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The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science

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The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science

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Grand Central's Engineer

William J. Wilgus and the Planning of Modern Manhattan

Kurt C. Schlichting

Few people have had as profound an impact on the history of New York City as William J. Wilgus. As chief engineer of the New York Central Railroad, Wilgus conceived the Grand Central Terminal, the city’s magnificent monument to America’s Railway Age. Kurt C. Schlichting here examines the remarkable career of this innovator, revealing how his tireless work moving people and goods over and under Manhattan Island’s surrounding waterways forever changed New York’s bustling transportation system. After his herculean efforts on behalf of Grand Central, the most complicated construction project in New York’s history, Wilgus turned to solving the city’s transportation quandary: Manhattan—the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of the United States in the twentieth century—was separated from the mainland by two major rivers to the west and east, a deep-water estuary to the south, and the Harlem River to the north. Wilgus believed that railroads and mass transportation provided the answer to New York City’s complicated geography. His ingenious ideas included a freight subway linking rail facilities in New Jersey with manufacturers and shippers in Manhattan, a freight and passenger tunnel connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn, and a belt railway interconnecting sixteen private railroads serving the metropolitan area. Schlichting’s deep passion for Wilgus and his engineering achievements are evident in the pages of this fascinating work. Wilgus was a true pioneer, and Schlichting ensures that his brilliant contributions to New York City’s transportation system will not be forgotten.

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Hunting and Fishing in the New South

Black Labor and White Leisure after the Civil War

Scott E. Giltner

This innovative study re-examines the dynamics of race relations in the post–Civil War South from an altogether fresh perspective: field sports. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, wealthy white men from Southern cities and the industrial North traveled to the hunting and fishing lodges of the old Confederacy—escaping from the office to socialize among like-minded peers. These sportsmen depended on local black guides who knew the land and fishing holes and could ensure a successful outing. For whites, the ability to hunt and fish freely and employ black laborers became a conspicuous display of their wealth and social standing. But hunting and fishing had been a way of life for all Southerners—blacks included—since colonial times. After the war, African Americans used their mastery of these sports to enter into market activities normally denied people of color, thereby becoming more economically independent from their white employers. Whites came to view black participation in hunting and fishing as a serious threat to the South’s labor system. Scott E. Giltner shows how African-American freedom developed in this racially tense environment—how blacks' sense of competence and authority flourished in a Jim Crow setting. Giltner’s thorough research using slave narratives, sportsmen’s recollections, records of fish and game clubs, and sporting periodicals offers a unique perspective on the African-American struggle for independence from the end of the Civil War to the 1920s.

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Men of Empire

Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State

Monique O'Connell

The city-state of Venice, with a population of less than 100,000, dominated a fragmented and fragile empire at the boundary between East and West, between Latin Christian, Greek Orthodox, and Muslim worlds. In this institutional and administrative history, Monique O’Connell explains the structures, processes, practices, and laws by which Venice maintained its vast overseas holdings. The legal, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity within Venice’s empire made it difficult to impose any centralization or unity among its disparate territories. O’Connell has mined the vast archival resources to explain how Venice’s central government was able to administer and govern its extensive empire. O’Connell finds that successful governance depended heavily on the experience of governors, an interlocking network of noble families, who were sent overseas to negotiate the often conflicting demands of Venice’s governing council and the local populations. In this nexus of state power and personal influence, these imperial administrators played a crucial role in representing the state as a hegemonic power; creating patronage and family connections between Venetian patricians and their subjects; and using the judicial system to negotiate a balance between local and imperial interests. In explaining the institutions and individuals that permitted this type of negotiation, O’Connell offers a historical example of an early modern empire at the height of imperial expansion.

