The antebellum era and the close of the 19th century frame a period of great agricultural expansion. During this time, farmhouse plans designed by rural men and women regularly appeared in the flourishing Northern farm journals. This book analyzes these vital indicators of the work patterns, social interactions, and cultural values of the farm families of the time. Examining several hundred owner-designed plans, McMurry shows the ingenious ways in which "progressive" rural Americans designed farmhouses in keeping with their visions of a dynamic, reformed rural culture. From designs for efficient work spaces to a concern for self-contained rooms for adolescent children, this fascinating story of the evolution of progressive farmers' homes sheds new light on rural America's efforts to adapt to major changes brought by industrialization, urbanization, the consolidation of capitalist agriculture, and the rise of the consumer society.
Explores how the educational, social, and economic expectations of the nineteenth century affected the American view of family, describing the roles of the father, mother, children, and servants and slaves and discussing how these roles changed during the Civil War.
How Consumer Culture Took Root in the Rural Midwest
Author: David Blanke
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Category: Business & Economics
From 1840 to 1900, midwestern Americans experienced firsthand the profound economic, cultural, and structural changes that transformed the nation from a premodern, agrarian state to one that was urban, industrial, and economically interdependent. Midwestern commercial farmers found themselves at the heart of these changes. Their actions and reactions led to the formation of a distinctive and particularly democratic consumer ethos, which is still being played out today. By focusing on the consumer behavior of midwestern farmers, Sowing the American Dream provides illustrative examples of how Americans came to terms with the economic and ideological changes that swirled around them. From the formation of the Grange to the advent of mail-order catalogs, the buying patterns of rural midwesterners set the stage for the coming century. Carefully documenting the rise and fall of the powerful purchasing cooperatives, David Blanke explains the shifting trends in collective consumerism, which ultimately resulted in a significant change in the way that midwestern consumers pursued their own regional identity, community, and independence.
Author: Andrew R. L. Cayton,Richard Sisson,Chris Zacher
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Category: Social Science
This first-ever encyclopedia of the Midwest seeks to embrace this large and diverse area, to give it voice, and help define its distinctive character. Organized by topic, it encourages readers to reflect upon the region as a whole. Each section moves from the general to the specific, covering broad themes in longer introductory essays, filling in the details in the shorter entries that follow. There are portraits of each of the region's twelve states, followed by entries on society and culture, community and social life, economy and technology, and public life. The book offers a wealth of information about the region's surprising ethnic diversity -- a vast array of foods, languages, styles, religions, and customs -- plus well-informed essays on the region's history, culture and values, and conflicts. A site of ideas and innovations, reforms and revivals, and social and physical extremes, the Midwest emerges as a place of great complexity, signal importance, and continual fascination.
22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers
Author: Anna Lewis
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
“What caused a few women to counter the trends and choose these professions? What difficulties did they face in fields so new to them? And did the influences that marked their early histories reveal themselves in their work and careers? Anna Lewis’s book raises these questions, central for young people considering the future.” —Denise Scott Brown, cofounder of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates Women of Steel and Stone tells the stories of 22 determined women who helped build the world we live in. Thoroughly researched and engaging profiles describe these builders’ and designers’ strengths, passions, and interests as they were growing up; where those traits took them; and what they achieved. Inspiring a new generation of girls who are increasingly encouraged to engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education and professions, the biographies stress work, perseverance, creativity, and overcoming challenges and obstacles. Set against the backdrop of landmark events such as the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, the industrial revolution, and more, the profiles offer not only important historical context but also a look at some of the celebrated architects and engineers working today. Sidebars on related topics, source notes, and a bibliography make this an invaluable resource for further study. Anna M. Lewis is an award-winning toy inventor and creativity advocate. Her company, Ideasplash, promotes child creativity through her writing, websites, and classes and presentations in schools. She has contributed to Appleseeds, Odyssey, and Toy Design Monthly and currently teaches for Young Rembrandts, an afterschool art program, as well as classes on cartooning, game design, arts and crafts, monster making, and painting.
