First Week Done! And it’s just getting started! Practicum Blog 4

Today was my fourth day at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I worked today from 9:15 to 2:15 for a total of five hours. I could move around quite seamlessly because I had my official badge on me today! Overall I had a really fun day and a really good first week! I’m certain the rest of my work will be a great time!

The first thing I did once I got settled in my work space was go right back to work on the second volume of records I was working on yesterday. This was Volume 14 of the Orphan Society of Philadelphia records, which dates from 1837-1840. Yesterday I had a lot of difficulty with physically reading the records, the shift in style from one volume to another was very dramatic. However, this morning I found some of the pages I had skipped over yesterday I had so much trouble reading them, so much easier to read today which was great!

I was able to get a decent chunk of work done in that book, reading over and making notes in Excel of a couple months of records took up a majority of my morning. I also met with my supervisor informally to basically touch base on internship things and updates on a revised version of my contract for the Practicum. I also asked if I could switch around my hours and work Tuesday to Friday next week, because The Historical Society would be closed for Memorial Day and I didn’t want to lose a chance to get hours and what not. It was all good, and I worked out a bunch of things, while also getting a lot of my records work done.

Another thing that happened today was my supervisor showed me the box that contains the folders of letters I’ll be working with during my internship. This was interesting, and I got really excited to start working with transcribing and my other duties. I just think it’s neat to be able to work with all these primary documents and especially after looking at all these records, gain a better perspective of this Philadelphia institution.

After all the discussions with my supervisor I went right back to work on the records and did that for the rest of the morning till I took a break for lunch. I was really worried I was going to get rained on because I didn’t pack an umbrella, but it all worked out. After I finished lunch, I decided to change things up and started reading through some of the letters to better familiarize myself with. I figured this was be just plain interesting, and it was also make them easier to transcribe once I got to that. It was really neat stuff, and I had a good time overall.

I’ve been having a fun time familiarizing myself and working with these documents. I know that my work here will have long term benefits for the institution and help out fellow researchers down the line in terms of connecting work to public history ideas. The process of my work with these materials will provide greater access to this information about a Philadelphia organization and shed light on charitable practices in the city.



Photo by Me: A post first week of internship treat!

“Record-Breaking Amount of Records to look into” Practicum Field Blog 3

Today was my third day at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I worked today from 9:30 to 1:20. I may shift my starting hours from 9:15 to 9:30 let’s see how the rest of the week goes. I really don’t need to arrive as early as I do, it’s more like I’m excited to get going kind of getting there early.
Today I got my official work badge, with my picture on it and everything. That’s great on like a lot of levels, but mainly I don’t have to worry about accidentally locking myself out when I eat lunch anymore, yay! That took up the first part of my morning, and that was a fun time.

I did a huge chunk of editing on the first volume of Orphan Society records I had to work on yesterday. So, I decided it might be a good idea to start looking at the next volume on the list, and that was a good idea. The first volume I had to work with was a very large book, and the next one is more like a normal sized book, maybe a little smaller. However, there is much more information and years span of records in the second volume despite its small size. With the first volume I had maybe like 20 names, roughly speaking, this one I had +40, it’ll take awhile basically, so it was good to get a head start.

Another issue I had this morning working with the next volume, which was records from 1837-1840, was that it was a totally different person keeping tracking of the Visiting Committee records. I had gotten so used to and comfortable reading the handwriting in the last book, now I had to learn a whole new set of patterns all over again. This formal handwriting was even more “so neat its messy” style, it almost gave me a headache. Though headache probably came about more from a black blazer and pants in 70 degree weather than anything else!

I had fun doing all my work, and definitely getting into the rhythm of things now that I’ve had a couple days under my belt. Reading up on the context of the Orphan Society of Philadelphia and the finding aid material definitely helped me out a bit doing work today. It gave significance to some of the names of the caretakers and administrators I was reading about in the records.

In terms of tying things into public history theory I worked on paying attention to other aspects of the organization today as well as hyper-focusing on my work. I looked through some of their material for spring and summer programming to see how the organization literally interacts with the public. A way to reinforce this to actually attend some of the events going on, especially now that I am aware of them. For example, one event the Historical Society is hosting is a free documentary screening of students from a Philadelphia high school and their involvement in the Vietnam War. If I can figure out scheduling things I’d definitely want to go cause that’d be fun, and it literally be engaging in public history things.

