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.
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.