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Chicago in the Age of Capital

Class, Politics, and Democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction

John B. Jentz

In this sweeping interpretive history of mid-nineteenth-century Chicago, historians John B. Jentz and Richard Schneirov boldly trace the evolution of a modern social order. Combining a mastery of historical and political detail with a sophisticated theoretical frame, Jentz and Schneirov examine the dramatic capitalist transition in Chicago during the critical decades from the 1850s through the 1870s, a period that saw the rise of a permanent wage worker class and the formation of an industrial upper class._x000B__x000B_Jentz and Schneirov demonstrate how a new political economy, based on wage labor and capital accumulation in manufacturing, superseded an older mercantile economy that relied on speculative trading and artisan production. The new social movements that arose in this era--labor, socialism, urban populism, businessmen's municipal reform, Protestant revivalism, and women's activism--constituted the substance of a new post-bellum democratic politics that took shape in the 1860s and '70s. When the Depression of 1873 brought increased crime and financial panic, Chicago's new upper class developed municipal reform in an attempt to reassert its leadership. Setting local detail against a national canvas of partisan ideology and the seismic structural shifts of Reconstruction, Chicago in the Age of Capital vividly depicts the upheavals integral to building capitalism.

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Chicago's Greatest Year, 1893

Joseph Gustaitis

A hybrid work that straddles popular history and serious scholarship, “1893 Chicago” focuses in some depth on important people, places, events, and developments that made 1893 one of Chicago’s greatest years. In addition to the famous Columbian Exposition that took place that year, there were also a surprising number of impressive developments in art, architecture, literature, sports, education, business, political reform, sanitation engineering, medicine, and more. In a sense, 1893 was the year in which Chicago transitioned from being simply a busy Midwestern city to a world metropo

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Chicago Transformed

World War I and the Windy City

Joseph Gustaitis

It’s been called the “war that changed everything,” and it is difficult to think of a historical event that had a greater impact on the world than the First World War. Events during the war profoundly changed our nation, and Chicago, especially, was transformed during this period. Between 1913 and 1919, Chicago transitioned from a nineteenth-century city to the metropolis it is today. Despite the importance of the war years, this period has not been documented adequately in histories of the city. In Chicago in World War I: How the Great War Transformed a Great City, Joseph Gustaitis fills this gap in the historical record, covering the important wartime events, developments, movements, and people that helped shape Chicago.
 
Gustaitis attributes many of Chicago’s changes to the labor shortage caused by the war. African Americans from the South flocked to Chicago during the Great Migration, and Mexican immigration increased as well. This influx of new populations along with a wave of anti-German hysteria—which nearly extinguished German culture in Chicago—changed the city’s ethnic composition. As the ethnic landscape changed, so too did the culture. Jazz and blues accompanied African Americans to the city, and Chicago soon became America’s jazz and blues capital. Gustaitis also demonstrates how the nation’s first sexual revolution occurred not during the 1960s but during the World War I years, when the labor shortage opened up unprecedented employment opportunities for women. These opportunities gave women assertiveness and freedom that endured beyond the war years. In addition, the shortage of workers invigorated organized labor, and determined attempts were made to organize in Chicago’s two leading industrial workplaces—the stockyards and the steel mills—which helped launch the union movement of the twentieth century. Gustaitis explores other topics as well: Prohibition, which practically defined the city in the 1920s; the exploits of Chicago’s soldiers, both white and black; life on the home front; the War Exposition in Grant Park; and some of the city’s contributions to the war effort. The book also contains sketches of the wartime activities of prominent Chicagoans, including Jane Addams, Ernest Hemingway, Clarence Darrow, Rabbi Emil Hirsch, John T. McCutcheon, “Big Bill” Thompson, and Eunice Tietjens.
 
Although its focus is Chicago, this book provides insight into change nationwide, as many of the effects that the First World War had on the city also affected the United States as a whole. Drawing on a variety of sources and written in an accessible style that combines economic, cultural, and political history, Chicago in World War I: How the Great War Transformed a Great City portrays Chicago before the war, traces the changes initiated during the war years, and shows how these changes still endure in the cultural, ethnic, and political landscape of this great city and the nation.

