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The Turn-of-the-Century First Lady through War, Assassination, and Secret Disability
This is the first full-length biography of Ida Saxton McKinley (1847– 1907), the wife of William McKinley, president of the United States from 1897 to his assassination in 1901. Long demeaned by history because she suffered from epilepsy—which the society of her era mistakenly believed to border on mental illness—Ida McKinley was an exceptional woman who exerted a strong influence on her hus-band’s political decisions.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Ida Saxton was the eldest of three children. Throughout her youth, Ida was remarkably independent and energetic. She was interested in art, architecture, and current events, and she was sensitive to the plight of working women. In 1871 she married lawyer and Civil War veteran William McKinley. Following the deaths of their two daughters and her mother, Ida’s physical condition deteriorated. During the years her husband served as a U.S. congressman and as Ohio governor, her health fluctuated.
Throughout William’s 1896 presidential campaign, delegations came to the McKinley home in Canton to hear the candidate speak from the front porch. Occasionally, Ida was healthy enough to speak with and meet political figures; sometimes she simply sat to hear his speeches; at other times she was entirely absent. Her husband’s devotion to her in her state became an attribute of the campaign. Author Carl Sferrazza Anthony shows that despite her frail health, Ida was determined to fulfill as much of her role as First Lady as she could. She made keen and accurate political observations—particularly in assessing the motives of those ambitious for appointments—and her unrelenting lobbying on behalf of Methodist missionary efforts factored into the president’s decision to retain the Philippine Islands for the United States.
This fascinating biography is essential reading for anyone interested in the life and times of an extraordinary First Lady.
Published in cooperation with The National First Ladies Library
Anthony Burns and the Landscape of Race in Antebellum America
Gripping re-examination of the rendition of Anthony Burns
"This well-researched and clearly written study gets a new series off to a promising start. The chapter on antislavery life in St. Catharines, Ontario, is especially valuable."
Cleveland'd Torso Murders, Authoritative Edition, Revised and Expanded
In 2001 The Kent State University Press published James Jessen Badal’s In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders—the first book to examine the horrific series of unsolved dismemberment murders that terrorized the Kingsbury Run neighborhood from 1934 to 1938. Through his access to a wealth of previously unavailable material, Badal was able to present a far more detailed and accurate picture of the battle between Cleveland safety director Eliot Ness and the unidentified killer who avoided both detection and apprehension.
In his groundbreaking historical study, Badal established beyond any doubt the truth of the legend that Ness had a secret suspect whom he had subjected to a series of interrogation sessions, complete with lie detector tests, in a secluded room in a downtown hotel. Badal also disclosed recently unearthed evidence that identified exactly who that mysterious suspect was. But was he the infamous Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run? Badal presented all the evidence available at the time and invited readers to draw their own conclusions.
Now, armed with conclusive new information, Badal returns to the absorbing tale of those terrible murders in an expanded edition of In the Wake of the Butcher. For the very first time in the history of research into the Kingsbury Run murders, he presents compelling evidence that establishes exactly where the killer incapacitated his victims, as well as the location of the long-fabled “secret laboratory” where he committed murder and performed both dismemberment and decapitation.
Was Eliot Ness’s secret suspect the Mad Butcher? Thanks to this new information, Badal is finally able to answer that question with certainty. This new, authoritative edition also includes an appendix by geographical profiler Luke G. Moussa.
Winner of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“[Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is] a rarity: a mature debut, a first book of poems with time-tested virtues. . . . Unlike many of the Vietnam poems written at the time of the war or shortly thereafter—poems of anger or protest—Edward Micus’s poems are composed, in every sense of that word. They delineate and measure their subjects; they do not advocate or hector; they do not sentimentalize. Many of them, like ‘Ambush Moon’ and ‘So We Shot,’ will take their places among the very best war poems. . . . The Infirmary is a book that keeps deepening its concerns. For all its early charm, it pretties up nothing. Yet it’s not without humor, and its prose interludes are written with the same care that the poems themselves exhibit.”<br /> —from the foreword by Stephen Dunn, <br /> Judge of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
American Women, Transatlantic Marriages, and Anglo-American Relations, 1865-1945
From 1865 to 1945, a number of prominent marriages united American heiresses and members of the British aristocracy. In Informal Ambassadors, author Dana Cooper examines the lives and marriages of the American-born, British-wed Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill, Mary Endicott Chamberlain, Vicereine Mary Leiter Curzon, Duchess Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, and Lady Nancy Astor. This cohort of women surprised their families—both British and American—by exhibiting an extraordinary degree of agency in a period that placed women solidly outside the boundaries of politics and diplomacy.
