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A History of the First Campaign in Massachusetts to Eradicate the Gypsy Moth, 1890-1901
In The Great Gypsy Moth War, Robert J. Spear presents the untold story behind the importation and release of the gypsy moth in North America and the astonishing series of coincidences that brought the state of Massachusetts to a decade-long war against this tenacious insect. Spear traces the events leading up to the beginning of the war in 1890, notes the causes for its failure, and shows the terrible legacy it left as the precedent for all subsequent insect-eradication campaigns. During the Civil War, when the supply of cotton from southern fields was disrupted, the owners of northern textile mills looked elsewhere for raw fiber. One source was silk. Among those experimenting with silkworm production was a Frenchman named Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, who had settled outside of Boston. It was Trouvelot who imported the gypsy moths and inadvertently allowed them to escape. Soon the invasion was on and a counteroffensive was required. Spear reveals the turbulent undercurrents in the eradication campaign when the enthusiasm of the entomologists in charge turned into desperation upon the discovery that their alien adversary was much tougher than they thought. Fighting a war they could not win and dared not lose, the leaders of the campaign resorted to political maneuvering, cheap tricks, and outright misrepresentation to maintain a façade of success, urging the Commonwealth to continue funding the war long after any chance of victory had faded. More than just reviewing the important events of this historic episode, Spear tells the story in an engaging way, often through the first-hand accounts of those who were directly involved. Much of what Spear has written is new, the recounting is lively, and the information he presents shows that almost all of the previous beliefs about the campaign to eradicate the gypsy moths are myths. In the process, he also traces the rise of modern economic entomology and the birth of the pesticide industry.
The long era of liberal reform that began with the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century and continued with the New Deal, culminated in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Inspired by the example of his mentor, Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson sought to extend the agenda of the New Deal beyond the realm of economic security to civil rights, housing, education, and health care. In the end, however, his bold ambitions for a Great Society, initiated against the backdrop of an increasingly costly and divisive war, fueled a conservative backlash and undermined faith in liberalism itself. In this volume of original essays, a distinguished group of scholars and activists reassess the mixed legacy of this third major reform period of the last century. They examine not only the policies and programs that were part of LBJ's Great Society, but also the underlying ideological and political shifts that changed the nature of liberalism. Some of the essays focus on Lyndon Johnson himself and the institution of the modern presidency, others on specific reform measures, and still others on the impact of these initiatives in the decades that followed. Perspectives, methodologies, and conclusions differ, yet all of the contributors agree that the Great Society represented an important chapter in the story of the American republic and its ongoing struggle to reconcile the power of the state with the rights of individuals—a struggle that has continued into the twenty-first century. In addition to the editors, contributors include Henry J. Abraham, Brian Balogh, Rosalyn Baxandall, Edward Berkowitz, Eileen Boris, Richard A. Cloward, Hugh Davis Graham, Hugh Heclo, Frederick Hess, William E. Leuchtenburg, Nelson Lichtenstein, Patrick McGuinn, Wilson Carey McWilliams, R. Shep Melnick, Frances Fox Piven, and David M. Shribman.
In the fall of 1967, Carol McEldowney, a twenty-four-year-old community organizer living in Cleveland, embarked on a remarkable journey. In a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, she traveled illegally to North Vietnam with fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to meet the enemy face-to-face. She was determined to understand the foe that had troubled America's leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye toward history and a recognition of the significance of her journey, McEldowney documented her experiences in the journal reproduced in this book. Through her words we bear witness to a political ideology that saw a connection between the struggles of the poor in America and the tragedy of war-torn Vietnam. McEldowney first gained the respect of her fellow activists as a student organizer at the University of Michigan. High regard for her intelligence, skill, and hard work with SDS's Economic Recovery Action Program during the years following her graduation in 1964 earned her an invitation to attend an international conference in Czechoslovakia and an offer to continue on to North Vietnam. Though her journal displays only traces of the feminist consciousness that would mark her later political activism, she recorded her observations of North Vietnam clearly aware that she was an outsider—a woman not subject to the military draft, not married to a soldier, and without the heartache of a brother or even a close friend serving in the war. McEldowney searched for glimpses of everyday life that would help her to better relate to women in Hanoi and the hardships they faced during wartime. As she traveled in North Vietnam, she sought a deeper understanding of the events of her time. Her journal provides readers with a unique lens through which to study those events and gain a new perspective on the Vietnam War era.
