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Across America and Back
Retracing My Great-Grandparents' Remarkable Journey
Mary Ann Hooper
University of Nevada Press, 2018
After unearthing her great-grandparents’ diaries, Mary Ann Hooper set out on a journey to retrace their 1871 trip across the United States on the newly-opened Transcontinental Railroad—via Chicago, just destroyed by the Great Fire, then across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to the Golden City of San Francisco. Filled with rich details of time, place, and culture, Mary Ann’s thoughtful and compelling narrative is both a re-creation of a family journey and a thoughtful account of how the American West has changed over the last 150 years. 
 
Using the common thread of the same train trip across the American landscape, she weaves together the two stories—her great grandparents, Charles and Fannie Crosby’s leisurely Victorian tourist trip described in both their diaries—and her own trip. Mary Ann’s adventurous and determined voice fills the pages with entertaining encounters on the train, escapades on her folding bike, and her reflections on her birth country and her own life story.

During her journey, she discovers the stories of her 1950s childhood reflect a “Wild West” at odds with the West her great-grandparents record in their diaries, leading her to uncover more of the real and meatier history of the American West—going through conquest, rapid settlement, and economic development. As Mary Ann fulfills her quest to understand better why glorified myths were created to describe the Wild West of her childhood, and reflects on the pitfalls of what “progress” is doing to the environment, she is left with a much bigger question: Can we transform our way of doing things quickly enough to stop our much-loved West becoming an uninhabitable desert?
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Affairs of State
Public Life in Late Nineteenth-Century America
Morton Keller
Harvard University Press, 1977

This first modern history of American public life after the Civil War is a work of magisterial sweep and sophisticated insight. It will be the standard work on the era for many years to come.

Integrating political, legal, and administrative history on a scale not previously attempted, Morton Keller examines crosscurrents in American institutions during a key transitional period in American history—a period that began with the end of a bloody civil war and ended with the beginning of massive industrialization. At the same time, he vividly captures the energy and optimism of a young country about to burst into the twentieth century.

Keller begins by reviewing the twin legacies of the Civil War: a strengthened belief in an active national government and a vigorous drive toward civil equality. He moves on to the postwar years when centralizing and reformist tendencies were evident everywhere, not only in the Reconstructed South but also in a renewed North. After the 1880s, however, the pendulum began to swing back, and Americans faced the social and economic upheavals of the last decades of the nineteenth century with deeply divided views—an uncertainty that persists in our own day.

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Alternative America
Henry George, Edward Bellamy, Henry Demarest Lloyd and the Adversary Tradition
John L. Thomas
Harvard University Press, 1983

Through vivid and searching portraits of these three redoubtable journalists, prize-winning historian John L. Thomas traces for the first time the evolving ideologies of the most significant reformers of their age.

Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, and Henry Lloyd’s Wealth against Commonwealth each in its turn became an international bestseller, championing a course of national policy and social reform that owed allegiance neither to the large-scale capitalist model then emerging, nor to the bureaucratic socialism espoused on the left. Also common to the vast writings of all three were a deep distrust of partisan machine politics and a mounting sense of social crisis which neither spoilsmanship nor materialism seemed able to address.

Seeking instead diversity and cooperation within society, small economic units, and simplicity in government, the authors of these works were moved to defend strikes during the heyday of industrial capitalism. They spoke out for international peace when imperialism was rampant. They called for the preservation of community values in the face of urban sprawl. And they urged the goals of brotherhood and interdependence in an age when survival of the fittest was seen as holy writ.

They failed magnificently as apostles of a radical culture based on the ideal of a community, yet their intellectual legacy was not lost: their heirs include the broad movement that took the name Progressive, the New Deal, and the hopeful crusades of the 1960s. This magnificent book is their memorial and their history.

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The American 1890s
A Cultural Reader
Susan Harris Smith and Melanie Dawson, eds.
Duke University Press, 2000
America at the last fin de siècle was in a period of profound societal transition. Industrialization was well under way and with it a burgeoning sense of professionalism and a growing middle class that was becoming increasingly anxious about issues of race, gender, and class. The American 1890s: A Cultural Reader is a wide-ranging anthology of essays, criticism, and fiction first printed in periodicals during those last remarkable years of the nineteenth century, a decade commonly referred to as the “golden age” of periodical culture.
To depict the many changes taking place in the United States at this time, Susan Harris Smith and Melanie Dawson have drawn from an eclectic range of periodicals: elite monthlies such as Scribner’s, Harper’s, and the Atlantic Monthly; political magazines such as the North American Review and Forum; magazines for general readers such as Cosmopolitan and McClures; and specialized publications including the Chatauquan, Outing, and Colored American Magazine. Authors represented in the collection include Andrew Carnegie, Edith Wharton, Theodore Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Booker T. Washington, Stephen Crane,
W. E. B. DuBois, Jacob Riis, and Frederick Jackson Turner. A general introduction to the period, a brief contextualizing essay for each selection, and a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources are provided as well. In examining and debating the decade’s momentous political and social developments, the essays, editorials, and stories in this anthology reflect a constantly shifting culture at a time of internal turmoil, unprecedented political expansion, and a renaissance of modern ideas and new technologies.
Bringing together a carefully chosen selection of primary sources, The American 1890s presents a remarkable variety of views—nostalgic, protective, imperialist, progressive, egalitarian, and democratic—held by American citizens a century ago.
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American Home Life, 1880–1930
A Social History of Spaces and Services
Jessica H. Foy
University of Tennessee Press, 1994
In the pivotal decades around the turn of the century, American domestic life underwent dramatic alteration. From backstairs to front stairs, spaces and the activities within them were radically affected by shifts in the larger social and material environments. This volume, while taking account of architecture and decoration, moves us beyond the study of buildings to the study of behaviors, particularly the behaviors of those who peopled the middle-class, single-family, detached American home between 1880 and 1930. The book's contributors study transformations in services (such as home utilities of power, heat, light, water, and waste removal) in servicing (for example, the impact of home appliances such as gas and electric ranges, washing machines, and refrigerators), and in serving (changes in domestic servants' duties, hours of work, racial and ethnic backgrounds). In blending intellectual and home history, these essays both examine and exemplify the perennial American enthusiasm for, as well as anxiety about, the meaning of modernity.
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American Incarnation
The Individual, the Nation, and the Continent
Myra Jehlen
Harvard University Press, 1986

In exploring the origins and character of the American liberal tradition, Myra Jehlen begins with the proposition that the decisive factor that shaped the European settlers’ idea of “America” or the “American” was material rather than conceptual—it was the physical fact of the land. European settlers came to a continent on which they had no history, bringing the ideology of liberal individualism, which they projected onto the land itself. They believed the continent proclaimed that individuals were born in nature and freely made their own society. An insurgent ideology in Europe, this idea worked in America paradoxically to empower the individual and to restrict social change.

Jehlen sketches the evolution of the concept of incarnation through comparisons of American and European eighteenth-century naturalist writings, particularly Emerson’s Nature. She then explores the way incarnation functions ideologically—to both enable and curtail action—in the writing of fiction. Her examination of Hawthorne and Melville shows how the myth of the New World both licensed and limited American writers who set out to create their own worlds in fiction. She examines conflicts between the exigencies of narrative form and the imperatives of ideology in the writings of Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, and others. Jehlen concludes with a speculation on the implication of this original construction of “America” for the United States today, when such imperial concepts have been called into question.