Without the formal title of diplomat or membership in Parliament, these women nonetheless exerted significant influence in the male-dominated arena of foreign affairs and international politics. As the wives of leading members of the British aristocracy, they had uncompromised and unlimited access to the eyes and ears of individuals at the highest level in Great Britain—the very decision makers who formulated and implemented foreign policy with their home country. Collectively and individually, these informal ambassadors worked to improve relations at the turn of the twentieth century, and by no coincidence, the United States and Great Britain began to view one another less as adversaries and more as allies.
Combining diplomatic history with gender and women’s history, Informal Ambassadors demonstrates not only that could women act as transnational envoys at a time when they could not apply for State Department employment but that they influenced Anglo-American relations to a degree never before considered by historians.
The New Deal and the Great Depression
In this second volume of the Interpreting American History series, experts on the 1930s address the changing historical interpretations of a critical period in American history. Following a decade of prosperity, the Great Depression brought unemployment, economic ruin, poverty, and a sense of hopelessness to millions of Americans. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs aimed to bring relief, recovery, and reform to the masses.
More than seventy-five years after Roosevelt took the oath as president, Americans are still debating what did and did not happen in the 1930s to help the nation recover from its worst economic depression. Proponents and detractors have cast the successes and failures of the New Deal in many lights. Historians have argued that the New Deal went too far, that it did not go far enough, that it created more problems than it solved, and even that its shaky foundations are the reason for the economic and social instability of the Great Recession of the early twenty-first century.
The contributors to this volume explore how historians have judged the nature, effects, and outcomes of the New Deal. Arranged in three sections, the essays discuss Roosevelt’s New Deal revolution, explore the groups on the fringes of the New Deal, and consider the legacies of 1930s reform. Chapters focus on specific areas of study, including politics, agriculture, the environment, labor, African Americans, the economy, social programs, the arts, mobilization for World War II, and memory. These fields represent today’s emerging interpretations of one of the most significant decades of the twentieth century.
Interpreting American History: The New Deal and the Great Depression introduces readers to this important period by examining the major historical debates that surround the 1930s, giving students a succinct and indispensable historiographic overview.
“In the old story of love and loss, Lisa Ampleman’s I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You cuts to the core of the matter with concision and subtlety. Hearts are laid bare, dissected, even grown anew. Masterfully structured and alert to the most vital details, this collection has lots to tell us—and a voice at once authentic and lyrical with which to do it.” —Don Bogen
“In these poems, the beloved is a space the speaker moves through—at first with trepidation, then with gathering force—emerging finally into a hard-won world ravishing in its clarity under a brutally beautiful ‘sky pinking up/like a newly healed limb.’ The poems of Lisa Ampleman’s collection don’t flinch, and the reward of their acute seeing is a song that’s sustenance itself.” —Kerri Webster
“Lisa Ampleman’s subtle and beautifully wrought poems make way for the possibility that all is not ‘frenzy’ in this ‘agitated world.’ Although we might be ‘the walking wounded,’ and ‘like Thomas/need scars to believe,’ the poems assure us that we heal, that wholeness and grace await us.” —Eric Pankey
“A prairie is plain, they say—those who have not stood in one. And so, too, is an ordinary heartbreak, until Lisa Ampleman begins to unfold it in these closely observed and quietly surprising poems. Salvation doesn’t live here, but there’s plenty to salvage in the wry, self-effacing metaphors by which she harvests what wisdom experience yields.” —Susan Tichy,
In his day he dominated the political landscape like no one in Ohio’s long, proud history ever had—or likely ever will. James A. Rhodes (1909–2001) plotted a path that took him from tiny Coalton, Ohio, to the governor’s office. In this first biography of Rhodes, his life and political career are scrutinized by those who knew him best—the working press. Written by three journalists who covered Rhodes in overlapping periods, this account traces, often with uproarious humor, his unlikely rise to power. It discusses his four terms as governor, his subsequent 20 years as a political elder, and even his avocation as an inventor.