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Chicago Whispers

A History of LGBT Chicago before Stonewall

St. Sukie de la Croix; Foreword by John D’Emilio

Chicago Whispers illuminates a colorful and vibrant record of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people who lived and loved in Chicago from the city’s beginnings in the 1670s as a fur-trading post to the end of the 1960s. Journalist St. Sukie de la Croix, drawing on years of archival research and personal interviews, reclaims Chicago’s LGBT past that had been forgotten, suppressed, or overlooked.
    Included here are Jane Addams, the pioneer of American social work; blues legend Ma Rainey, who recorded “Sissy Blues” in Chicago in 1926; commercial artist J. C. Leyendecker, who used his lover as the model for “The Arrow Collar Man” advertisements; and celebrated playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun. Here, too, are accounts of vice dens during the Civil War and classy gentlemen’s clubs; the wild and gaudy First Ward Ball that was held annually from 1896 to 1908; gender-crossing performers in cabarets and at carnival sideshows; rights activists like Henry Gerber in the 1920s; authors of lesbian pulp novels and publishers of “physique magazines”; and evidence of thousands of nameless queer Chicagoans who worked as artists and musicians, in the factories, offices, and shops, at theaters and in hotels. Chicago Whispers offers a diverse collection of alternately hip and heart-wrenching accounts that crackle with vitality.

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Chicanas of 18th Street

Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago

Leonard G, Ramirez

Overflowing with powerful testimonies of six female community activists who have lived and worked in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Chicanas of 18th Street reveals the convictions and approaches of those organizing for social reform. In chronicling a pivotal moment in the history of community activism in Chicago, the women discuss how education, immigration, religion, identity, and acculturation affected the Chicano movement. Chicanas of 18th Street underscores the hierarchies of race, gender, and class while stressing the interplay of individual and collective values in the development of community reform._x000B__x000B_Highlighting the women's motivations, initiatives, and experiences in politics during the 1960s and 1970s, these rich personal accounts reveal the complexity of the Chicano movement, conflicts within the movement, and the importance of teatro and cultural expressions to the movement. Also detailed are vital interactions between members of the Chicano movement with leftist and nationalist community members and the influence of other activist groups such as African Americans and Marxists.

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Chippewa Lake

A Community in Search of an Identity

Cindy L. Hull

Chippewa Lake is an idyllic waterfront community in north-central Michigan, popular with retirees and weekenders. The lake is surrounded by a rural farming community, but the area is facing a difficult transition as local demographics shift, and as it transforms from an agriculture-based economy to one that relies on wage labor. As farms have disappeared, local residents have employed a variety of strategies to adapt to a new economic structure. The community, meanwhile, has been indelibly affected by the advent of newcomers and retirees challenging the rural cultural values. An anthropologist with a background in sociology, Cindy L. Hull deftly weaves together oral accounts, historic documents, and participant surveys compiled from her nearly thirty years of living in the area to create a textured portrait of a community in flux.

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Cinema and Community

Progressivism, Exhibition, and Film Culture in Chicago, 1907-1917

Moya Luckett

Caught between the older model of short film and the emerging classic era, the transitional period of American cinema (1907-1917) has typically posed a problem for studies of early American film. Yet in Cinema and Community: Progressivism, Exhibition, and Film Culture in Chicago, 1907-1917, author Moya Luckett uses the era's dominant political ideology as a lens to better understand its cinematic practice. Luckett argues that movies were a typically Progressive institution, reflecting the period's investment in leisure, its more public lifestyle, and its fascination with celebrity. She uses Chicago, often considered the nation's most Progressive city and home to the nation's largest film audience by 1907, to explore how Progressivism shaped and influenced the address, reception, exhibition, representational strategies, regulation, and cultural status of early cinema. After a survey of Progressivism's general influences on popular culture and the film industry in particular, she examines the era's spectatorship theories in chapter 1 and then the formal characteristics of the early feature film-including the use of prologues, multiple diegesis, and oversight-in chapter 2. In chapter 3, Luckett explores the period's cinema in the light of its celebrity culture, while she examines exhibition in chapter 4. She also looks at the formation of Chicago's censorship board in November 1907 in the context of efforts by city government, social reformers, and the local press to establish community standards for cinema in chapter 5. She completes the volume by exploring race and cinema in chapter 6 and national identity and community, this time in relation to World War I, in chapter 7. As well as offering a history of an underexplored area of film history, Luckett provides a conceptual framework to help navigate some of the period's key issues. Film scholars interested in the early years of American cinema will appreciate this insightful study.