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American Science in the Age of Jackson
George H. Daniels
University of Alabama Press, 1968
Shows how American scientists emerged from a disorganized group of amateurs into a professional body sharing a common orientation and common goals
 
In this first effort to define an American scientific community, originally published in 1968, George Daniels has chosen for special study the 56 scientists most published in the 16 scientific journals identified as “national” during the period 1815 to 1845. In this reprint edition, with a new preface and introduction, Daniels shows how American scientists emerged from a disorganized group of amateurs into a professional body sharing a common orientation and common goals.
 
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Babel and Babylon
Spectatorship in American Silent Film
Miriam Hansen
Harvard University Press, 1994

Although cinema was invented in the mid-1890s, it was a decade more before the concept of a “film spectator” emerged. As the cinema began to separate itself from the commercial entertainments in whose context films initially had been shown—vaudeville, dime museums, fairgrounds—a particular concept of its spectator was developed on the level of film style, as a means of predicting the reception of films on a mass scale. In Babel and Babylon, Miriam Hansen offers an original perspective on American film by tying the emergence of spectatorship to the historical transformation of the public sphere.

Hansen builds a critical framework for understanding the cultural formation of spectatorship, drawing on the Frankfurt School’s debates on mass culture and the public sphere. Focusing on exemplary moments in the American silent era, she explains how the concept of the spectator evolved as a crucial part of the classical Hollywood paradigm—as one of the new industry’s strategies to integrate ethnically, socially, and sexually differentiated audiences into a modern culture of consumption. In this process, Hansen argues, the cinema might also have provided the conditions of an alternative public sphere for particular social groups, such as recent immigrants and women, by furnishing an intersubjective context in which they could recognize fragments of their own experience.

After tracing the emergence of spectatorship as an institution, Hansen pursues the question of reception through detailed readings of a single film, D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916), and of the cult surrounding a single star, Rudolph Valentino. In each case the classical construction of spectatorship is complicated by factors of gender and sexuality, crystallizing around the fear and desire of the female consumer.

Babel and Babylon recasts the debate on early American cinema—and by implication on American film as a whole. It is a model study in the field of cinema studies, mediating the concerns of recent film theory with those of recent film history.

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Banquet at Delmonico's
The Gilded Age and the Triumph of Evolution in America
Barry Werth
University of Chicago Press, 2011

In Banquet at Delmonico’s, Barry Werth draws readers inside the circle of intellectuals, scientists, politicians, businessmen, and clergymen who brought Charles Darwin’s controversial ideas to post-Civil-War America. Each chapter is dedicated to a crucial intellectual encounter, culminating with an exclusive farewell dinner held in English philosopher Herbert Spencer’s honor at the venerable New York restaurant Delmonico’s in 1882. In this thought-provoking and nuanced account, Werth firmly situates social Darwinism in the context of the Gilded Age. Banquet at Delmonico’s is social history at its finest.

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Brahmin Capitalism
Frontiers of Wealth and Populism in America’s First Gilded Age
Noam Maggor
Harvard University Press, 2017

Tracking the movement of finance capital toward far-flung investment frontiers, Noam Maggor reconceives the emergence of modern capitalism in the United States. Brahmin Capitalism reveals the decisive role of established wealth in the transformation of the American economy in the decades after the Civil War, leading the way to the nationally integrated corporate capitalism of the twentieth century.

Maggor’s provocative history of the Gilded Age explores how the moneyed elite in Boston—the quintessential East Coast establishment—leveraged their wealth to forge transcontinental networks of commodities, labor, and transportation. With the decline of cotton-based textile manufacturing in New England and the abolition of slavery, these gentleman bankers traveled far and wide in search of new business opportunities and found them in the mines, railroads, and industries of the Great West. Their investments spawned new political and social conflict, in both the urbanizing East and the expanding West. In contests that had lasting implications for wealth, government, and inequality, financial power collided with more democratic visions of economic progress.

Rather than being driven inexorably by technologies like the railroad and telegraph, the new capitalist geography was a grand and highly contentious undertaking, Maggor shows, one that proved pivotal for the rise of the United States as the world’s leading industrial nation.

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The Collected Letters of Henry Northrup Castle
Henry Northrup Castle
Ohio University Press, 2012

George Herbert Mead, one of America’s most important and influential philosophers, a founder of pragmatism, social psychology, and symbolic interactionism, was also a keen observer of American culture and early modernism. In the period from the 1870s to 1895, Henry Northrup Castle maintained a correspondence with family members and with Mead—his best friend at Oberlin College and brother-in-law—that reveals many of the intellectual, economic, and cultural forces that shaped American thought in that complex era. Close friends of John Dewey, Jane Addams, and other leading Chicago Progressives, the author of these often intimate letters comments frankly on pivotal events affecting higher education, developments at Oberlin College, Hawaii (where the Castles lived), progressivism, and the general angst that many young intellectuals were experiencing in early modern America.

The letters, drawn from the Mead-Castle collection at the University of Chicago, were collected and edited by Mead after the tragic death of Henry Castle in a shipping accident in the North Sea. Working with his wife Helen Castle (one of Henry’s sisters), he privately published fifty copies of the letters to record an important relationship and as an intellectual history of two progressive thinkers at the end of the nineteenth century. American historians, such as Robert Crunden and Gary Cook, have noted the importance of the letters to historians of the late nineteenth century.

The letters are made available here using the basic Mead text of 1902. Additional insights into the connection between Mead, John Dewey, Henry and Harriet Castle, and Hawaii’s progressive kindergarten system are provided by the foundation’s executive director Alfred L. Castle. Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin College, has added additional comments on the importance of the letters to understanding the intellectual relationship that flourished at Oberlin College.

Published with the support of the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation.

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Confederate Bushwhacker
Mark Twain in the Shadow of the Civil War
Jerome Loving
University Press of New England, 2013
Confederate Bushwhacker is a microbiography set in the most important and pivotal year in the life of its subject. In 1885, Mark Twain was at the peak of his career as an author and a businessman, as his own publishing firm brought out not only the U.S. edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but also the triumphantly successful Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. Twenty years after the end of the Civil War, Twain finally tells the story of his past as a deserter from the losing side, while simultaneously befriending and publishing the general from the winning side. Coincidentally, the year also marks the beginning of Twain’s descent into misfortune, his transformation from a humorist into a pessimist and determinist. Interwoven throughout this portrait are the headlines and crises of 1885—black lynchings, Indian uprisings, anti-Chinese violence, labor unrest, and the death of Grant. The year was at once Twain’s annus mirabilis and the year of his undoing. The meticulous treatment of this single year by the esteemed biographer Jerome Loving enables him to look backward and forward to capture both Twain and the country at large in a time of crisis and transformation.
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The Death of Reconstruction
Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901
Heather Cox Richardson
Harvard University Press, 2004

Historians overwhelmingly have blamed the demise of Reconstruction on Southerners' persistent racism. Heather Cox Richardson argues instead that class, along with race, was critical to Reconstruction's end. Northern support for freed blacks and Reconstruction weakened in the wake of growing critiques of the economy and calls for a redistribution of wealth.

