In this Book

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summary
Scores of birthplace monuments and historic childhood homes dot the American landscape. These special places, many dating to the early years of the last century, have enshrined nativity alongside patriotism and valor among the key pillars of the nation’s popular historical imagination. The essays in this volume suggest that the way Americans have celebrated famous births reflects evolving expectations of citizenship as well as a willingness to edit the past when those hopes go unfulfilled. The contributors also demonstrate that the reinvention of origin myths at birthplace monuments still factors in American political culture and the search for meaning in an ever-shifting global order. Beyond asking why it is that Americans care about birthplaces and how they choose which ones to commemorate, Born in the U.S.A. offers insights from historians, curators, interpretive specialists, and others whose experience speaks directly to the challenges of managing historical sites. Each essay points to new ways of telling old stories at these mainstays of American memory. The case of the modern house museum receives special attention in a provocative concluding essay by Patricia West. In addition to West and the editor, contributors include Christine Arato, Dan Currie, Keith A. Erekson, David Glassberg, Anna Thompson Hajdik, Zachary J. Lechner, Paul Lewis, Hilary Iris Lowe, Cynthia Miller, Laura Lawfer Orr, Robert Paynter, Angela Phelps, and Paul Reber.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction: Locating the Birthplace in American Public Memory
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 1. Remembering John Muir, the Trans-Atlantic “Father” of Wilderness Conservation
  2. pp. 27-48
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  1. 2. This House Holds Many Memories: Constructions of a Presidential Birthplace at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
  2. pp. 49-72
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  1. 3. Commemorating Jimmy Carter and Southern Rural Life in Plains, Georgia
  2. pp. 73-94
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  1. 4. Authenticity and Interpretation at Mark Twain’s Birthplace Cabins
  2. pp. 95-112
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  1. 5. Stratford Hall: A Memorial to Robert E. Lee?
  2. pp. 113-130
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  1. 6. Memories, Monuments, and Mormonism: The Birthplace of Joseph Smith in Vermont
  2. pp. 131-152
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  1. 7. Rosine, Kentucky: Birthplace of Bill Monroe and American Bluegrass Music
  2. pp. 153-174
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  1. 8. “Right Here in Mason City”: Meredith Willson and Musical Memory in the American Midwest
  2. pp. 175-196
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  1. 9. Paulsdale: Adapting Alice Paul’s Birthplace for a New Generation of Leaders
  2. pp. 197-216
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  1. 10. The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston
  2. pp. 217-240
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  1. 11. Du Bois in Great Barrington: The Promises and Pitfalls of a Boyhood Historic Site
  2. pp. 241-258
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  1. Conclusion: Of Babies and Bathwater—Birthplace “Shrines” and the Future of the Historic House Museum
  2. pp. 259-266
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  1. About the Contributors
  2. pp. 267-270
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 271-283
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781613762097
Print ISBN
9781558499379
MARC Record
OCLC
830023559
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2012-11-02
Language
English
Open Access
N
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