Browse Results For:
History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > Middle Atlantic
Foundlings in Nineteenth-Century New York City
In the nineteenth century, foundlingschildren abandoned by their desperately poor, typically unmarried mothers, usually shortly after birthwere commonplace in European society. There were asylums in every major city to house abandoned babies, and writers made them the heroes of their fiction, most notably Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. In American cities before the Civil War the situation was different, with foundlings relegated to the poorhouse instead of institutions designed specifically for their care. By the eve of the Civil War, New York City in particular had an epidemic of foundlings on its hands due to the rapid and often interlinked phenomena of urban development, population growth, immigration, and mass poverty. Only then did the city's leaders begin to worry about the welfare and future of its abandoned children.
In Abandoned, Julie Miller offers a fascinating, frustrating, and often heartbreaking history of a once devastating, now forgotten social problem that wracked America's biggest metropolis, New York City. Filled with anecdotes and personal stories, Miller traces the shift in attitudes toward foundlings from ignorance, apathy, and sometimes pity for the children and their mothers to that of recognition of the problem as a sign of urban moral decline and in need of systematic intervention. Assistance came from public officials and religious reformers who constructed four institutions: the Nursery and Child's Hospital's foundling asylum, the New York Infant Asylum, the New York Foundling Asylum, and the public Infant Hospital, located on Randall's Island in the East River.
Ultimately, the foundling asylums were unable to significantly improve children's lives, and by the early twentieth century, three out of the four foundling asylums had closed, as adoption took the place of abandonment and foster care took the place of institutions. Today the word foundling has been largely forgotten. Fortunately, Abandoned rescues its history from obscurity.
Memory, Spirituality, and Space
In 1991, archaeologists in lower Manhattan unearthed a stunning discovery. Buried for more than 200 years was a communal cemetery containing the remains of up to 20,000 people. At roughly 6.6 acres, the African Burial Ground is the largest and earliest known burial space of African descendants in North America. In the years that followed its discovery, citizens and activists fought tirelessly to demand respectful treatment of eighteenth-century funerary remains and sacred ancestors. After more than a decade of political battle—on local and national levels—and scientific research at Howard University, the remains were eventually reburied on the site in 2003. Capturing the varied perspectives and the emotional tenor of the time, Frohne narrates the story of the African Burial Ground and the controversies surrounding urban commemoration. She analyzes both its colonial and contemporary representations, drawing on colonial-era maps, prints, and land surveys to illuminate the forgotten and hidden visual histories of a mostly enslaved population buried in the African Burial Ground. Today, personal offerings and commemorative artworks, many of which incorporate traditional African and diasporic arts and religions, pay tribute to the ancestors and the sacred space. Tracing the history and identity of the area from a forgotten site to a contested and negotiated space, Frohne situates the burial ground within the context of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century race relations in New York City to reveal its enduring presence as a spiritual place. Finally, she illustrates visually, spiritually, and spatially the historic and contemporary formation of a New York City African diaspora in relation to the African Burial Ground.
The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers
“Allegany to Appomattox” describes the environment, enlistment and political atmosphere that resulted in the Civil War from the perspective of one farmer, William Whitlock who at the age of thirty five left his family for service to the Union. He wrote at least forty letter home to his wife and family. These unpublished letters serve as the foundation of the book.
A History of Pittsburgh’s North Side
Allegheny City, known today as Pittsburgh’s North Side, was the third-largest city in Pennsylvania when it was controversially annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1907. Founded in 1787 as a reserve land tract for Revolutionary War veterans in compensation for their service, it quickly evolved into a thriving urban center with its own character, industry, and accomplished residents. Among those to inhabit the area, which came to be known affectionately as “The Ward,” were Andrew Carnegie, Mary Cassatt, Gertrude Stein, Stephen Foster, and Martha Graham. Once a station along the underground railroad, home to the first wire suspension bridge, and host to the first World Series, the North Side is now the site of Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Andy Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, and world headquarters for corporations such as Alcoa and the H. J. Heinz Company. Dan Rooney, longtime North Side resident, joins local historian Carol Peterson in creating this highly engaging history of the cultural, industrial, and architectural achievements of Allegheny City from its humble beginnings until the present day. The authors cover the history of the city from its origins as a simple colonial outpost and agricultural center to its rapid emergence alongside Pittsburgh as one of the most important industrial cities in the world and an engine of the American economy. They explore the life of its people in this journey as they experienced war and peace, economic boom and bust, great poverty and wealth—the challenges and opportunities that fused them into a strong and durable community, ready for whatever the future holds. Supplemented by historic and contemporary photos, the authors take the reader on a fascinating and often surprising street-level tour of this colorful, vibrant, and proud place.
Frank Hague, Nucky Johnson, and the Perfection of the Urban Political Machine
One man was tongue-tied and awkward around women, in many ways a mama's boy at heart, although his reputation for thuggery was well earned. The other was a playboy, full of easy charm and ready jokes, his appetite for high living a matter of public record. One man tolerated gangsters and bootleggers as long as they paid their dues to his organization. The other was effectively a gangster himself, so crooked that he hosted a national gathering of America's most ruthless killers. One man never drank alcohol. The other, from all evidence, seldom drank anything else.
American Dictators is the dual biography of two of America’s greatest political bosses: Frank Hague and Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. Packed with compelling information and written in an informal, sometimes humorous style, the book shows Hague and Johnson at the peak of their power and the strength of their political machines during the years of Prohibition and the Great Depression. Steven Hart compares how both men used their influence to benefit and punish the local citizenry, amass huge personal fortunes, and sometimes collaborate to trounce their enemies.