Using newspapers, public speeches, popular tracts, Congressional reports, and private correspondence, Richardson traces the changing Northern attitudes toward African-Americans from the Republicans' idealized image of black workers in 1861 through the 1901 publication of Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery. She examines such issues as black suffrage, disenfranchisement, taxation, westward migration, lynching, and civil rights to detect the trajectory of Northern disenchantment with Reconstruction. She reveals a growing backlash from Northerners against those who believed that inequalities should be addressed through working-class action, and the emergence of an American middle class that championed individual productivity and saw African-Americans as a threat to their prosperity.

The Death of Reconstruction offers a new perspective on American race and labor and demonstrates the importance of class in the post-Civil War struggle to integrate African-Americans into a progressive and prospering nation.

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Democracy and Social Ethics
Jane Addams
University of Illinois Press, 2001
Nearly a century before the advent of "multiculturalism," Jane Addams put forward her conception of the moral significance of diversity. Each member of a democracy, Addams believed, is under a moral obligation to seek out diverse experiences, making a daily effort to confront others' perspectives. Morality must be seen as a social rather than an individual endeavor, and democracy as a way of life rather than merely a basis for laws. Failing this, both democracy and ethics remain sterile, empty concepts.
In this, Addams's earliest book on ethics--presented here with a substantial introduction by Charlene Haddock Seigfried--she reflects on the factors that hinder the ability of all members of society to determine their own well-being. Observing relationships between charitable workers and their clients, between factory owners and their employers, and between household employers and their servants, she identifies sources of friction and shows how conceiving of democracy as a social obligation can lead to new, mutually beneficial lines of conduct. She also considers the proper education of workers, struggles between parents and their adult daughters over conflicting family and social claims, and the merging of politics with the daily lives of constituents.
"The sphere of morals is the sphere of action," Addams proclaims.  It is not enough to believe passively in the innate dignity of all human beings. Rather, one must work daily to root out racial, gender, class, and other prejudices from personal relationships.
 
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Drift and Mastery
An Attempt to Diagnose the Current Unrest
Walter Lippmann, Introduction and notes by William E. Leuchtenburg, Foreword by Ganesh Sitaraman
University of Wisconsin Press, 2015
In 1914, a brilliant young political journalist published a book arguing that the United States had entered a period of “drift”—a lack of control over rapidly changing forces in society. He highlighted the tensions between expansion and consolidation, traditionalism and progressivism, and emotion and rationality. He wrote to convince readers that they could balance these tensions: they could be organized, efficient, and functional without sacrificing impulse, choice, or liberty. Mastery over drift is attainable, Walter Lippmann argued, through diligent attention to facts and making active choices. Democracy, Lippman wrote, is “a use of freedom, an embrace of opportunity.”
            Lippman’s Drift and Mastery became one of the most important and influential documents of the Progressive Movement. It remains a valuable text for understanding the political thought of early twentieth-century America and a lucid exploration of timeless themes in American government and politics. Distinguished historian Walter Leuchtenberg’s 1986 introduction and notes are retained in this edition.
            Ganesh Sitaraman, who has provided a foreword for this centennial edition, suggests that Lippmann’s classic still has much to say to twenty-first-century progressives. The underlying solutions for our time, he believes, are similar to those of Lippman’s era. Sitaraman contends that American society can regain mastery over drift by reforming finance and reducing inequality, by rethinking the relationship between corporations and workers, and by embracing changes in social life.
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The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience
The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister
By G. Edward White
University of Texas Press, 1989

First published in 1968, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience has become a classic in the field of American studies.

G. Edward White traces the origins of “the West of the imagination” to the adolescent experiences of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister—three Easterners from upper-class backgrounds who went West in the 1880s in search of an alternative way of life.

Each of the three men came to identify with a somewhat idealized “Wild West” that embodied the virtues of individualism, self-reliance, and rugged masculinity. When they returned East, they popularized this image of the West through art, literature, politics, and even their public personae. Moreover, these Western virtues soon became and have remained American virtues—a patriotic ideal that links Easterners with Westerners.

With a multidisciplinary blend of history, biography, sociology, psychology, and literary criticism, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience will appeal to a wide audience. The author has written a new preface, offering additional perspectives on the mythology of the West and its effect on the American character.

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A Fatal Drifting Apart
Democratic Social Knowledge and Chicago Reform
Laura M. Westhoff
The Ohio State University Press, 2007
The eyes of the country frequently turned to Chicago during the 1890s as the Windy City struggled with the promises and challenges of urban democracy. Americans of all classes feared the social dislocations and economic divisions of urbanization and industrialization, and the effects of political corruption and massive immigration on democratic politics. Yet many reformers were hopeful that new forms of social knowledge and urban reform could reinvigorate democracy. They saw the moment as one of great possibility. 

A Fatal Drifting Apart: Democratic Social Knowledge and Chicago Reform explores the efforts of diverse groups within Chicago during the Progressive Era. This backdrop of industrialization, emerging classes, and ethnic and racial pluralism frequently riven with class conflict set the stage on which Chicago reformers took up the seemingly impossible challenge of enacting democracy. Laura M. Westhoff examines historic events and well-known individuals of the period and brings them together in an unusual framework that offers a new perspective on the reorientation of knowledge, civic identity, and democratic culture at the dawn of the twentieth century, which she terms democratic social knowledge. The book raises important questions that continue to resonate: In a democracy, who has the power to define social problems and offer solutions, and whose experience and knowledge are seen as legitimate? 
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Fighting Financial Crises
Learning from the Past
Gary B. Gorton and Ellis W. Tallman
University of Chicago Press, 2018
If you’ve got money in the bank, chances are you’ve never seriously worried about not being able to withdraw it. But there was a time in the United States, an era that ended just over a hundred years ago, when bank customers had to pay close attention to the solvency of the banking system, knowing they might have to rush to retrieve their savings before the bank collapsed. During the National Banking Era (1863–1913), before the establishment of the Federal Reserve, widespread banking panics were indeed rather common.

Yet these pre-Fed banking panics, as Gary B. Gorton and Ellis W. Tallman show, bear striking similarities to our recent financial crisis. Fighting Financial Crises thus turns to the past to better understand our uncertain present, investigating how panics during the National Banking Era played out and how they were eventually quelled and prevented. The authors then consider the Fed’s and the SEC’s reactions to the recent crisis, building an informative new perspective on how the modern economy works.
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Free to All
Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, 1890-1920
Abigail A. Van Slyck
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Familiar landmarks in hundreds of American towns, Carnegie libraries today seem far from controversial. In Free to All, however, Abigail A. Van Slyck shows that the classical façades and symmetrical plans of these buildings often mask a complex and contentious history.

