Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: Aeriality and Midwesternness

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pp. vii-xxvi

Near the beginning of the 1950s, aviation giant Trans World Airlines (TWA) produced a full-page illustrated magazine advertisement to promote its expanding service. Designed to excite Americans about the possibilities for aerial travel, the ad combined complementary levels of image, cartography, and text (Figure I.1). In the upper half of the page appeared a close-up view of a silver-haired businessman eagerly peering out of the pressurized airplane cabin...

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1 Pioneering Visions: The Midwestern Grid, the Atlas, and an Aerial Imagination

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pp. 1-44

On October 15, 1874, the Anamosa (Iowa) Eureka printed an announcement from publisher Alfred T. Andreas in which he proposed to create a historical atlas of the state of Iowa, should public interest warrant his efforts. The advertisement, situated prominently within the pages of the small-town newspaper, outlined in compendious fashion the contents of the proposed atlas...

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2 Managerial Mosaics: New Deal Aerial Photography and the Marshaling of Rural America

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pp. 45-126

“Every culture puts its stamp upon the terrain and creates its own landscape.” So observed Roy Stryker, head of the Historical Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), in a 1940 article on documentary photography that he and collaborator Paul Johnstone had delivered the year prior at the American Historical Association (AHA).1 To illustrate the point...

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3 Adaptive Aeriality: Grant Wood, the Regional Landscape, and Modernity

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pp. 127-184

In early 1937 Life magazine printed Grant Wood’s landscape painting Spring Turning as the centerfold to its February 8 issue. Appearing across two facing pages, the image was striking in both its size (reproduced to almost half life-size, the editors bragged) and its color.1 Alive with smooth greens and earthy browns...

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4 Jeffersonian Urbanism: Frank Lloyd Wright, Aerial Pattern, and Broadacre City

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pp. 185-250

Grant Wood was not alone in seeing that the aerial vision enabled new possibilities for reinventing rural culture in the context of modernity. Nor was he the only one to perceive in the midwestern landscape a pattern and a way of thinking that might provide a solution to the broad-ranging cultural uncertainty that wracked the nation during the interwar period...

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Conclusion: Over the Rainbow

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pp. 251-264

In a now-famous sequence from Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer’s 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the young protagonist Dorothy Gale, having aborted her first attempt to run away from her dreary Kansas home, returns to her aunt and uncle’s rickety house in the midst of a tornado. Unable to force open the door to the underground cellar, Dorothy clambers into her bedroom, where she is knocked unconscious by a blown-out window...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 265-266

Like a farmer putting in his crops, I have accrued many debts in the cultivation of my topic. This volume offers both a harvest and a repayment. The book emerged out of a dissertation written under the guidance of Wanda Corn, whose visual acumen, historical grounding, and straight-talking prose served as its model...

Notes

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pp. 267-300

Bibliography

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pp. 301-324

Index

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pp. 325-340

About the Author

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pp. 341-341

Image Plates

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pp. 342-353