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The Natural Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish

Reason and Fancy during the Scientific Revolution

Lisa T. Sarasohn

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, led a remarkable—and controversial—life, writing poetry and prose and philosophizing on the natural world at a time when women were denied any means of a formal education. Lisa T. Sarasohn acutely examines the brilliant work of this untrained mind and explores the unorthodox development of her natural philosophy. Cavendish wrote copiously on such wide-ranging topics as gender, power, manners, scientific method, and animal rationality. The first woman to publish her own natural philosophy, Cavendish was not afraid to challenge the new science and even ridiculed the mission of the Royal Society. Her philosophy reflected popular culture and engaged with the most radical philosophies of her age. To understand Cavendish’s scientific thought, Sarasohn explains, is to understand the reception of new knowledge through both insider and outsider perspectives in early modern England. In close readings of Cavendish’s writings—poetry, treatises, stories, plays, romances, and letters—Sarasohn explores the fantastic and gendered elements of her natural philosophy. Cavendish saw knowledge as a continuum between reason and fancy, and her work integrated imaginative speculation and physical science. Because she was denied the university education available to her male counterparts, she embraced an epistemology that favored contemplation and intuition over logic and empiricism. The Natural Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish serves as a guide to the unusual and complex philosophy of one of the seventeenth century’s most intriguing minds. It not only celebrates Cavendish as a true figure of the scientific age but also contributes to a broader understanding of the contested nature of the scientific revolution.

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Purity Lost

Transgressing Boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1000–1400

Steven A. Epstein

Purity Lost investigates the porous nature of social, political, and religious boundaries prevalent in the eastern Mediterranean—from the Black Sea to Egypt—during the Middle Ages. In this intriguing study, Steven A. Epstein finds that people consistently defied, overlooked, or transcended restrictions designed to preserve racial and cultural purity in order to establish relationships with those different from themselves. These mixed relationships—among people who did not share language, creed, or skin color—undermined the pervasive claims of purity. They forced people to reflect on their own identities and the bonds—whether social, political, religious, or racial—that defined their lives. Drawing on examples from daily life and interstate politics, Epstein takes a close look at the renegades and rule-breakers of this era. He explores race, master/slave relationships, diplomatic relations between Christian Italians and Muslim Turks, religious conversions from Christian to Muslim and vice versa, and religious boundaries of the human and the angelic. Epstein reveals the modern view of cultural, ethnic, and religious purity in the early modern Mediterranean as a mirage, and he offers new insights into how present-day conceptions about creed, color, ethnicity, and language originated.

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The Savant and the State

Science and Cultural Politics in Nineteenth-Century France

Robert Fox

There has been a tendency to view science in nineteenth-century France as the exclusive territory of the nation’s leading academic centers and the powerful Paris-based administrators who controlled them. Ministries and the great savants and institutions of the capital seem to have defined the field, while historians have ignored or glossed over traditions on the periphery of science. In The Savant and the State, Robert Fox charts new historiographical territory by synthesizing the practices and thought of state-sanctioned scientists and those of independent communities of savants and commentators with very different political, religious, and cultural priorities. Fox provides a comprehensive history of the public face of French science from the Bourbon Restoration to the outbreak of the Great War. Following the Enlightenment, many different interests competed to define the role of science and technology in French society. Political and religious conservatives tended to blame the scientific community for upsetting traditional values and, implicitly, delivering France into the hands of revolutionary extremists and Napoleonic bureaucrats. Scientists, for their part, embraced the belief that observation and experimentation offered the surest way to the knowledge and wisdom on which the welfare of society depended. This debate, Fox argues, became a contest for the hearts and minds of the French citizenry.

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Selling Beauty

Cosmetics, Commerce, and French Society, 1750–1830

Morag Martin

Morag Martin’s history of the cosmetic industry in France examines the evolution of popular tastes and standards of beauty during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As the French citizenry rebelled against the excesses of the aristocracy, there was a parallel shift in consumer beauty practices. Powdered wigs, alabaster white skin, and rouged cheeks disappeared in favor of a more natural and simple style. Selling Beauty challenges expectations about past fashions and offers a unique look into consumer culture and business practices. Martin introduces readers to the social and economic world of cosmetic production and consumption, recounts criticisms against the use of cosmetics from a variety of voices, and examines how producers and retailers responded to quickly evolving fashions. Martin shows that the survival of the industry depended on its ability to find customers among the emerging working and middle classes. But the newfound popularity of cosmetics raised serious questions. Critics—from radical philosophes to medical professionals—complained that the use of cosmetics was a threat to social morals and questioned the healthfulness of products that contained arsenic, mercury, and lead. Cosmetic producers embraced these withering criticisms, though, skillfully addressing these concerns in their marketing campaigns, reassuring consumers of the moral and physical safety of their products. Rather than disappearing along with the Old Regime, the commerce of cosmetics, reimagined and redefined, flourished in the early 19th century, as political ideals and Enlightenment philosophies radically altered popular sentiment.