"The whole story is told here in this book. Carnegie's wishes, the conflicts among local groups, the architecture, development of female librarians. It's a rich and marvelous story, lovingly told."—Alicia Browne, Journal of American Culture

"This well-written and extensively researched work is a welcome addition to the history of architecture, librarianship, and philanthropy."—Joanne Passet, Journal of American History

"Van Slyck's book is a tremendous contribution for its keenness of scholarship and good writing and also for its perceptive look at a familiar but misunderstood icon of the American townscape."—Howard Wight Marshall, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

"[Van Slyck's] reading of the cultural coding implicit in the architectural design of the library makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the limitations of the doctrine 'free to all.'"—Virginia Quarterly Review
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The Fundamental Institution
Poverty, Social Welfare, and Agriculture in American Poor Farms
Megan Birk
University of Illinois Press, 2022
By the early 1900s, the poor farm had become a ubiquitous part of America's social welfare system. Megan Birk's history of this foundational but forgotten institution focuses on the connection between agriculture, provisions for the disadvantaged, and the daily realities of life at poor farms. Conceived as an inexpensive way to provide care for the indigent, poor farms in fact attracted wards that ranged from abused wives and the elderly to orphans, the disabled, and disaster victims. Most people arrived unable rather than unwilling to work, some because of physical problems, others due to a lack of skills or because a changing labor market had left them behind. Birk blends the personal stories of participants with institutional histories to reveal a loose-knit system that provided a measure of care to everyone without an overarching philosophy of reform or rehabilitation.

In-depth and innovative, The Fundamental Institution offers an overdue portrait of rural social welfare in the United States.

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Global Dawn
The Cultural Foundation of American Internationalism, 1865–1890
Frank Ninkovich
Harvard University Press, 2009

Why did the United States become a global power? Frank Ninkovich shows that a cultural predisposition for thinking in global terms blossomed in the late nineteenth century, making possible the rise to world power as American liberals of the time took a wide-ranging interest in the world. At the center of their attention was the historical process they called “civilization,” whose most prominent features—a global economy, political democracy, and a global culture—anticipated what would later come to be known as globalization.

The continued spread of civilization, they believed, provided the answer to worrisome contemporary problems such as the faltering progress of democracy, a burgeoning arms race in Europe, and a dangerous imperialist competition. In addition to transforming international politics, a global civilization quickened by commercial and cultural exchanges would advance human equality and introduce the modern industrial way of life to traditional societies. Consistent with their universalist outlook, liberal internationalists also took issue with scientific racism by refusing to acknowledge racial hierarchy as a permanent feature of relations with nonwhite peoples.

Of little practical significance during a period when isolationism reigned supreme in U.S. foreign policy, this rich body of thought would become the cultural foundation of twentieth-century American internationalism.

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Great Expectations
Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America
Elaine Tyler May
University of Chicago Press, 1983
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the divorce rate in the United States rose by a staggering 2,000 percent. To understand this dramatic rise, Elaine Tyler May studied over one thousand detailed divorce cases. She found that contrary to common assumptions, divorce was not simply a by-product of women's increasing economic and sexual independence, or a rebellion against marriage. Rather, thwarted hopes for fulfillment in the public sphere drove both men and women to wed at a greater rate and to bring higher expectations to their marriages.
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The Great Strikes of 1877
Edited by David O. Stowell
University of Illinois Press, 2007

A spectacular example of collective protest, the Great Strike of 1877--actually a sequence of related actions--was America's first national strike and the first major strike against the railroad industry. In some places, non-railroad workers also abandoned city businesses, creating one of the nation's first general strikes. Mobilizing hundreds of thousands of workers, the Great Strikes of 1877 transformed the nation's political landscape, shifting the primary political focus from Reconstruction to labor, capital, and the changing role of the state. 

Probing essays by distinguished historians explore the social, political, regional, and ethnic landscape of the Great Strikes of 1877: long-term effects on state militias and national guard units; ethnic and class characterization of strikers; pictorial representations of poor laborers in the press; organizational strategies employed by railroad workers; participation by blacks; violence against Chinese immigrants; and the developing tension between capitalism and racial equality in the United States. 

Contributors: Joshua Brown, Steven J. Hoffman, Michael Kazin, David Miller, Richard Schneirov, David O. Stowell, and Shelton Stromquist.

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The Heart of Whiteness
Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1880–1940
Julian B. Carter
Duke University Press, 2007
In this groundbreaking study, Julian Carter demonstrates that between 1880 and 1940, cultural discourses of whiteness and heterosexuality fused to form a new concept of the “normal” American. Gilded Age elites defined white civilization as the triumphant achievement of exceptional people hewing to a relational ethic of strict self-discipline for the common good. During the early twentieth century, that racial and relational ideal was reconceived in more inclusive terms as “normality,” something toward which everyone should strive. The appearance of inclusiveness helped make “normality” appear consistent with the self-image of a racially diverse republic; nonetheless, “normality” was gauged largely in terms of adherence to erotic and emotional conventions that gained cultural significance through their association with arguments for the legitimacy of white political and social dominance. At the same time, the affectionate, reproductive heterosexuality of “normal” married couples became increasingly central to legitimate membership in the nation.

Carter builds her intricate argument from detailed readings of an array of popular texts, focusing on how sex education for children and marital advice for adults provided significant venues for the dissemination of the new ideal of normality. She concludes that because its overt concerns were love, marriage, and babies, normality discourse facilitated white evasiveness about racial inequality. The ostensible focus of “normality” on matters of sexuality provided a superficially race-neutral conceptual structure that whites could and did use to evade engagement with the unequal relations of power that continue to shape American life today.

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History's Erratics
Irish Catholic Dissidents and the Transformation of American Capitalism, 1870-1930
David M. Emmons
University of Illinois Press, 2024

As Ice Age glaciers left behind erratics, so the external forces of history tumbled the Irish into America. Existing both out of time and out of space, a diverse range of these Roman-Catholic immigrants saw their new country in a much different way than did the Protestants who settled and claimed it. These erratics chose backward looking tradition and independence over assimilation and embraced a quintessentially Irish form of subversiveness that arose from their culture, faith, and working-class outlook. David M. Emmons draws on decades of research and thought to plumb the mismatch of values between Protestant Americans hostile to Roman Catholicism and the Catholic Irish strangers among them. Joining ethnicity and faith to social class, Emmons explores the unique form of dissidence that arose when Catholic Irish workers and their sympathizers rejected the beliefs and symbols of American capitalism.

A vibrant and original tour de force, History’s Erratics explores the ancestral roots of Irish nonconformity and defiance in America.

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The Labor Question in America
Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age
Roseanne Currarino
University of Illinois Press, 2011
In The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age, Rosanne Currarino traces the struggle to define the nature of democratic life in an era of industrial strife. As Americans confronted the glaring disparity between democracy's promises of independence and prosperity and the grim realities of economic want and wage labor, they asked, "What should constitute full participation in American society? What standard of living should citizens expect and demand?" Currarino traces the diverse efforts to answer to these questions, from the fledgling trade union movement to contests over immigration, from economic theory to popular literature, from legal debates to social reform. The contradictory answers that emerged--one stressing economic participation in a consumer society, the other emphasizing property ownership and self-reliance--remain pressing today as contemporary scholars, journalists, and social critics grapple with the meaning of democracy in post-industrial America.
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Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth-Century United States
James Willard Hurst
University of Wisconsin Press, 1964

In these essays J. Willard Hurst shows the correlation between the conception of individual freedom and the application of law in the nineteenth-century United States—how individuals sought to use law to increase both their personal freedom and their opportunities for personal growth. These essays in jurisprudence and legal history are also a contribution to the study of social and intellectual history in the United States, to political science, and to economics as it concerns the role of public policy in our economy. The nonlawyer will find in them demonstration of how "technicalities" express deep issues of social values.

