The true history of a legendary American folk hero In the 1820s, a fellow named Sam Patch grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, working there (when he wasn't drinking) as a mill hand for one of America's new textile companies. Sam made a name for himself one day by jumping seventy feet into the tumultuous waters below Pawtucket Falls. When in 1827 he repeated the stunt in Paterson, New Jersey, another mill town, an even larger audience gathered to cheer on the daredevil they would call the "Jersey Jumper." Inevitably, he went to Niagara Falls, where in 1829 he jumped not once but twice in front of thousands who had paid for a good view. The distinguished social historian Paul E. Johnson gives this deceptively simple story all its deserved richness, revealing in its characters and social settings a virtual microcosm of Jacksonian America. He also relates the real jumper to the mythic Sam Patch who turned up as a daring moral hero in the works of Hawthorne and Melville, in London plays and pantomimes, and in the spotlight with Davy Crockett—a Sam Patch who became the namesake of Andrew Jackson's favorite horse. In his shrewd and powerful analysis, Johnson casts new light on aspects of American society that we may have overlooked or underestimated. This is innovative American history at its best.
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Stunts of Late Nineteenth- Century New York: Aestheticised Precarity, Endangered Liveness examines the emergence of stunts in the media, politics, sport and art of New York at the turn of the twentieth century. This book investigates stunts in sport, media and politics, demonstrating how these risky performances tapped into anxieties and fantasies concerning work, freedom, gendered/ raced/ classed bodies and the commodifi cation of human life. Its case studies examine bridge jumping, extreme walking contests, stunt journalists such as Nellie Bly, and cycling feats including Annie Londonderry’s round- the- world venture. Supported by extensive archival research and Performance Studies theorisations of precarity, liveness and surrogation, Smith theorises an under- examined form which is still prevalent in art, politics and commerce, to show what stunts reveal about value, risk and human life. Suitable for scholars and practitioners across a range of subjects, from Performance Studies to gender studies, to media studies, Stunts of Late Nineteenth- Century New York explores how stunts turned everyday precarity into a spectacle.
Paul Johnson and Sean Wilentz brilliantly recapture the forgotten story of Matthias the Prophet, imbuing their richly researched account with the dramatic force of a novel. In the hands of Johnson and Wilentz, the strange tale of Matthias opens a fascinating window into the turbulent movements of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening--movements that swept up great numbers of evangelical Americans and gave rise to new sects like the Mormons. Into this teeming environment walked a down-and-out carpenter named Robert Matthews, who announced himself as Matthias, prophet of the God of the Jews. His hypnotic personality drew in a cast of unforgettable characters--the meekly devout businessman Elijah Pierson, who once tried to raise his late wife from the dead; the young attractive Christian couple, Benjamin Folger and his wife Ann (who seduced the woman-hating Prophet); and the shrewd ex-slave Isabella Van Wagenen, regarded by some as "the most wicked of the wicked." None was more colorful than the Prophet himself, a bearded, thundering tyrant who gathered his followers into an absolutist household, using their money to buy an elaborate, eccentric wardrobe, and reordering their marital relations. By the time the tensions within the kingdom exploded into a clash with the law, Matthias had become a national scandal.
The hundreds of rural cemeteries in Upstate New York are the bucolic final resting places of a plethora of legendary Americans from the recent and distant past. For over a decade, Chuck D’Imperio traveled to research the beautiful and historic region in search of some of the most famous (and infamous) figures in American history. The product of this labor of love is Great Graves of Upstate New York: Final Resting Places of 70 True American Legends. Many of the names are familiar to any American—William Rockefeller, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known as Mark Twain), Frederick Douglass, Lucille Ball, and Harriet Tubman, and four U.S. presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, and Chester Arthur. An equally colorful host of local characters who shaped the culture of Upstate New York are also featured, including: Kate Smith, “The God Bless America Girl”; mafia figure Joe “Joe the Barber” Barbara; Dr. Mary Walker, America’s only female Congressional Medal of Honor winner; Jennie Grossinger, “The Catskill’s Innkeeper”; and Ernie Davis, “The Pride of the Syracuse Orangemen.” From Syracuse to West Point to Binghamton, and on to Cooperstown, Niagara Falls, and Lake Placid, Great Graves of Upstate New York is not only a fact-filled volume on the region’s cemeteries, museums, and historical sites, but a peek into the lives of 70 distinguished individuals who have shaped American history.