How to “Excel” at Day 2 of Internship Practicum Field Blog 2

Today was my second day at my internship at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I shouldn’t have been surprised but today was really fun, and I enjoyed my time there a lot! I worked today from 9:15 to 1:15 for a total of 4 hours. Because of trains I actually got there like a half hour earlier, and discovered a cool coffee shop right by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and I know I’ll have to check it out again another time!

The first thing I did today was get feedback from my supervisor on my work from yesterday. Overall, he thought my work was good and his feedback was really helpful! One thing I made note of my revisions to my edited material was to focus less on dates and repeating the phrase “according to the Visiting Committee records…” as this information would already be present to a researcher when looking at the finished product. So I spent a large chunk of my time today revising my work on Excel, but it was still a very rewarding process.

Another technical aspect of my work involved my running list of the caretakers as part of my material. I had originally just listed these names out, however my supervisor preferred between names I add a “|” to split up names. He explained this would make it easier to code names when that process will officially take place. While I did that I double checked my work, making sure which person visited when, and also made sure I had titles right. Sometimes with the handwriting it was difficult to differentiate a “Mrs. ” from a “Miss.” This was especially difficult as some of the “s” characters looked like “f” as was the style of the time.

Another part of my day was spent looking through materials my supervisor gave me on different aspects of how things work at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. These documents were really interesting and gave a behind-the-scenes- look on how an archive internally goes about handling collections. Many of these subjects were simply informative, and didn’t per say have to do with the documents I’d be working with. One thing that was particularly informative was simply through the fact that the document had a very readable font and a wealth of pictures!

The other packet of documents I got was the finding aid for the Orphan Society of Philadelphia. This document provided  a lot of context for the organization itself and its long history. This material was incredibly helpful to me on a personal level as I was able to get more information on an organization I had just read such detail on yesterday and today. The context reinforced my first impressions of the Orphan Society, such as the strict behavior policies that was enacted there.

The documents also provided some of the first names of the female administrators of the Orphan Society. This is such a small detail, but I really appreciated it. Through a simple action it fleshed out the significance of the actions these women did to maintain the Orphan Society. My work today further reinforced the themes of labor and public history that I started to realize yesterday. My findings today only broadened my understanding of this topic, by focusing with more detail on not only the Orphan Society but also the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

This kind of context and research I gained today I look forward to continuing. Soon, I will be able to examine letters and other material written by the Orphans themselves, and I am eager to gain new perspectives.

” You’re an Orphan, of course…!” Practicum Field Blog 1

Today I started my first day as an intern at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I was really excited to get started and I had such a fun time throughout the course of my day. I worked today from 9:15 till 2pm, for a total of 4 hours  and and 45 minutes. Overall I had a really great time and am excited that my time there is only just getting started. The first part of my day was some technical aspects, like setting up my official login credentials and what not. I’m going to get an official badge some exciting stuff! After that my supervisor gave me a tour of the upstairs part of the building, where the office I will be working is located, and that was neat.
After everything was settled I could get started working on the actual material for my internship duties. This summer I will be working with their documents and records on the Philadelphia Orphan’s Society. Today I started looking at records from 1823 to 1825, these were the reports from the Visiting Committee records about the Orphan’s Society. Today was the first time I had ever gotten up close and personal with an archival document and that was really cool! The first part of this task was deciphering the handwriting on the records, which I was a little intimidated about. My supervisor reassured me that once I got started I would get the hang of it, and that was true! The handwriting in these records were the neatest I had ever seen, it honestly looked a little “loopy” but after going through it was easier to figure it out. At first I had to read pages over three times at least just to figure out what the document was saying.


Image taken by me: This entry discusses the tactics of maintaining proper behavior at the Asylum


Besides reading through the records, what I did today was revise their resources on these records. I primarily worked through Excel spreadsheets. The original records only featured the orphan’s name the entries which they are mentioned by date, and keyword-esque notes regarding the entry about them. What I did was create more formal sentence structured summaries of each entry about the orphans. Another important piece that I did was document the other figures involved in the Orphan’s Society besides the Orphans themselves. The caretakers and other individuals are referenced throughout the actual primary source, but were not in the Excel sheet records. However, these women were important in maintaining that the Asylum or Orphanage itself, was “neat” and took care in roles of the children’s education and well-being. This is an area where further research is needed to flesh out the cast of characters themselves, along with the orphans. The document itself does not really reveal much, only when an orphan is admitted to the facility or ill.

My work today tied into our discussions of labor and public history. My duties in the field and my findings worked on this theme in a whole other level, as I learned more about these orphans and the people who were so influential on their daily lives. It was a very interesting experience that I look forward to continuing tomorrow!