A Cultural Biography
Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908) was celebrated as one of the country's most respected artists, credited with opening the field of sculpture to women and cited as a model of female ability and American refinement. In this biographical study, Kate Culkin explores Hosmer's life and work and places her in the context of a notable group of expatriate writers and artists who gathered in Rome in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1852 Hosmer moved from Boston to Rome, where she shared a house with actress Charlotte Cushman and soon formed close friendships with such prominent expatriates as Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and fellow sculptors John Gibson, Emma Stebbins, and William Wetmore Story. References to Hosmer or characters inspired by her appear in the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Kate Field among others. Culkin argues that Hosmer's success was made possible by her extensive network of supporters, including her famous friends, boosters of American gentility, and women's rights advocates. This unlikely coalition, along with her talent, ambition, and careful maintenance of her public profile, ultimately brought her great acclaim. Culkin also addresses Hosmer's critique of women's position in nineteenth-century culture through her sculpture, women's rights advocates' use of high art to promote their cause, the role Hosmer's relationships with women played in her life and success, and the complex position a female artist occupied within a country increasingly interested in proving its gentility.
Throughout this collection, which was plucked from a pile of 300 manuscripts and awarded the Grace Paley Prize in short fiction, Caspers details the many ways reality can interfere with our dreams. Not surprisingly, dissatisfaction becomes a dominant theme. . . . Many of Caspers's stories are set in Minnesota's cattle and dairy country, and all of them traffic in the kind of Midwestern realism that doesn't rely on pyrotechnics to generate dramatic heat. Throughout, Caspers's people—it's difficult to consider some of them mere characters—question the decisions they've made or the ones they refuse to make. There's nothing flashy about Caspers's prose; like the beauty of the prairie itself, its attraction lies in details seen up close.New York Times Book Review
Print, Manuscript, and Political Culture in Revolutionary England
John Milton's Commonplace Book is the only known political notebook of a radical polemicist writing during the English civil war, and the most extensive manuscript record of reading we have from any major English poet from this period. In this rethinking of a surprisingly neglected body of evidence, Thomas Fulton explores Milton's reading practices and the ways he used this reading in his writing. Fulton's close study of the Commonplace Book suggests that this reading record is far from the haphazard collection of notes that it first appears but is instead a program of research which had its own ideology that responded to the reading habits and practices of Milton's contemporaries. Created mostly in the late 1630s and during the overthrow of the Stuart government in the 1640s, Milton's reading notes yield a number of surprises, the most fundamental being a highly structured commitment to political history. Fulton explores the relationship between the manuscript author and his polemical persona, placing the Commonplace Book, the manuscript "Digression" to the History of Britain, and some wartime poems in revealing contrast to the printed political texts of this period.
This powerful novel begins with the ambiguities of illness and moves on to explore both the reasonable and the absurd actions of those who suffer and those who exploit suffering. The setting is a failed farm on the Central California coast during a time of rural isolation and decline. Virge, the protagonist, is an awkwardly introspective young man living with his parents, suffering from lingering effects of an accidental childhood poisoning, including a lack of coordination and the possibility of mental weakness. Within the first few pages, Virge trips, falls, and finds that his hands have become paralyzed—a potential disaster for someone unable to afford a doctor’s visit. Soon, however, an elderly and possibly criminal doctor, offering free therapy, moves in, much to the dismay of bedridden Virge. While the physician endeavors to restore the patient’s hands with a series of highly suspect injections, Virge recovers his sense of autonomy and an urge to escape the suffocating domestic circumstances that have perhaps caused his illnesses in the first place. A History of Hands is a novel that invites the reader into a richly and eccentrically detailed world where fevered imaginations and dark comedy prevail, but where the determination to escape the ambiguities of illness leads to the equal ambiguities of health and freedom.
