they overlap except for the top 2 intervals.  
  • Would reversing the order of the rows facilitate viewing the graphic as a 'histogram'?