This book explores changes in rural households of the Georgia Piedmont through the material culture of farmers as they transitioned from self-sufficiency to market dependence. The period between 1880 and 1910 was a time of dynamic change when Southern farmers struggled to reinvent their lives and livelihoods. Relying on primary documents, including probate inventories, tax lists, state and federal census data, and estate sale results, this study seeks to understand the variables that prompted farm households to assume greater risk in hopes of success as well as those factors that stood in the way of progress. While there are few projects of this type for the late nineteenth century, and fewer still for the New South, the findings challenge the notion of farmers as overly conservative consumers and call into question traditional views of conspicuous consumption as a key indicator of wealth and status.
This visual celebration of the American farmhouse--past and present--offers a compendium of how-to advice for current and prospective farmhouse dwellers. More than 200 photos and drawings capture the essence of the rustic, charming farmhouse.
Vernacular Architecture in the Western United States
Author: Thomas Carter
In thirteen well-illustrated essays, this book tells the story of the building of the American West and of the edifices that are as much a part of the history of the region as the people who built them. Organised in sequence according to central themes in the history of the West, the collection begins with two essays that describe the cultural connections between East and West during the late nineteenth century. The next two essays place American building forms in their western context, emphasising the distinctive regional qualities of the buildings and the lifeways they represent. The third pair of essays highlights the fact that in settling the West, Americans had to brush aside existing populations, often with serious ramifications for the displaced. Other essays focus on various ethnic groups and women and the exploitation of resources as a significant facet of western architectural development -- and the effect of such exploitation on the western landscape.
Rural Life and Landscape in a Western Pennsylvania Community
Author: Sally Ann McMurry
Publisher: Penn State Press
Rural Pennsylvania's landscapes are evocative, richly textured testimonies to the lives and skills of generations of builders&—architects as well as local builders and craft workers. Farmhouses and barns, silos and fences, even field patterns attest to how residents over the years have had a sense of place that was not only functional but also comfortable and aesthetically appropriate for the time. From Sugar Camps to Star Barns tells the story of one such place, a landscape that evolved in southwestern Pennsylvania's Somerset County. Sally McMurry traces the rural life and landscape of Somerset County as it evolved from the earliest settlement days. Eighteenth-century residents were a forest people, living on sparsely built farmsteads and making free use of the heavily forested landscape. The makeshift sugar camp typified their hardscrabble lives. In the nineteenth century, the people of this area turned to farming. Prompted by the ''market revolution'' that had come to Somerset County, they pursued a highly varied agriculture, combining a subsistence base with robust production of commodities shipped to distant cities. Their landscape reflected this combination of the local and the cosmopolitan&—a combination that reached its full expression in the distinctive two-story banked farmhouse with double-decker porch, flanked by a substantial Pennsylvania barn. The twentieth century brought a more industrialized agriculture to Somerset County. But the shift to profit-and-loss farming also meant the accentuation of landscape elements specific to market products. The magnificent ''star barns'' of this era overshadowed the houses, and ancillary structures, such as ''peepy houses'' and silos, spoke to the pressures of efficiency and mass production. The subsequent rise of coal mining helped to stimulate this trend, both by supplying local markets and by creating an incentive for farmers to visually distinguish their landscapes from those of the coal-patch towns. Illustrated with over 100 photographs, maps, drawings, and diagrams, From Sugar Camps to Star Barns demonstrates how much we can learn about the economy and culture of a particular place simply by being attentive to the built landscape.
Homesickness today is dismissed as a sign of immaturity, what children feel at summer camp, but in the nineteenth century it was recognized as a powerful emotion. When gold miners in California heard the tune "Home, Sweet Home," they sobbed. When Civil War soldiers became homesick, army doctors sent them home, lest they die. Such images don't fit with our national mythology, which celebrates the restless individualism of colonists, explorers, pioneers, soldiers, and immigrants who supposedly left home and never looked back. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, medical records, and psychological studies, this wide-ranging book uncovers the profound pain felt by Americans on the move from the country's founding until the present day. Susan Matt shows how colonists in Jamestown longed for and often returned to England, African Americans during the Great Migration yearned for their Southern homes, and immigrants nursed memories of Sicily and Guadalajara and, even after years in America, frequently traveled home. These iconic symbols of the undaunted, forward-looking American spirit were often homesick, hesitant, and reluctant voyagers. National ideology and modern psychology obscure this truth, portraying movement as easy, but in fact Americans had to learn how to leave home, learn to be individualists. Even today, in a global society that prizes movement and that condemns homesickness as a childish emotion, colleges counsel young adults and their families on how to manage the transition away from home, suburbanites pine for their old neighborhoods, and companies take seriously the emotional toll borne by relocated executives and road warriors. In the age of helicopter parents and boomerang kids, and the new social networks that sustain connections across the miles, Americans continue to assert the significance of home ties. By highlighting how Americans reacted to moving farther and farther from their roots, Homesickness: An American History revises long-held assumptions about home, mobility, and our national identity.
