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The Contagious City

The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia

by Simon Finger

By the time William Penn was planning the colony that would come to be called Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia at its heart, Europeans on both sides of the ocean had long experience with the hazards of city life, disease the most terrifying among them. Drawing from those experiences, colonists hoped to create new urban forms that combined the commercial advantages of a seaport with the health benefits of the country. The Contagious City details how early Americans struggled to preserve their collective health against both the strange new perils of the colonial environment and the familiar dangers of the traditional city, through a period of profound transformation in both politics and medicine.

Philadelphia was the paramount example of this reforming tendency. Tracing the city's history from its founding on the banks of the Delaware River in 1682 to the yellow fever outbreak of 1793, Simon Finger emphasizes the importance of public health and population control in decisions made by the city's planners and leaders. He also shows that key figures in the city's history, including Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, brought their keen interest in science and medicine into the political sphere. Throughout his account, Finger makes clear that medicine and politics were inextricably linked, and that both undergirded the debates over such crucial concerns as the city's location, its urban plan, its immigration policy, and its creation of institutions of public safety. In framing the history of Philadelphia through the imperatives of public health, The Contagious City offers a bold new vision of the urban history of colonial America.

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Cranbury

A New Jersey Town from the Colonial Era to the Present

John Whiteclay Chambers

One of the oldest towns in New Jersey, Cranbury has a long and noteworthy history that is in part distinctive and in part broadly representative of larger themes in the development of the state and the nation. In this beautifully illustrated book sponsored by Cranbury Landmarks, Inc., historian John Whiteclay Chambers II links the narrative of this remarkable place to contemporary debates about suburbanization and land-use planning.

 Founded in 1697 and soon featuring an inn, a gristmill, and a church, the village prospered due to its strategic location on important transportation routes between New York and Philadelphia and its fertile, productive farmland. David Brainerd, a famous and controversial young missionary, came there to preach to the Lenape Indians.  In 1778, George Washington and his army stayed there on their way to the Battle of Monmouth. In the nineteenth century, roadways, railroads, and turnpikes spurred the town’s commerce and agriculture. Yet unlike many old agricultural centers transformed by suburbanization in the twentieth century, Cranbury has retained its picturesque, small-town image and much of its charm.

Cranbury has the feel of a well-preserved nineteenth-century village, remarkable for its intact and cohesive domestic and commercial architecture—a status recognized when it was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. In the last several decades, an active citizenry has innovatively linked the historic preservation of the town center with the maintenance of adjoining farmland, stream corridors, and wildlife habitats. How Cranbury preserved much of its character while accommodating economic growth provides a central theme in this book. Preserving the best of the past while astutely meeting the challenges of the present, Cranbury’s history offers an inspiration for active civic participation, a model for enlightened development, and an engaging American story.

A project of Cranbury Landmarks, Inc.

 

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Crossing the Hudson

Historic Bridges and Tunnels of the River

Donald E. Wolf

Fog, tide, ice, and human error--before the American Revolution those who ventured to cross the vast Hudson Valley waterway did so on ferryboats powered by humans, animals, and even fierce winds. Before that war, not a single Hudson River bridge or tunnel had been built. It wasn't until Americans looked to the land in the fight for independence that the importance of crossing the river efficiently became a subject of serious interest, especially militarily. Later, the needs of a new transportation system became critical--when steam railroads first rolled along there was no practical way to get them across the water without bridges.


Crossing the Hudson continues this story soon after the end of the war, in 1805, when the first bridge was completed. Donald E. Wolf simultaneously tracks the founding of the towns and villages along the water's edge and the development of technologies such as steam and internal combustion that demanded new ways to cross the river. As a result, innovative engineering was created to provide for these resources.


From hybrid, timber arch, and truss bridges on stone piers to long-span suspension and cantilevered bridges, railroad tunnels, and improvements in iron and steel technology, the construction feats that cross the Hudson represent technical elegance and physical beauty. Crossing the Hudson reveals their often multileveled stories--a history of where, why, when, and how these structures were built; the social, political, and commercial forces that influenced decisions to erect them; the personalities of the planners and builders; the unique connection between a builder and his bridge; and the design and construction techniques that turned mythical goals into structures of utility and beauty.

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The Cubans of Union City: Immigrants and Exiles in a New Jersey Community

As a result of the conflicts between Cuba and the United States, especially after 1959, Cubans immigrated in great numbers. Most stayed in Miami, but many headed north to Union City, making it second only to Miami in its concentration of Cubans. In The Cubans of Union City, Yolanda Prieto discusses why Cubans were drawn to this particular city and how the local economy and organizations developed. Central aspects of this story are the roles of women, religion, political culture, and the fact of exile itself. 