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Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal

Workers and Workplace in the Preindustrial City

Robert C. Davis

The master ship builders of seventeenth-century Venice formed part of what was arguably the greatest manufacturing complex in early modern Europe. As many as three thousand masters, apprentices, and laborers regularly worked in the city's enormous shipyards. This is the social history of the men and women who helped maintain not only the city's dominion over the sea but also its stability and peace. Drawing on a variety of documents that include nearly a thousand petitions from the shipbuilders to the Venetian governments as well as on parish records, inventories, and wills, Robert C. Davis offers a vivid and compelling account of these early modern workers. He explores their mentality and describes their private and public worlds (which in some ways, he argues, prefigured the factories and company towns of a later era). He uncovers the far-reaching social and cultural role played by women in this industrial community. He shows how the Venetian government formed its shipbuilders into a militia to maintain public order. And he describes the often colorful ways in which Venetians dealt with the tensions that role provoked—including officially sanctioned community fistfights on the city's bridges. The recent decision by the Italian government to return the Venetian Arsenal to civilian control has sparked renewed interest in the subject among historians. Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal offers new evidence on the ways in which large, state-run manufacturing operations furthered the industrialization process, as well as on the extent of workers' influence on the social dynamics of the early modern European city.

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Tribe, Race, History

Native Americans in Southern New England, 1780–1880

Daniel R. Mandell

Tribe, Race, History examines American Indian communities in southern New England between the Revolution and Reconstruction, when Indians lived in the region’s socioeconomic margins, moved between semiautonomous communities and towns, and intermarried extensively with blacks and whites. Drawing from a wealth of primary documentation, Daniel R. Mandell centers his study on ethnic boundaries, particularly how those boundaries were constructed, perceived, and crossed. He analyzes connections and distinctions between Indians and their non-Indian neighbors with regard to labor, landholding, government, and religion; examines how emerging romantic depictions of Indians (living and dead) helped shape a unique New England identity; and looks closely at the causes and results of tribal termination in the region after the Civil War. Shedding new light on regional developments in class, race, and culture, this groundbreaking study is the first to consider all Native Americans throughout southern New England.

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True Yankees

The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity

Dane A. Morrison

With American independence came the freedom to sail anywhere in the world under a new flag. During the years between the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Wangxi, Americans first voyaged past the Cape of Good Hope, reaching the ports of Algiers and the bazaars of Arabia, the markets of India and the beaches of Sumatra, the villages of Cochin, China, and the factories of Canton. Their South Seas voyages of commerce and discovery introduced the infant nation to the world and the world to what the Chinese, Turks, and others dubbed the “new people.” Drawing on private journals, letters, ships’ logs, memoirs, and newspaper accounts, True Yankees traces America’s earliest encounters on a global stage through the exhilarating experiences of five Yankee seafarers. Merchant Samuel Shaw spent a decade scouring the marts of China and India for goods that would captivate the imaginations of his countrymen. Mariner Amasa Delano toured much of the Pacific hunting seals. Explorer Edmund Fanning circumnavigated the globe, touching at various Pacific and Indian Ocean ports of call. In 1829, twenty-year-old Harriett Low reluctantly accompanied her merchant uncle and ailing aunt to Macao, where she recorded trenchant observations of expatriate life. And sea captain Robert Bennet Forbes’s last sojourn in Canton coincided with the eruption of the First Opium War. How did these bold voyagers approach and do business with the people in the region, whose physical appearance, practices, and culture seemed so strange? And how did native men and women—not to mention the European traders who were in direct competition with the Americans—regard these upstarts who had fought off British rule? The accounts of these adventurous travelers reveal how they and hundreds of other mariners and expatriates influenced the ways in which Americans defined themselves, thereby creating a genuinely brash national character—the “true Yankee.” Readers who love history and stories of exploration on the high seas will devour this gripping tale.

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