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The Letters of Henry Adams
Henry Adams
Harvard University Press, 1982

Henry Adams’s letters are one of the vital chronicles of the life of the mind in America. A perceptive analyst of people, events, and ideas, Adams recorded, with brilliance and wit, sixty years of enormous change at home and abroad.

Volume I shows him growing from a high-spirited but self-conscious 20-year-old to a self-assured man of the world. In Washington in the chaotic months before Lincoln’s inauguration, then in London during the war years and beyond, he serves as secretary to his statesman father and is privy to the inner workings of politics and diplomacy. English social life proves as absorbing as affairs of state.

Volume II takes him from his years as a crusading journalist in Grant’s Washington, through his marriage to Clover Hooper and his pioneer work as a history professor at Harvard and editor of the North American Review, to his settling in Washington as a professional historian. There he and his wife, described by Henry James as “one of the two most interesting women in America,” establish the first intellectual salon of the capital. This halcyon period comes to a catastrophic close with Clover’s suicide.

Volume III traces his gradual recovery from the shock of his wife’s death as he seeks distraction in travel—to Japan, to Cuba, and in 1891–92 to the South Seas—a recovery complicated by his falling dangerously in love with Elizabeth Cameron, beautiful young wife of a leading senator. His South Seas letters to Mrs. Cameron are the most brilliant of all.

Fewer than half of Adams’s letters have been published even in part, and earlier collections have been marred by expurgations, mistranscriptions, and editorial deletions. In the six volumes of this definitive edition, readers will have access to a major document of the American past.

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Liberty, Equality, and Justice
Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and the Regulation of Business, 1865–1932
Ross Evans Paulson
Duke University Press, 1997
Liberty, equality, and justice have long been treasured in American culture as core values. In Liberty, Equality, and Justice, Ross Evans Paulson studies social and intellectual changes in a critical period of American history—from the end of the Civil War to the early days of the Depression—and argues that attempts to achieve civil rights, women’s rights, and the regulation of business faltered because so many Americans ranked liberty for themselves higher than equality with others and justice for all.
Surveying a crucial period in the formation of the modern state and society, Paulson examines the prevailing conflicts of the time and the limitations of various attempts to institute reform, radical change, or ritualistic renewal of American society. His reading of existing scholarship highlights contested social constructs, clashing priorities, changing meanings of key terms, and shifting institutional dynamics in light of their contributions to a complex tragedy in which all parties fell short of the demands for democratic mutuality. Along with discussions of the movements and manipulations of presidential, congressional, and judicial politics, he integrates the experiences of diverse populations—including African Americans, women, Asian immigrants, Native Americans, and working people—and offers a new interpretation of the ways in which social change and political events interact to reframe the many possibilities of American society.
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A Lydia Maria Child Reader
Carolyn L. Karcher, ed.
Duke University Press, 1997
From the 1820s to the 1870s, Lydia Maria Child was as familiar to the American public as her Thanksgiving song, "Over the river and through the wood, / To grandfather’s house we go," remains today. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. She crusaded against slavery and racism, combated religious bigotry, championed women’s rights, publicized the plight of the urban poor, and campaigned for justice toward Native Americans. Showing an uncanny ability to pinpoint and respond to new cultural needs, Child pioneered almost every category of nineteenth-century American letters—historical fiction, the short story, children’s literature, the domestic advice book, women’s history, antislavery fiction, journalism, and the literature of aging.
This rich collection is the first to represent the full range of Child’s contributions as a literary innovator, social reformer, and progressive thinker over a career spanning six decades. It features stories, editorials, articles, and letters to politicians culled from rare newspapers and periodicals and never before published in book form; extracts from her trailblazing childrearing manual, history of women, and primer for the emancipated slaves; and a generous sampling of her best-known writings on slavery, the Indian question, poverty, and women’s rights. Witty, incisive, and often daringly unconventional, Child’s writings open a panoramic window on nineteenth-century American culture while addressing issues still relevant to our own time. In this anthology, the editor of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl reemerges in her own right as one of the nation’s greatest prophets.
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Mencken’s America
H. L. Mencken
S. T. Joshi
Ohio University Press, 2004

Long famous as a political, social, and cultural gadfly, journalist and essayist H. L. Mencken was unafraid to speak his mind on controversial topics and to express his views in a deliberately provocative manner.

Mencken was prolific; much of his best work lies buried in the newspapers and magazines in which it originally appeared. Mencken’s America is a sampling of this uncollected work, arranged to present the wide-ranging treatise on American culture that Mencken himself never wrote.

The core of the book is a series of six articles on “The American” published in the Smart Set in 1913-14. Never before reprinted, they embody the essence of Mencken’s views on the deficiencies of his countrymen.

What was the problem with America? For Mencken, it could be summed up in one word: Puritanism. Puritanism accounted for much that was wrong with American culture: the prevalence of “militant morality” represented by Prohibition, by campaigns against prostitution, and by religious fundamentalism. American hostility toward the fine arts led to furious attempts to suppress any work of art that was thought to contravene conventional morality-attempts that Mencken chronicles with impressive scholarship in the essay “Puritanism as a Literary Force.”

Mencken reserved his greatest scorn for American political institutions. Opposed to the very principle of democracy and universal suffrage, he maintained that, in the absence of an educated electorate, all politicians are compelled to become demagogues.

Bracing, infuriating, and pungent, H. L. Mencken’s writings retain their relevance even after the passage of nearly a hundred years, cogently discussing issues with which Americans of the twenty-first century are still wrestling. Sagaciously edited by S. T. Joshi, one of the country’s foremost Mencken scholars, Mencken’s America is a superb example of America’s turning the looking glass on itself.

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Mickey’s Harvest
A Novel of a Deaf Boy’s Checkered Life
Howard L. Terry
Gallaudet University Press, 2015
Howard L. Terry wrote a novel between 1917 and 1922, which he donated to the Gallaudet University Archives in 1951. There it rested until a resurgence of interest in Deaf literature led to its recent rediscovery. Mickey’s Harvest: A Novel of a Deaf Boy’s Checkered Life recounts the rollicking tale of a young deaf man and how he learned to survive and thrive at the advent of the 20th century.

       Mickey Dunmore’s story begins with the sinking of his father’s merchant sailing ship and ends with a cliffhanger in World War I. In school, after an illness caused his deafness, Mickey finds himself constantly fighting the hearing boys and later competing with the signing students when he attends a residential school for deaf students. In college, he and his best friend Dick Wagner leave early to travel the nation with the hobos, carnies, and grifters. In one town, they outfox a barker who was using a deaf girl to “read” the minds of their marks. Further on, they meet Bunny, the Mighty Mite deaf man who helps expose a hearing woman posing as deaf to scam sympathetic people. Mickey faces his greatest challenge when he falls in love with Marion Carrel, a deaf girl whose hearing father forbids their romance on eugenics grounds.