Well before Evel Knievel or Hollywood stuntmen, reality television or the X Games, North America had a long tradition of stunt performance, of men (and some women) who sought media attention and popular fame with public feats of daring. Many of these feats—jumping off bridges, climbing steeples and buildings, swimming incredible distances, or doing tricks with wild animals—had their basis in the manual trades or in older entertainments like the circus. In The Thrill Makers, Jacob Smith shows how turn-of-the-century bridge jumpers, human flies, lion tamers, and stunt pilots first drew crowds to their spectacular displays of death-defying action before becoming a crucial, yet often invisible, component of Hollywood film stardom. Smith explains how these working-class stunt performers helped shape definitions of American manhood, and pioneered a form of modern media celebrity that now occupies an increasingly prominent place in our contemporary popular culture.
- Author : Catherine Odlum
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 1885
- Genre : Swimming
- Pages : 207
- ISBN : UCAL:$B513088
"Risk" is a capacious term used to describe the uncertainties that arise from physical, financial, political, and social activities. Practically everything we do carries some level of riskâ€”threats to our bodies, property, and animals. How do we determine when the risk is too high? In considering this question, Arwen P. Mohun offers a thought-provoking study of danger and how people have managed it from pre-industrial and industrial America up until today. Mohun outlines a vernacular risk culture in early America, one based on ordinary experience and common sense. The rise of factories and machinery eventually led to shocking accidents, which, she explains, risk-management experts and the "gospel of safety" sought to counter. Finally, she examines the simultaneous blossoming of risk-taking as fun and the aggressive regulations that follow from the consumer-products-safety movement. Risk and society, a rapidly growing area of historical research, interests sociologists, psychologists, and other social scientists. Americans have learned to tame risk in both the workplace and the home. Yet many of us still like amusement park rides that scare the devil out of us; they dare us to take risks.
- Author : Andrew M. Schocket
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2007
- Genre : Business & Economics
- Pages : 274
- ISBN : STANFORD:36105123216017
During its first heady decades, the United States promised to become a fully democratic society with unprecedented liberty and opportunity. Yet, as political rights spread, a rising elite gained control over the sources of prosperity by means of the institution that has since come to symbolize capitalist America--the corporation. In this study, Andrew M. Schocket analyzes the establishment, growth, and operations of both commercial and municipal corporations in the nation's premier city, Philadelphia. From the 1780s through the 1820s, members of Philadelphia's privileged class formed corporations in order to consolidate their capital and political influence. By controlling regional transportation networks as well as banks and the municipal water supply, they exploited the ambitions of local farmers, artisans, and entrepreneurs who depended upon corporate services. Meanwhile, corporate insiders managed to insulate their decision making not only from the public but even from the majority of their own stockholders. In short, in this leading commercial city with a reputation for innovation, a corporate aristocracy created a new form of power. At the same time, corporations answered needs that private individuals or partnerships could not--and government, uncertain of its own authority, would not--supply. Resolving the apparent contradiction between the spread of political democracy and the consolidation of economic power, Schocket provocatively argues that corporations helped to generate the relatively diffuse prosperity of the early national period. Though controlled by the few, they offered services that allowed middle-class entrepreneurs to flourish. This mixed legacy has resulted in the continuing ambivalence toward U.S. corporations today.
- Author : American Historical Association
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2005
- Genre : History
- Pages : 231
- ISBN : UVA:X004837765
Some programs include also the programs of societies meeting concurrently with the association.