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The Maritime History of Portland, Maine, and Its Irish Longshoremen
For decades, Portland, Maine, was the closest ice-free port to Europe. As such, it was key to the transport of Canadian wheat across the Atlantic, losing its prominence only after WWII, as containerization came to dominate all shipping and Portland shifted its focus to tourism.
Michael Connolly offers an in-depth study of the on-shore labor force that made the port function from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. He shows how Irish immigrants replaced and supplanted the existing West Indian workers and established benevolent societies and unions that were closed to blacks. Using this fascinating city and these hard-working longshoremen as a case study, he sheds light on a larger tale of ethnicity, class, regionalism, and globalization.
A Cultural History of Illness, Death, and Loss in New England, 1840-1916
How does the experience of sickness, death, and loss change over time? We know that the incidence and virulence of particular diseases have varied from one period to another, as has their medical treatment. But what was it like for the individuals who suffered and died from those illnesses, for the health practitioners and institutions that attended to them, and for the families who buried and mourned them? In Shadows in the Valley, Alan Swedlund addresses these questions by closely examining the history of mortality in several small communities in western Massachusetts from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century—from just before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease through the early days of public health reform in the United States. This was a time when most Americans lived in rural areas or small towns rather than large cities. It was also a time when a wide range of healing practices was available to the American public, and when the modern form of Western medicine was striving for dominance and authority. As Swedlund shows, this juncture of competing practices and ideologies provides a rich opportunity for exploring the rise of modern medicine and its impact on the everyday lives of ordinary Americans. To indicate how individuals in different stages of their lives were exposed to varying assaults on their health, the book is structured in a way that superimposes what the author calls “life-course time” onto chronological time. Thus the early chapters look at issues of infancy and childhood in the 1840s and 1850s and the last chapters at the problems of old age after 1900. The reader becomes familiar with specific individuals and families as they cope with the recurrent loss of children, struggle to understand the causes of new contagions, and seek to find meaning in untimely death. By using a broad time frame and a narrow geographical lens, Swedlund is able to engage with both the particularities and generalities of evolving medical knowledge and changing practice, and to highlight the differences in personal as well as collective responses to illness and loss.
Capital Punishment in Connecticut
The first case study of its kind, this book addresses a broad range of questions about the rationale for and application of judicial execution in Connecticut since the seventeenth century. In addition to identifying the 158 people who have been put to death for crimes during the state's history, Lawrence Goodheart analyzes their social status in terms of sex, race, class, religion, and ethnicity. He looks at the circumstances of the crimes, the weapons that were used, and the victims. He reconstructs the history of Connecticut's capital laws, its changing rituals of execution, and the growing debate over the legitimacy of the death penalty itself. Although the focus is on the criminal justice system, the ethical values of New England culture form the larger context. Goodheart shows how a steady diminution in types of capital crimes, including witchcraft and sexual crimes, culminated in an emphasis on proportionate punishment during the Enlightenment and eventually led to a preference for imprisonment for all capital crimes except first-degree murder. Goodheart concludes by considering why Connecticut, despite its many statutory restrictions on capital punishment and lengthy appeals process, has been the only state in New England to have executed anyone since 1960.
Owen Chase and the Essex
The first documented sinking of a ship by a whale and a harrowing account by the ship's first mate of the survivors' three months adrift in small boats. A thrilling narrative that inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Moby Dick.
Christian Indian Identity and Community in Colonial Southern New England
Tears of Repentance revisits and reexamines the familiar stories of intercultural encounters between Protestant missionaries and Native peoples in southern New England from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Focusing on Protestant missionaries’ accounts of their ideals, purposes, and goals among the Native communities they served and of the religion as lived, experienced, and practiced among Christianized Indians, Julius H. Rubin offers a new way of understanding the motives and motivations of those who lived in New England’s early Christianized Indian village communities.
Rubin explores how Christian Indians recast Protestant theology into an Indianized quest for salvation from their worldly troubles and toward the promise of an otherworldly paradise. The Great Awakening of the eighteenth century reveals how evangelical pietism transformed religious identities and communities and gave rise to the sublime hope that New Born Indians were children of God who might effectively contest colonialism. With this dream unfulfilled, the exodus from New England to Brothertown envisioned a separatist Christian Indian commonwealth on the borderlands of America after the Revolution.