       Terry, who became deaf at the age of 11, states from the outset that he means for his novel to reveal the biases confronting  deaf people at the time. As a tonic, he populates Mickey’s Harvest with artistic, talented deaf individuals who engage readers in an earlier, colorful time as they “show their stuff.”
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The Muckrakers
Edited by Arthur Weinberg and Lila Weinberg
University of Illinois Press, 1964
As the twentieth century opened, Americans were jolted out of their laissez-faire complacency by detailed exposures, in journalism and fiction, of the corruption underlying the country's greatest institutions. This rude awakening was the work of the muckrakers, as Theodore Roosevelt christened these press agents for reform.
 
From 1902, when it latched onto such mass circulation magazines as Collier's and McClure's, until it merged into the Progressive movement in 1912, muckraking relentlessly pricked the nation's social conscience by exposing the abuses of industry and politics. Ranging in tone from the scholarly to the sensational, muckraking articles attacked food adulteration, unscrupulous insurance practices, fraudulent claims for patent medicines, and links between government and vice. When muckrakers raised their voices against child labor, graft, monopoly, unsafe mill conditions, and the white slave trade of poor immigrant girls, they found a receptive audience. "I aimed at the public's heart," wrote Upton Sinclair about The Jungle, "and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
 
Gathering the most significant pieces published during the heyday of the muckraking movement, The Muckrakers brings vividly to life this unique era of exposure and self-examination. For each article, Arthur and Lila Weinberg provide concise commentary on the background of its subject and the specific and long-range repercussions of its publication. The volume features the work of both journalists and fiction writers, including Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, Ray Stannard Baker, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Thomas W. Lawson, Charles Edward Russell, and Mark Sullivan.
 
Eloquent and uncompromising, the muckrakers shocked America from a state of lethargy into Progressive reform. This generous volume vividly captures the urgency of their quest.
 
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Muscular Christianity
Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880-1920
Clifford Putney
Harvard University Press, 2001
Dissatisfied with a Victorian culture focused on domesticity and threatened by physical decline in sedentary office jobs, American men in the late nineteenth century sought masculine company in fraternal lodges and engaged in exercise to invigorate their bodies. One form of this new manly culture, developed out of the Protestant churches, was known as muscular Christianity. In this fascinating study, Clifford Putney details how Protestant leaders promoted competitive sports and physical education to create an ideal of Christian manliness.
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Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926
Steven Conn
University of Chicago Press, 1998
During the last half of the nineteenth century, many of the country's most celebrated museums were built. In this original and daring study, Steven Conn argues that Americans, endowed with the belief that knowledge resided in objects themselves, built these institutions with the confidence that they could collect, organize, and display the sum of the world's knowledge. Conn discovers how museums gave definition to different bodies of knowledge and how these various museums helped to shape America's intellectual history.

"Conn is an enthusiastic advocate for his subject, an appealing thinker, an imaginative researcher, a scholar at ease with theory and with empirical evidence." —Ann Fabian, Reviews in American History

"Steven Conn's masterly study of late-nineteenth century American museums transports the reader to a strange and wonderful intellectual universe. . . . At the end of the day, Conn reminds us, objects still have the power to fascinate, attract, evoke, and, in the right context, explain." —Christopher Clarke-Hazlett, Journal of American History
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My Father's Name
A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War
Lawrence P. Jackson
University of Chicago Press, 2012
Armed with only early boyhood memories, Lawrence P. Jackson begins his quest by setting out from his home in Baltimore for Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to try to find his late grandfather’s old home by the railroad tracks in Blairs. My Father’s Name tells the tale of the ensuing journey, at once a detective story and a moving historical memoir, uncovering the mixture of anguish and fulfillment that accompanies a venture into the ancestral past, specifically one tied to the history of slavery.
After asking around in Pittsylvania County and carefully putting the pieces together, Jackson finds himself in the house of distant relations. In the pages that follow, he becomes increasingly absorbed by the search for his ancestors and increasingly aware of how few generations an African American needs to map back in order to arrive at slavery, “a door of no return.” Ultimately, Jackson’s dogged research in libraries, census records, and courthouse registries enables him to trace his family to his grandfather’s grandfather, a man who was born or sold into slavery but who, when Federal troops abandoned the South in 1877, was able to buy forty acres of land. In this intimate study of a black Virginia family and neighborhood, Jackson vividly reconstructs moments in the lives of his father’s grandfather, Edward Jackson, and great-grandfather, Granville Hundley, and gives life to revealing narratives of Pittsylvania County, recalling both the horror of slavery and the later struggles of postbellum freedom.
My Father’s Name is a family story full of twists and turns—and one of haunting familiarity to many Americans, who may question whether the promises of emancipation have ever truly been fulfilled. It is also a resolute look at the duties that come with reclaiming and honoring Americans who survived slavery and a thoughtful meditation on its painful and enduring history.
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Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915
Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington
August Meier
University of Michigan Press, 1963
An analysis of the ideas of Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, and other black leaders from the turn of the century
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No Place of Grace
Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920
T. J. Jackson Lears
University of Chicago Press, 2021
A new edition of a classic work of American history that eloquently examines the rise of antimodernism at the turn of the twentieth century.
 
First published in 1981, T. J. Jackson Lears’s No Place of Grace is a landmark book in American studies and American history, acclaimed for both its rigorous research and the deft fluidity of its prose. A study of responses to the emergent culture of corporate capitalism at the turn of the twentieth century, No Place of Grace charts the development of contemporary consumer society through the embrace of antimodernism—the effort among middle- and upper-class Americans to recapture feelings of authentic experience. Rather than offer true resistance to the increasingly corporatized bureaucracy of the time, however, antimodernism helped accommodate Americans to the new order—it was therapeutic rather than oppositional, a striking forerunner to today’s self-help culture. And yet antimodernism contributed a new dynamic as well, “an eloquent edge of protest,” as Lears puts it, which is evident even today in anticonsumerism, sustainable living, and other practices. This new edition, with a lively and discerning foreword by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, celebrates the fortieth anniversary of this singular work of history.
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No Place of Grace
Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880–1920
T. J. Jackson Lears
University of Chicago Press, 1994
T. J. Jackson Lears draws on a wealth of primary sources — sermons, diaries, letters — as well as novels, poems, and essays to explore the origins of turn-of-the-century American antimodernism. He examines the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual experiences, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency through the Arts and Crafts movement. Lears argues that their antimodern impulse, more pervasive than historians have supposed, was not "simple escapism," but reveals some enduring and recurring tensions in American culture.

"It's an understatement to call No Place of Grace a brilliant book. . . . It's the first clear sign I've seen that my generation, after marching through the '60s and jogging through the '70s might be pausing to examine what we've learned, and to teach it."—Walter Kendrick, Village Voice

"One can justly make the claim that No Place of Grace restores and reinterprets a crucial part of American history. Lears's method is impeccable."—Ann Douglas, The Nation
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An Old Creed for the New South
Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865-1918
John David Smith, With a New Preface by the Author
Southern Illinois University Press, 1985

An Old Creed for the New South:Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 details the slavery debate from the Civil War through World War I. Award-winning historian John David Smith argues that African American slavery remained a salient metaphor for how Americans interpreted contemporary race relations decades after the Civil War.

