This text chronicles the history of vacationing in America since the early 19th century. It is concerned with how, when, and why vacationing came to be part of life, charting this social and cultural institution as it grew from the custom of a small elite in to a mass phenomenon.
The late nineteenth century was a golden age for European travel in the United States. For prosperous Europeans, a journey to America was a fresh alternative to the more familiar ‘Grand Tour’ of their own continent, promising encounters with a vast, wild landscape, and with people whose culture was similar enough to their own to be intelligible, yet different enough to be interesting. Their observations of America and its inhabitants provide a striking lens on this era of American history, and a fascinating glimpse into how the people of the past perceived one another. In Unspeakable Awfulness, Kenneth D. Rose gathers together a broad selection of the observations made by European travel...
This fascinating account of the regional travel accident motif within American local color literature offers a reassessment of the cultural work done by authors writing during the Gilded Age. Stephanie C. Palmer shows how events like broken carriage wheels and missed trains were used by local color authors to bring together bourgeois and lower-class characters, thus giving readers the opportunity to see modernity coming into contact with both rural and urban life. Using the works of Sarah Orne Jewett, Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and others, Palmer traces the use of the regional travel accident motif and how local color writers employed it to give critiques on class, society, and modern life. Exploring the themes of regional identity, modernity, and interpersonal relationships, Together by Accident offers an intriguing evaluation of the innovations and inconveniences associated with life during the industrializing Gilded Age in America.
Tracing the evolution of the library as a modern institution from the late eighteenth century to the digital era, this book explores the diverse practices by which Americans have shared reading matter for instruction, edification, and pleasure. Writing from a rich variety of perspectives, the contributors raise important questions about the material forms and social shapes of American culture. Institutions of Reading offers at once a social history of literacy and leisure, an intellectual history of institutional and technological innovations that facilitated the mass distribution and consumption of printed books and periodicals, and a cultural history of the symbolic meanings and practical uses of reading in American life. Baenen, James Green, Elizabeth McHenry, Barbara Mitchell, Christine Pawley, Janice Radway, James Raven, Karin Roffman, and Roy Rosenzweig.
The Apostle Islands are a solitary place of natural beauty, with red sandstone cliffs, secluded beaches, and a rich and unique forest surrounded by the cold, blue waters of Lake Superior. But this seemingly pristine wilderness has been shaped and reshaped by humans. The people who lived and worked in the Apostles built homes, cleared fields, and cut timber in the island forests. The consequences of human choices made more than a century ago can still be read in today�s wild landscapes. A Storied Wilderness traces the complex history of human interaction with the Apostle Islands. In the 1930s, resource extraction made it seem like the islands� natural beauty had been lost forever. But as ...
Drawing from workers' applications, testimonies, and other primary documents, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service recreates the white-collar world of middle-class workers from the Civil War to 1900. It reveals how men who worked in federal agencies moved from being self-employed to salaried workers, in the process placing at risk the independence that lay at the core of middle-class male values; while women assumed the kind of independence that threatened their positions as delicate, middle-class ladies deserving the protection and care of men. Introducing a cast of characters who worked as federal clerks in Washington, Arons examines the nature of being a civil servant--from the hiring, firing, and promotion procedures, the motivations for joining the federal workforce, and the impact of feminization on the workplace to the interpersonal aspects of office life such as attitude towards sex, manners, and money-lending--and provides an imaginative look at what it meant to be among the ladies and gentlemen who formed part of the first white-collar bureaucracy in the United States.
What southerners do, where they go, and what they expect to accomplish in their spare time, their "leisure," reveals much about their cultural values, class and racial similarities and differences, and historical perspectives. This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture offers an authoritative and readable reference to the culture of sports and recreation in the American South, surveying the various activities in which southerners engage in their nonwork hours, as well as attitudes surrounding those activities. Seventy-four thematic essays explore activities from the familiar (porch sitting and fairs) to the essential (football and stock car racing) to the unusual (pool checkers and a sport called "fireballing"). In seventy-seven topical entries, contributors profile major sites associated with recreational activities (such as Dollywood, drive-ins, and the Appalachian Trail) and prominent sports figures (including Althea Gibson, Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, and Hank Aaron). Taken together, the entries provide an engaging look at the ways southerners relax, pass time, celebrate, let loose, and have fun.
Each summer between 1790 and 1860, hundreds and eventually thousands of southern men and women left the diseases and boredom of their plantation homes and journeyed to the healthful and entertaining Virginia Springs. At the springs, visitors, as well as their slaves, interacted with one another and engaged in behavior quite different from the picture presented by most historians. In this book, Charlene Boyer Lewis argues that the Virginia Springs provided a theater of sorts, where contests for power between men and women, fashionables and evangelicals, blacks and whites, old and young, and even northerners and southerners played out away from the traditional roles of the plantation. In their pursuit of health and pleasure, white southerners created a truly regional community at the springs. At this edge of the South, elite southern society shaped itself, defining what it meant to be a "Southerner" and redefining social roles and relations.