Tears of Repentance is an important contribution to American colonial and Native American history, offering new ways of examining how Native groups and individuals recast Protestant theology to restore their Native communities and cultures.
Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire's White Mountains, 1784-1911
This Vast Book of Nature is a careful, engaging, accessible, and wide-ranging account of the ways in which the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire---and, by implication, other wild places---have been written into being by different visitors, residents, and developers from the post-Revolutionary era to the days of high tourism at the beginning of the twentieth century. Drawing on tourist brochures, travel accounts, pictorial representations, fiction and poetry, local histories, journals, and newspapers, Pavel Cenkl gauges how Americans have arranged space for political and economic purposes and identified it as having value beyond the economic. Starting with an exploration of Jeremy Belknap’s 1784 expedition to Mount Washington, which Cenkl links to the origins of tourism in the White Mountains, to the transformation of touristic and residential relationships to landscape, This Vast Book of Nature explores the ways competing visions of the landscape have transformed the White Mountains culturally and physically, through settlement, development, and---most recently---preservation, a process that continues today.
Here are the engrossing facts about one of the least-known movements in Connecticut's history--the rise, organization, and operations of the Underground Railroad, over which fugitive slaves from the South found their way to freedom. Drawing his data from published sources and, perhaps more importantly, from the still-existing oral tradition of descendants of Underground agents, Horatio Strother tells the detailed story in this book, originally published in 1962. He traces the routes from entry points such as New Haven harbor and the New York state line, through important crossroads like Brooklyn and Farmington. Revealing the dangers fugitives faced, the author also identifies the high-minded lawbreakers who operated the system--farmers and merchants, local officials and judges, at least one United States Senator, and many dedicated ministers of the Gospel. These narratives are set against the larger background of the development of slavery and abolitionism in America-- conversations still relevant today.
Working for Labor Reform in Nineteenth-Century Boston
Throughout the nineteenth century, working-class activists and middle-class reformers in Boston strived to build alliances in the campaign for labor reform. Though some of these organizations have been familiar to historians for more than a century, this is the first study to trace these cross-class groups from their origins in the early 1830s to the dawn of the Progressive Era. In addition to analyzing what motivated these workers and reformers to create cross-class organizations, David Zonderman examines the internal tactical debates and external political pressures that fractured them, even as new alliances were formed, and shows how these influences changed over time. He describes what workers and reformers learned about politics and social change within these complex and volatile alliances, and speculates as to whether those lessons have relevance for activists and reformers today. What emerges from this investigation is a narrative of progress and decline that spans nearly three-quarters of a century, as an ever-shifting constellation of associations debated the meaning of labor reform and the best strategy to secure justice for workers. But the quest for ideological consistency and organizational coherence was not easily achieved. By century's end, not only did Boston look dramatically different from its antebellum ancestor, but its labor reform alliances had lost some of their earlier openhearted optimism and stubborn resilience.
The Story of the Hartford Water Works and the Metropolitan District Commission
As good health is inextricably wedded to pure drinking water--and this particular concern looms larger every day--understanding delivery systems is almost as important as the water itself. Water for Hartford chronicles the century-long effort, beginning in the 1850s, to construct a viable, efficient water system. The story of Hartford's water works is a fascinating one, for it recalls the hard work, great sacrifice, and extraordinary engineering feats necessary to deliver wholesome drinking water to a growing urban center. It also illuminates the ever-changing social, political, and economic milieu in which it was built.
The story of its construction is also the story of three men--Hiram Bissell, Ezra Clark, and Caleb Saville. Readers are transported back in time and given a firsthand glimpse of what these champions of a water system faced on a daily basis: unforgiving geography, venal politicians, and an often-indifferent public. The book culminates in the exhilaration of having built a water works from scratch to deliver clean, safe drinking water to the masses. Water for Hartford is a human story, peopled by men of vision and achievement, who understood that their decisions and actions would affect millions of people for decades to come.