Smith draws extensively on postwar articles, books, diaries, manuscripts, newspapers, and speeches to counter the belief that debates over slavery ended with emancipation. After the Civil War, Americans in both the North and the South continued to debate slavery’s merits as a labor, legal, and educational system and as a mode of racial control. The study details how white Southerners continued to tout slavery as beneficial for both races long after Confederate defeat. During Reconstruction and after Redemption, Southerners continued to refine proslavery ideas while subjecting blacks to new legal, extralegal, and social controls.

An Old Creed for the New South links pre– and post–Civil War racial thought, showing historical continuity, and treats the Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws in new ways, connecting these important racial and legal themes to intellectual and social history. Although many blacks and some whites denounced slavery as the source of the contemporary “Negro problem,” most whites, including late nineteenth-century historians, championed a “new” proslavery argument. The study also traces how historian Ulrich B. Phillips and Progressive Era scholars looked at slavery as a golden age of American race relations and shows how a broad range of African Americans, including Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, responded to the proslavery argument. Such ideas, Smith posits, provided a powerful racial creed for the New South.

This examination of black slavery in the American public mind—which includes the arguments of former slaves, slaveholders, Freedmen's Bureau agents, novelists, and essayists—demonstrates that proslavery ideology dominated racial thought among white southerners, and most white northerners, in the five decades following the Civil War.

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Physics Demonstrations
A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics
Julien Clinton Sprott
University of Wisconsin Press, 2015
Wow! How? Few techniques are as effective at generating interest in science as dramatic demonstrations. This fully illustrated sourcebook describes eighty-five physics demonstrations suitable for performance both inside and outside classrooms. These demonstrations will fascinate and amaze while teaching the wonders and practical science of physics. Videos for the demonstrations are online at http://physicsdemonstrationsvideos.com/.
            Dr. Sprott shares demonstrations tested over many years in his popular public lectures on “The Wonders of Physics,” which appeal to general audiences and to students from grade school to graduate school. Science teachers at all levels will find a wealth of detail showing how to present these demonstrations to students with flair. Science professionals will find indispensable information for creating educational and entertaining public programs. Organized to teach the six major areas of classical physics—motion, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, and light—Physics Demonstrations includes:
• a brief description of each demonstration
• materials lists, with sources for common materials
• preparation procedures
• discussions of the physics principles demonstrated
• potential safety hazards
• references for further information.
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Plain Folk
The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans
Edited by David M. Katzman and William M. Tuttle, Jr.
University of Illinois Press, 1982
Plain Folk depicts both the ordinary occupations and ethnic and racial diversity of America at the turn of the century. Katzman and Tuttle have drawn upon 75 brief autobiographies or "lifelets" of working-class Americans published between 1902 and 1906 in The Independent magazine. Among the seventeen life stories included here are those of a Lithuanian stockyards worker in Chicago, a Polish sweatshop girl and a Chinese merchant in New York City, a black peon in rural Georgia, and a Swedish farmer in Minnesota. Together they provide an unmediated and seldom-seen view of American life during this period.
 
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Producing Good Citizens
Literacy Training in Anxious Times
Amy J. Wan
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014
Recent global security threats, economic instability, and political uncertainty have placed great scrutiny on the requirements for U.S. citizenship. The stipulation of literacy has long been one of these criteria. In Producing Good Citizens, Amy J. Wan examines the historic roots of this phenomenon, looking specifically to the period just before World War I, up until the Great Depression. During this time, the United States witnessed a similar anxiety over the influx of immigrants, economic uncertainty, and global political tensions.

Early on, educators bore the brunt of literacy training, while also being charged with producing the right kind of citizens by imparting civic responsibility and a moral code for the workplace and society. Literacy quickly became the credential to gain legal, economic, and cultural status. In her study, Wan defines three distinct pedagogical spaces for literacy training during the 1910s and 1920s: Americanization and citizenship programs sponsored by the federal government, union-sponsored programs, and first year university writing programs. Wan also demonstrates how each literacy program had its own motivation: the federal government desired productive citizens, unions needed educated members to fight for labor reform, and university educators looked to aid social mobility.

Citing numerous literacy theorists, Wan analyzes the correlation of reading and writing skills to larger currents within American society. She shows how early literacy training coincided with the demand for laborers during the rise of mass manufacturing, while also providing an avenue to economic opportunity for immigrants. This fostered a rhetorical link between citizenship, productivity, and patriotism. Wan supplements her analysis with an examination of citizen training books, labor newspapers, factory manuals, policy documents, public deliberations on citizenship and literacy, and other materials from the period to reveal the goal and rationale behind each program.

Wan relates the enduring bond of literacy and citizenship to current times, by demonstrating the use of literacy to mitigate economic inequality, and its lasting value to a productivity-based society. Today, as in the past, educators continue to serve as an integral part of the literacy training and citizen-making process.
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Remembrance of Things Present
The Invention of the Time Capsule
Nick Yablon
University of Chicago Press, 2019
Time capsules offer unexpected insights into how people view their own time, place, and culture, as well as their duties to future generations. Remembrance of Things Present traces the birth of this device to the Gilded Age, when growing urban volatility prompted doubts about how the period would be remembered—or if it would be remembered at all. Yablon details how diverse Americans – from presidents and mayors to advocates for the rights of women, blacks, and workers – constructed prospective memories of their present. They did so by contributing not just written testimony to time capsules but also sources that historians and archivists considered illegitimate, such as photographs, phonograph records, films, and everyday artifacts.

By offering a direct line to posterity, time capsules stimulated various hopes for the future. Remembrance of Things Present delves into these treasure chests to unearth those forgotten futures.
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The Republic of Color
Science, Perception, and the Making of Modern America
Michael Rossi
University of Chicago Press, 2019
The Republic of Color delves deep into the history of color science in the United States to unearth its origins and examine the scope of its influence on the industrial transformation of turn-of-the-century America.
 
For a nation in the grip of profound economic, cultural, and demographic crises, the standardization of color became a means of social reform—a way of sculpting the American population into one more amenable to the needs of the emerging industrial order. Delineating color was also a way to characterize the vagaries of human nature, and to create ideal structures through which those humans would act in a newly modern American republic. Michael Rossi’s compelling history goes far beyond the culture of the visual to show readers how the control and regulation of color shaped the social contours of modern America—and redefined the way we see the world.
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The Response to Industrialism, 1885-1914
Samuel P. Hays
University of Chicago Press, 1995
In this new edition, Samuel P. Hays expands the scope of his pioneering account of the ways in which Americans reacted to industrialism during its early years from 1885 to 1914. Hays now deepens his coverage of cultural transformations in a study well known for its concise treatment of political and economic movements.