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City Indian

Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934

hosmer

In City Indian, Rosalyn R. LaPier and David R. M. Beck tell the engaging story of American Indian men and women who migrated to Chicago from across America. From the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to the 1934 Century of Progress Fair, American Indians in Chicago voiced their opinions about political, social, educational, and racial issues.
 
City Indian focuses on the privileged members of the American Indian community in Chicago who were doctors, nurses, business owners, teachers, and entertainers. During the Progressive Era, more than at any other time in the city’s history, they could be found in the company of politicians and society leaders, at Chicago’s major cultural venues and events, and in the press, speaking out. When Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson declared that Chicago public schools teach “America First,” American Indian leaders publicly challenged him to include the true story of “First Americans.” As they struggled to reshape nostalgic perceptions of American Indians, these men and women developed new associations and organizations to help each other and to ultimately create a new place to call home in a modern American city.

 

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The Civil War in Missouri

A Military History

Louis S. Gerteis

Guerrilla warfare, border fights, and unorganized skirmishes are all too often the only battles associated with Missouri during the Civil War. Combined with the state’s distance from both sides’ capitals, this misguided impression paints Missouri as an insignificant player in the nation’s struggle to define itself. Such notions, however, are far from an accurate picture of the Midwest state’s contributions to the war’s outcome. Though traditionally cast in a peripheral role, the conventional warfare of Missouri was integral in the Civil War’s development and ultimate conclusion. The strategic battles fought by organized armies are often lost amidst the stories of guerrilla tactics and bloody combat, but in The Civil War in Missouri, Louis S. Gerteis explores the state’s conventional warfare and its effects on the unfolding of national history.

 

Both the Union and the Confederacy had a vested interest in Missouri throughout the war. The state offered control of both the lower Mississippi valley and the Missouri River, strategic areas that could greatly factor into either side’s success or failure. Control of St. Louis and mid-Missouri were vital for controlling the West, and rail lines leading across the state offered an important connection between eastern states and the communities out west. The Confederacy sought to maintain the Ozark Mountains as a northern border, which allowed concentrations of rebel troops to build in the Mississippi valley. With such valuable stock at risk, Lincoln registered the importance of keeping rebel troops out of Missouri, and so began the conventional battles investigated by Gerteis.

 

The first book-length examination of its kind, The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History dares to challenge the prevailing opinion that Missouri battles made only minor contributions to the war. Gerteis specifically focuses not only on the principal conventional battles in the state but also on the effects these battles had on both sides’ national aspirations. This work broadens the scope of traditional Civil War studies to include the losses and wins of Missouri, in turn creating a more accurate and encompassing narrative of the nation’s history.

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The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, 1933-1939

In the spring of 1933, the United States was in the midst of the worst economic calamity it had ever experienced. Newly inaugurated president Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to approve funding allowing legions of out-of-work young men to find employment reclaiming and developing the nation’s natural spaces. The Civilian Conservation Corps became a reality in April 1933 and forever changed the way the American people viewed their parks, rivers, lakes, and other natural areas.

This book tells the story of the CCC’s construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, which today is part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in Northeast Ohio. Four hundred and thirty acres of farmland came under the control of the Akron Metropolitan Park District and its director-secretary, Harold Wagner, who immediately applied to the federal government to establish a CCC camp there with the aim of creating a natural recreation landscape open to the public.

Author Kenneth Bindas and seven of his students from Kent State University drew upon a wide variety of government documents, oral histories, and other primary sources to place the construction of the Reserve within the larger context of modernism and the emerging 1930s movements whose goals were to protect and open up natural areas. As a case study, the construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve provides an example of the design, manipulation, and construction used to create so many Civilian Conservation Corps environments.

The book is filled with historic photographs showing the process of construction, and contemporary photos by Marina Vladova visually detail the lush nature that families, hikers, runners, bikers, and naturalists enjoy today.

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