History and the Texture of Modern Life: Selected Essays by Lucy Maynard Salmon

By Lucy Maynard Salmon

Virtually a century in the past Vassar professor Lucy Maynard Salmon (1853-1927) began down an highbrow direction that made her some of the most cutting edge historians of all time. Her old process depended on broad use of the files of daily life. in school, for instance, she shocked her scholars with laundry lists, grocery receipts, and newspapers, and requested them to interpret those "ephemera" as ancient records. What did the laundry receipts inform approximately those that used such providers? approximately those that ran such institutions? approximately structures of household carrier? company association? briefly, Salmon recentered heritage from narrative to technique, from tale to equipment. by means of analyzing topics that we go together with fabric tradition she expected present practices through a long time. Salmon used to be glossy in her matters and her equipment, and a feminist in either her pursuits and her procedure. The publication includes a cross-section of her essays, together with choices from her ground-breaking research "Domestic carrier" and her recognized essays "History in a again backyard" and "Main highway" within which she reads the standard setting of backyard and town in ancient phrases. additionally integrated are her outstanding essay at the architectural association of her kitchen and a hitherto unpublished essay on her former professor, Woodrow Wilson, that describes him in brilliant phrases as an "autophotographer." Salmon's modernism will startle those that haven't learn her earlier than.

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But other political influences more subtle and possibly more far-reaching in their effect have been at work. Our loose naturalization laws, and the determining of the qualifications for the right of suffrage by as many standards as there are states, have made the enormous number of men coming to this country annually an easy prey to scheming politicians and demagogues. ’’ If the laboring man feels the weight of the world, his wife and daughter believe that some share of the burden rests on them. The democratic tendencies of the country, the political practices of the day, have everywhere broken down the high wall of separation between employer and employee.

This was due partly to the influence of the English poor laws; partly to the system of indenture which bound a servant for seven, five, or four years, and to the system of slavery which bound the servant for life; partly to the system of apprenticeship which made the servant a member of the family of his master; partly to the custom prevailing in the country districts and small towns for unmarried workmen in all industries to board with their employers; and partly to the 36 Domestic Space lack of facilities for cheap and easy means of communication between different sections of the country.

A third political influence affecting the question was the establishment of treaty relations between the United States and China in ∞∫∂∂. This fact and the discovery of gold in California in ∞∫∂∫, together with the building of the Union Pacific railroad in ∞∫∏π–∞∫∏Ω, opened the doors to the immigration of considerable numbers of Chinese. ≤∫ The political and economic conditions in Europe and the breaking down of long-established customs in Asia have thus since ∞∫∑≠ brought to this country large numbers of men and women who have performed the household service previously done by native born Americans.

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