Hays draws on the vast knowledge of America's urban and social history that has been developed over the last thirty-eight years to make the second edition an unusually well-rounded study. He enhances the original coverage of politics, labor, and business with new accounts of the growth of cities, the rise of modern values, cultural conflicts with Native Americans and foreign nations, and changing roles for women, African-Americans, education, religion, medicine, law, and leisure. The result is a tightly woven portrait of America in transition that underscores the effects of impersonal market forces and greater personal freedom on individuals and chronicles such changes as the rise of social inequality, shifting power, in the legal system, the expansion of the federal government, and the formation of the Populist, Progressive, and Socialist parties.
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Revivalism and Cultural Change
Christianity, Nation Building, and the Market in the Nineteenth-Century United States
George M. Thomas
University of Chicago Press, 1989
The history of Christianity in America has been marked by recurring periods of religious revivals or awakenings. In this book, George M. Thomas addresses the economic and political context of evangelical revivalism and its historical linkages with economic expansion and Republicanism in the nineteenth century. Thomas argues that large-scale change results in social movements that articulate new organizations and definitions of individual, society, authority, and cosmos. Drawing on religious newspapers, party policies and agendas, and quantitative analyses of voting patterns and census data, he claims that revivalism in this period framed the rules and identities of the expanding market economy and the national policy.

"Subtle and complex. . . . Fascinating."—Randolph Roth, Pennsylvania History

"[Revivalism and Cultural Change] should be read with interest by those interested in religious movements as well as the connections among religion, economics, and politics."—Charles L. Harper, Contemporary Sociology

"Readers old and new stand to gain much from Thomas's sophisticated study of the macrosociology of religion in the United States during the nineteenth century. . . . He has given the sociology of religion its best quantitative study of revivalism since the close of the 1970s."—Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
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RISE OF CITY 1878 1898
ARTHUR MEIER SCHLESINGER
The Ohio State University Press, 1999

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The Saloon
Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920
Perry R. Duis
University of Illinois Press, 1983
This colorful and perceptive study presents persuasive evidence that the saloon, far from being a magnet for vice and crime, played an important role in working-class community life. Focusing on public drinking in "wide open" Chicago and tightly controlled Boston, Duis offers a provocative discussion of the saloon as a social institution and a locus of the struggle between middle-class notions of privacy and working-class uses of public space.
 
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A Socialist Utopia in the New South
The Ruskin Colonies in Tennessee and Georgia, 1894-1901
W. Fitzhugh Brundage
University of Illinois Press, 1996
"A definitive account of the Ruskin colonies and of their place in the larger social radical strivings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Well written and solidly researched, it gives us an understanding of an important quest for heaven on earth." -- Edward K. Spann, author of Brotherly Tomorrows: Movements for a Cooperative Society in America,1820-1920

This first book-length study of the Ruskin colonies shows how several hundred utopian socialists gathered as a cooperative community in Tennessee and Georgia in the late nineteenth century. The communitarians' noble but fatally flawed act of social endeavor revealed the courage and desperation they felt as they searched for alternatives to the chaotic and competitive individualism of the age of robber barons and for a viable model for a just and humane society at a time of profound uncertainty about public life in the United States.
 
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Taylored Lives
Narrative Productions in the Age of Taylor, Veblen, and Ford
Martha Banta
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Scientific management: technology spawned it, Frederick Winslow Taylor championed it, Thorstein Veblen dissected it, Henry Ford implemented it. By the turn of the century, practical visionaries prided themselves on having arrived at "the one best way" both to increase industrial productivity and to regulate human behavior. Martha Banta takes a close look at texts ranging from mail order catalogs and popular romances to the works of Henry Adams and Nathanael West to trace the effects of the efficiency craze on the full fabric of American culture.
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These Days of Large Things
The Culture of Size in America, 1865-1930
Michael Tavel Clarke
University of Michigan Press, 2009

The United States at the turn of the twentieth century cultivated a passion for big. It witnessed the emergence of large-scale corporate capitalism; the beginnings of American imperialism on a global stage; record-level immigration; a rapid expansion of cities; and colossal events and structures like world's fairs, amusement parks, department stores, and skyscrapers. Size began to play a key role in American identity. During this period, bigness signaled American progress.

These Days of Large Things explores the centrality of size to American culture and national identity and the preoccupation with physical stature that pervaded American thought. Clarke examines the role that body size played in racial theory and the ways in which economic changes in the nation generated conflicting attitudes toward growth and bigness. Finally, Clarke investigates the relationship between stature and gender.

These Days of Large Things brings together a remarkable range of cultural material including scientific studies, photographs, novels, cartoons, architecture, and film. As a general cultural and intellectual history of the period, this work will be of interest to students and scholars in American studies, U.S. history, American literature, and gender studies.

Michael Tavel Clarke is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary.

Cover photograph: "New York from Its Pinnacles," Alvin Langdon Coburn (1912). Courtesy of the George Eastman House.

"A fascinating study of the American preoccupation with physical size, this book charts new paths in the history of science, culture, and the body. A must-read for anyone puzzling over why Americans today love hulking SUVs, Mcmansions, and outsized masculine bodies."
---Lois Banner, University of Southern California

"From the Gilded Age through the Twenties, Clarke shows a nation-state obsessed with sheer size, ranging from the mammoth labor union to the 'Giant Incorporated Body' of the monopoly trust. These Days of Large Things links the towering Gibson Girl with the skyscraper, the pediatric regimen with stereotypes of the Jew. Spanning anthropology, medicine, architecture, business, and labor history, Clarke provides the full anatomy of imperial America and offers a model of cultural studies at its very best."
---Cecelia Tichi, Vanderbilt University

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Up from Bondage
The Literatures of Russian and African American Soul
Dale E. Peterson
Duke University Press, 2000
During the nineteenth century, literate Russians and educated American blacks encountered a dominant Western narrative of world civilization that seemed to ignore the histories of Slavs and African Americans. In response, generations of Russian and black American intellectuals have asserted eloquent counterclaims for the cultural significance of a collective national “soul” veiled from prejudiced Western eyes. Up from Bondage is the first study to parallel the evolution of Russian and African American cultural nationalism in literary works and philosophical writings.
Illuminating a remarkably widespread cross-pollination between the two cultural and intellectual traditions, Dale E. Peterson frames much of his argument around W. E. B. DuBois’s concept of “double-consciousness,” wherein members of an oppressed section of society view themselves simultaneously through their own self-awareness and through the internalized standards of the dominant culture. He shows how the writings of Dostoevsky, Hurston, Chesnutt, Turgenev, Ellison, Wright, Gorky, and Naylor—texts that enacted and described this sense of double awareness—were used both to perform and to contest the established genres of Western literacy. Woven through Peterson’s textual analyses is his consideration of cultural hybridism and its effects: The writers he examines find multiple ways to testify to and challenge the symptoms of postcolonial trauma. After discussing the strong and significant affinity expressed by contemporary African American cultural theorists for the dialogic thought of Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin, Peterson argues that a fuller appreciation of the historic connection between the two cultures will enrich the complicated meanings of being black or Russian in a world that has traditionally avoided acknowledging pluralistic standards of civilization and cultural excellence.
This investigation of comparable moments in the development of Russian and African American ethnic self-consciousness will be valuable to students and scholars of comparative literature, philosophy, cultural theory, ethnicity, linguistics, and postcolonialism, in addition to Slavic and African American studies.
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