 

As a member of this community and a participant in many of its activities, Prieto speaks with special authority about its demographic uniqueness. Far from being a snapshot of the community, The Cubans of Union City conveys an ongoing research agenda extending over more than twenty years, from 1959 to the 1980s. As a long-term observer who was also a resident, Prieto offers a unique and insightful view of the dynamics of this community’s evolution.

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Culture, Class, and Politics in Modern Appalachia

Essays in Honor of Ronald L. Lewis

Edited by Jennifer Egolf, Ken Fones-Wolf, and Louis C. Martin

Culture, Class, and Politics in Modern Appalachia takes stock of the field of Appalachian studies as it explores issues still at the center of its scholarship: culture, industrialization, the labor movement, and twentieth-century economic and political failure and their social impact. A new generation of scholars continues the work of Appalachian studies’ pioneers, exploring the diversity and complexity of the region and its people. Labor migrations from around the world transformed the region during its critical period of economic growth. Collective struggles over occupational health and safety, the environment, equal rights, and civil rights challenged longstanding stereotypes. Investigations of political and economic power and the role of social actors and social movements in Appalachian history add to the foundational work that demonstrates a dynamic and diverse region.

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Dangerous Guests

Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities during the War for Independence

by Ken Miller

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David Franks

Colonial Merchant

Mark Abbott Stern

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DC Sports

The Nation’s Capital at Play

Washington, DC, is best known for its politics and monuments, but sport has always been an integral part of the city, and Washingtonians are among the country’s most avid sports fans. DC Sports gathers seventeen essays examining the history of sport in the nation’s capital, from turn-of-the-century venues such as the White Lot, Griffith Stadium, and DC Memorial Stadium to Howard-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day football games of the roaring twenties; from the surprising season of the 1969 Washington Senators to the success of Georgetown basketball during the 1980s. This collection covers the field, including public recreation, high-school athletics, intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, sports journalism, and sports promotion.

A southern city at heart, Washington drew a strong color line in every facet of people’s lives. Race informed how sport was played, written about, and watched in the city. In 1962, the Redskins became the final National Football League team to integrate. That same year, a race riot marred the city’s high-school championship game in football. A generation later, race as an issue resurfaced after Georgetown’s African American head coach John Thompson Jr. led the Hoyas to national prominence in basketball.

DC Sports takes a hard look at how sports in one city has shaped culture and history, and how culture and history inform sports. This informative and engaging collection will appeal to fans and students of sports and those interested in the rich history of the nation’s capital.

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Deer Wars

Science, Tradition, and the Battle over Managing Whitetails in Pennsylvania

Bob Frye

The story of deer management in Pennsylvania is as complex as it is controversial. From the disappearance of deer in Pennsylvania forests at the beginning of the twentieth century to the population explosion that occurred in the latter half of the century, the balance between herd size and a healthy forest has long been a difficult one. In Deer Wars, Bob Frye examines this controversy and the effect that herd management has had on all of the citizens of Pennsylvania; farmers managing deer invasions and property rights, hunters dealing with changing herd densities and ever-complex restrictions, state agencies juggling the rights of hunters with the needs of commercial interests, all with stakes in the success and health of the deer herd. Now with deer harvests decreasing, Chronic Wasting Disease becoming a potential threat, and forests showing serious signs of trouble, the need for compromise from all of the players is essential, but is it possible? This well-researched and engrossing book explores that question.

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Designs on the Public

The Private Lives of New York’s Public Spaces

Kristine F. Miller

New York City is home to some of the most recognizable places in the world. As familiar as the sight of New Year’s Eve in Times Square or a protest in front of City Hall may be to us, do we understand who controls what happens there? Kristine Miller delves into six of New York’s most important public spaces to trace how design influences their complicated lives. 

 

Miller chronicles controversies in the histories of New York locations including Times Square, Trump Tower, the IBM Atrium, and Sony Plaza. The story of each location reveals that public space is not a concrete or fixed reality, but rather a constantly changing situation open to the forces of law, corporations, bureaucracy, and government. The qualities of public spaces we consider essential, including accessibility, public ownership, and ties to democratic life, are, at best, temporary conditions and often completely absent.

 

Design is, in Miller’s view, complicit in regulation of public spaces in New York City to exclude undesirables, restrict activities, and privilege commercial interests, and in this work she shows how design can reactivate public space and public life.

 

Kristine F. Miller is associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota.

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