Similar in their ruthlessness, both men were very different in appearance and temperament. Hague, the mayor of Jersey City, intimidated presidents and wielded unchallenged power for three decades. He never drank and was happily married to his wife for decades. He also allowed gangsters to run bootlegging and illegal gambling operations as long as they paid protection money. Johnson, the political boss of Atlantic City, and the inspiration for the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire, presided over corruption as well, but for a shorter period of time. He was notorious for his decadent lifestyle. Essentially a gangster himself, Johnson hosted the infamous Atlantic City conference that fostered the growth of organized crime.
Both Hague and Johnson shrewdly integrated otherwise disenfranchised groups into their machines and gave them a stake in political power. Yet each failed to adapt to changing demographics and circumstances. In American Dictators, Hart paints a balanced portrait of their accomplishments and their failures.
WEST VIRGINIA IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION
In this paperback edition of An Appalachian New Deal: West Virginia in the Great Depression, Jerry Bruce Thomas examines the economic and social conditions of the state of West Virginia before, during, and after the Great Depression. Thomas’s exploration of personal papers by leading political and social figures, newspapers, and the published and unpublished records of federal, state, local, and private agencies, traces a region’s response to an economic depression and a presidential stimulus program. This dissection of federal and state policies implemented under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program reveals the impact of poverty upon political, gender, race, and familial relations within the Mountain State—and the entire country. Through An Appalachian New Deal, Thomas documents the stories of ordinary citizens who survived a period of economic crisis and echoes a message from our nation’s past to a new generation enduring financial hardship and uncertainty.
West Virginia and the Perils of the New Machine Age, 1945-1972
As the long boom of post-World War II economic expansion spread across the globe, dreams of white picket fences, democratic ideals, and endless opportunities flourished within the United States. Middle America experienced a period of affluent stability built upon a modern age of industrialization. Yet for the people of Appalachia, this new era brought economic, social, and environmental devastation, preventing many from realizing the American Dream. Some families suffered in silence; some joined a mass exodus from the mountains; while others, trapped by unemployment, poverty, illness, and injury became dependent upon welfare. As the one state most completely Appalachian, West Virginia symbolized the region's dilemma, even as it provided much of the labor and natural resources that fueled the nation's prosperity.
An Appalachian Reawakening: West Virginia and the Perils of the New Machine Age, 1945-1972 recounts the difficulties the state of West Virginia faced during the post-World War II period. While documenting this turmoil, this valuable analysis also traces the efforts of the New Frontier and Great Society programs, which stimulated maximum feasible participation and lead to the ultimate rise of grass roots activities and organizations that improved life and labor in the region and undermined the notion of Appalachian fatalism.
The Aries Press was an American private press founded by Spencer Kellogg, Jr. in the 1920s. A second-generation millionaire and patron of the arts, Kellogg was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Though little known today, the Aries Press produced fine examples of exceptional printing. Richard Kegler, Director of the Book Arts Program at Wells College, documents its history accompanied by fine illustrations and samples from the Press.
49 Episodes of Intimate History
During the 1960s AND 1970S in New York City, young artists exploited an industrial wasteland to create spacious studios where they lived and worked, redefining the Manhattan area just South of Houston Street. Fueled not by city planning schemes but by word-of-mouth recommendations, the area soon grew to become a world-class center for artistic creation—indeed the largest urban artists’ colony ever in America, let alone the world. _x000B_Richard Kostelanetz’s Artists’ SoHo examines not only why the artists came and how they accomplished what they did, but also delves into the lives and works of some of the most creative personalities who lived there during that period, including Nam June Paik, Robert Wilson, Meredith Monk, Richard Foreman, Hannah Wilke, George Macuinas, and Alan Suicide. Gallerists followed the artists in fashioning themselves, their homes, their buildings, and even their streets into transiently prominent exhibition and performance spaces. _x000B_ _x000B_SoHo pioneer Richard Kostelanetz’s extensively researched Intimate History is framed within a personal memoir that unearths myriad perspectives: social and cultural history history, the changing rules for residency and ownership, the ethos of the community, the physical layouts of the lofts, the types of art produced, venues that opened and closed, the daily rhythm, and the graduate invasion of “new people”. SoHo also explores how and why this fertile bohemia couldn’t last forever. As wealthier people paid higher prices, galleries left, younger artists settled elsewhere, and the neighborhood became a “SoHo Mall” of trendy stores and restaurants._x000B_ _x000B_Compelling and often humorous, ARTISTS' SoHo provides an analysis of a remarkable neighborhood that transformed the art and culture of New York City over the last five decades. _x000B_
Champion of Old New York
The concept of an "honest Tammany man" sounds like an oxymoron, but it became a reality in the curious career of Ashbel P. Fitch, who served New York City as a four-term congressman and a one-term city comptroller during the late nineteenth century. Although little known today, Fitch was well respected in his own day and played a pivotal role on both national and local stages. In the U.S. Congress, Fitch was a passionate advocate of New York City. His support of tariff reform and his efforts to have New York City chosen as the site for an 1892 World Exposition reflected his deep interest in issues of industrialization and urbanization. An ardent defender of immigrant rights, Fitch opposed the xenophobia of the times and championed cosmopolitan diversity. As New York’s comptroller, he oversaw the city’s finances during a time of terrible economic distress, withstanding threats from Tammany Hall on one side and from Mayor William L. Strong’s misguided reform administration on the other. In Ashbel P. Fitch, Remington succeeds in illuminating the independence and integrity of this unsung hero against the backdrop of the Gilded Age’s corrupt politics and fierce party loyalty.