Thomas A. Durkin,Gregory Elliehausen,Michael E. Staten,Todd J. Zywicki
Author: Thomas A. Durkin,Gregory Elliehausen,Michael E. Staten,Todd J. Zywicki
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Business & Economics
Consumer Credit and the American Economy examines the economics, behavioral science, sociology, history, institutions, law, and regulation of consumer credit in the United States. After discussing the origins and various kinds of consumer credit available in today's marketplace, this book reviews at some length the long run growth of consumer credit to explore the widely held belief that somehow consumer credit has risen "too fast for too long." It then turns to demand and supply with chapters discussing neoclassical theories of demand, new behavioral economics, and evidence on production costs and why consumer credit might seem expensive compared to some other kinds of credit like government finance. This discussion includes review of the economics of risk management and funding sources, as well discussion of the economic theory of why some people might be limited in their credit search, the phenomenon of credit rationing. This examination includes review of issues of risk management through mathematical methods of borrower screening known as credit scoring and financial market sources of funding for offerings of consumer credit. The book then discusses technological change in credit granting. It examines how modern automated information systems called credit reporting agencies, or more popularly "credit bureaus," reduce the costs of information acquisition and permit greater credit availability at less cost. This discussion is followed by examination of the logical offspring of technology, the ubiquitous credit card that permits consumers access to both payments and credit services worldwide virtually instantly. After a chapter on institutions that have arisen to supply credit to individuals for whom mainstream credit is often unavailable, including "payday loans" and other small dollar sources of loans, discussion turns to legal structure and the regulation of consumer credit. There are separate chapters on the theories behind the two main thrusts of federal regulation to this point, fairness for all and financial disclosure. Following these chapters, there is another on state regulation that has long focused on marketplace access and pricing. Before a final concluding chapter, another chapter focuses on two noncredit marketplace products that are closely related to credit. The first of them, debt protection including credit insurance and other forms of credit protection, is economically a complement. The second product, consumer leasing, is a substitute for credit use in many situations, especially involving acquisition of automobiles. This chapter is followed by a full review of consumer bankruptcy, what happens in the worst of cases when consumers find themselves unable to repay their loans. Because of the importance of consumer credit in consumers' financial affairs, the intended audience includes anyone interested in these issues, not only specialists who spend much of their time focused on them. For this reason, the authors have carefully avoided academic jargon and the mathematics that is the modern language of economics. It also examines the psychological, sociological, historical, and especially legal traditions that go into fully understanding what has led to the demand for consumer credit and to what the markets and institutions that provide these products have become today.
Highly readable . . . . interdisciplinary history of a high order. -- The Historian Well-written and superbly documented . . . . Both physicians and lawyers will find this book useful and fascinating. -- Journal of the American Medical Association This is the first book-length historical study of medical malpractice in 19th-century America and it is exceedingly well done . . . . The author reveals that, beginning in the 1840s, Americans began to initiate malpractice lawsuits against their physicians and surgeons. Among the reasons for this development were the decline in the belief in divine providence, increased competition between physicians and medical sects, and advances in medical science that led to unrealistically high expectations of the ability of physicians to cure . . . . This book is well written, often entertaining and witty, and is historically accurate, based on the best secondary, as well as primary sources from the time period. Highly recommended. -- Choice Adept at not only traditional historical research but also cultural studies, the author treats the reader to an intriguing discussion of how 19th-century Americans came truly to see their bodies differently . . . . a sophisticated new standard in the field of malpractice history. -- The Journal of the Early Republic By far the best compilation and analysis of early medical malpractice cases I have seen . . . . this excellently crafted study is bound to be of interest to a large number of readers. -- James C. Mohr, author of Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of a National Policy