The Intersection of Art, Science, and Bureaucracy
Dedicated to the art of the United States, the Smithsonian American Art Museum contains works by more than 7,000 artists and is widely regarded as an invaluable resource for the study and preservation of the nation's cultural heritage. But as Lois Marie Fink shows in this probing narrative, the history of the museum is hardly one of steady progress. Instead, it reads like a nineteenth-century melodrama, replete with villains and heroes, destruction by fire, dashed hopes, and periods of subsistence survival—all leading eventually to a happy ending. Originating as the art gallery stipulated in the 1846 founding legislation of the Smithsonian, the museum developed within an institution that was essentially controlled by scientists. In its early years, the museum's holdings included a diverse selection of art and artifacts, mostly donated from private collections. Government support varied in response to shifting attitudes of officials and the public toward American art, ranging from avid admiration at the turn of the twentieth century to a tepid response and an almost total withdrawal of funding a generation later in favor of European masterworks. For decades the museum followed scientific organizational principles in exhibitions and collection strategies. Far into the twentieth century, accessions remained tied to nineteenth-century figurative art, reflecting the strength and influence of anthropology and biological sciences at the Smithsonian. A key breakthrough for modern art came in 1964 with the appointment of Smithsonian secretary Dillon Ripley, a scientist who strongly promoted the art side of the institution. With renewed support for expanding the collection and programs, the museum moved in 1968 to its present location in the Patent Office Building. In recounting the history of the museum from 1846 to 1980, Fink unravels the various levels of institutional authority, power, governance, and bureaucracy and shows how people at each level influenced the fortunes of the collection. She also places changing concepts of art and museum practice in the context of national ideals and Washington realities.
Destruction and Preservation
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany systematically destroyed an estimated 100 million books throughout occupied Europe, an act that was inextricably bound up with the murder of 6 million Jews. By burning and looting libraries and censoring “un-German” publications, the Nazis aimed to eradicate all traces of Jewish culture along with the Jewish people themselves. The Holocaust and the Book examines this bleak chapter in the history of printing, reading, censorship, and libraries. Topics include the development of Nazi censorship policies, the celebrated library of the Vilna ghetto, the confiscation of books from the Sephardic communities in Rome and Salonika, the experience of reading in the ghettos and concentration camps, the rescue of Polish incunabula, the uses of fine printing by the Dutch underground, and the suppression of Jewish books and authors in the Soviet Union. Several authors discuss the continuing relevance of Nazi book burnings to the present day, with essays on German responses to Friedrich Nietzsche and the destruction of Bosnian libraries in the 1990s. The collection also includes eyewitness accounts by Holocaust survivors and a translation of Herman Kruk's report on the Vilna ghetto library. An annotated bibliography offers readers a concise guide to research in this growing field.
The Cultural Life of Jews in Small-Town New England
Jews have lived in small-town New England since the colonial era, but during the last hundred years they have been especially active contributors to the region's cultural life. Part oral history, part ethnography, and part literary portrait, How Strange It Seems tells the story of this often overlooked group, tracing its patterns of settlement, economic activity, civic involvement, and religious life since the late 1800s. Based on more than fifty interviews with men and women of all ages from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, it seeks to understand what is distinctive—and not so distinctive—about contemporary Jewish communities outside the larger urban centers of the Northeast. Michael Hoberman weaves the personal stories of these individuals and families into a collective narrative that offers as much folklore as history and is equal parts Jewish and Yankee. He introduces us to Hiram Adelman, a Russian immigrant peddler and potato farmer who settled in northernmost Maine because its climate was comparable to his native Siberia, and to Shmuel Simenowitz, an urban transplant who produces kosher maple syrup in southern Vermont. We also meet Suzie Laskin, who moved to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire in the 1900s and soon established a local havurah, and Bob August of Whately, Massachusetts, who once ran what may have been the world's only Christmas tree farm owned by a Jewish family. Each section of the book explores how small-town New England Jews have both departed from and mimicked the broader patterns of Jewish American experience, while also illustrating how they have acclimated themselves to local practices without relinquishing a strong sense of Jewish identity. Accompanying the text are photographs by Janice Sorensen that include portraits of many of the interviewees and lively glimpses of the region's present-day Jewish revival.