Rhodes was a far cry from a typical politician, shunning ideology to the point of alienating Republican leaders. He was elected because he promised the unobtainable, and at times he actually delivered. “Find out what people want, and give it to them” was his credo. In private life, he joined cronies in the business world and made millions of dollars, sometimes using inside knowledge to help start commercial ventures.
James A. Rhodes, Ohio Colossus recounts Rhodes’s upbringing in a single-parent household, his modest schooling, and an illness that deprived him of a lung. It chronicles the attempts to tar Rhodes with scandal and the tragedy that indelibly marred his tenure as governor—the National Guard shootings of student protesters at Kent State University in May 1970. His later years as governor were highlighted by his stubborn resistance to environmental protection, something he thought would cost jobs, especially in the coal industry. According to Rhodes, “Every social ill among able-bodied Ohioans” was the consequence of joblessness.
In his post-public life, Rhodes got a patent on a complex system of airlocks and filters making indoor air more than 99 percent germ-free. He envisioned an “Environmental City” that could prolong life. His grandiose ideas didn’t always pan out in the short run, but in some cases they came to fruition years later. He once devised a scheme for a bridge across Lake Erie, which was at first received with public ridicule, and four decades after he proposed it was considered a revolutionary concept.
The office of governor was tailor-made for him and he knew it. He seldom apologized and never looked back.
The Politics of Principle
This first full-length biography of John Joyce Gilligan argues that Ohio’s sixty-second governor was the most significant Democrat in the state’s postwar years. But it is more than the story of a governor. Through painstaking research and dozens of interviews, author Mark Bernstein paints a vivid picture of Ohio’s past and its prospects for the future that includes an array of lesser politicians— some of them outlandish—who aided or opposed Gilligan’s efforts.
Gilligan did not intend to have a political career. The Cincinnati native resolved to join a Jesuit seminary, but when Pearl Harbor was bombed, he enlisted in the Navy and won the Silver Star at Okinawa. While on leave, Gilligan married the former Katie Dixon, whom he had known since childhood. After the war, the Gilligans settled in Cincinnati where Jack attended graduate school and taught at Xavier University. What drew him into politics was Adlai Stevenson’s 1952 presidential campaign, which ignited in Gilligan a belief in politics as public service. His service included a decade on Cincinnati’s city council and his 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” congress as the representative for Ohio’s First District.
Through these years, Ohio’s Democratic Party was largely conservative. It was dominated by five-time governor and two-term senator Frank Lausche. Gilligan allied himself with labor, minorities, and academics to launch the long shot senatorial campaign that defeated the incumbent in the 1968 Democratic primary. Though Gilligan lost by a narrow margin that November, he emerged as the state’s leading Democrat and its successful 1970 gubernatorial candidate.
By the 1970s, Ohio’s ills were manifest. Schools closed for lack of funds; the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire. Once in office, Gilligan financed improvements by maneuvering the state’s first income taxes through a Republican-controlled legislature. He expanded support for education and mental health, while establishing the Ohio EPA and campaign finance reform. It was a record that prompted talk of a Gilligan presidential run in 1976.
Bernstein examines the reasons for Gilligan’s wholly unexpected defeat for reelection in 1974 and shows that afterward, Gilligan steadfastly pursued his commitment to civic engagement by heading the Peace Studies program at the University of Notre Dame, establishing the Civic Forum at the University of Cincinnati and, in 1999, running successfully for Cincinnati school board—at age 78.
John J. Gilligan: The Politics of Principle presents a lively and fascinating portrait of a distinctive figure of postwar American liberalism.