Reading Blog Pumpkins are Objects too not just a Halloween Decoration and other thoughts on Material Culture

The first reading “Object Analysis of the Giant Pumpkin” was an interesting read, I really didn’t expect that I’d be learning so much about pumpkin growing habits in April. The piece asked, why do Americans imbed cultural attributes to ordinary objects? What this piece really did well was unpack the cultural values and historical ties related to an object. It was interesting when Ott provided the numbers on how big these pumpkins really got, but her analysis was more informative. For example, she points out, “The pumpkin embodies the simple things in life that are found in the classic American dream.”[1] This revelation about the cultural meanings behind an ordinary vegetable were what made this piece really stand out in my mind.

The next piece, Regrets on Parting with My Dressing Gown by Denis Diderot was also really interesting to read. My understanding of the piece is that Diderot sees himself as both a slave to and ardent consumer of the material culture that surrounds him. Diderot goes into extensive detail on the kinds of luxurious objects he has in his possession (the pictures in this article made his musings all the more palpable). I really appreciated the level of detail he goes into about his the epopmyous dressing gown. For example, Diderot writes, ‘when the ink had clogged and refused to flow from my pen, she would offer me her skirt.”[2] These little details like this add to the grappling of Diderot as he stresses over in the rest of his writings. The lush details in this piece really made it stand out, and revealed the prominence of material culture in an example of everyday life.

The final piece Object Biographies examines material culture and object study from two different approaches. Dannehl articulates the pros and cons of “life cycles” and “biographies” This piece brings about a discussion of why is material culture study something every historian should know? Dannehl argues that object studies can present an interesting analysis and reveal more than traditional sources like documents and records. Dannehl argues these ideas can idea research by adding, “to be able to subsequently integrate the detailed object history into a history that has a more broadly social or economic focus.”[3] Dannehl’s arguments about the importance of object history in the grand scheme of historical thought cannot be ignored in the study of material culture.

These three sources reveal much about the different approaches to object analysis. For my own research these pieces were incredibly helpful in the different methodologies and venues that can be taken to study an object thoroughly. Ott traces the historical associations of pumpkins so well, it shed light on things I had never thought of before. Diderot’s sense of luxury reveals the kinds of discourses revolving around material culture, even as early as the 18th century. His prose fits into the kind of connoisseur lifestyle we had looked into before. Dannehl’s analysis was also very informative.

[1] Ott, Cindy “Object Analysis of the Giant Pumpkin” pg 757

[2] Diderot, Denis “Regrets on Parting with my Old Dressing Gown” translated by Kate Tunstall and Katie Scott pg 178

[3] Dannehl Karin “Object Biographies: From Production to Consumption’ pg 133

IMAGE SOURCE: Google Image ‘Quote of the Day’ deadhomersociety Word press

Karl Marx, Biographies, Department Stores and More! Material Culture Reading Blog

I really enjoyed this reading, though it took some time for me to process and really get at what Stallybrand revealed about Karl Marx. The piece spurs a discussion asking, why do we give objects such important meaning in our society, through Marx’s biographical details as an example. This kind of context for an important figure was something I had no prior knowledge of, which made reading this piece more enjoyable. Stallybrand points out that Marx, “The Reading Room did not accept just anyone from off the streets, and a man without an overcoat, even if he had a ticket was just anyone”[1] This directly points out the relation between objects and a higher social meaning, even though in reality they are just commodities. What I found incredibly interesting about this piece was that it in itself made the argument that Marx’s experiences in poverty directly affected his future writings against capitalism, (“yesterday I pawned a coat dating back to my Liverpool days to buy writing paper”)[2]. It provided a kind of context through this research which I really enjoyed.

This reading, A Biography of Things by Igor Kopytoff was an interesting analysis. Kopyoff’s arguments feed well into the discussion of Marx’s Coat as both touch on the issue of how meaning is given to objects. Kopytoff really as what does this mean as an aspect of our society? Igor Kopytoff uses a host of examples that makes his points about commodities and economics much easier to understand for the layman. One such is, “What of a Renoir ending up in a private and inaccessible collection”[3] This example just truly gets as how we place meaning on things, in our culture and it worked to aid my understanding of the reading. Igor also frequently references Marx and his views on commodities which ties the two readings together in an interesting way. This reading also had a surprise Philadelphia reference in reading with the whole Rocky Statue controversy, this example reveals how a single object is often burdened with multiple meanings based on perspectives, “To the ‘ethnic’ working-class sector of the Philadelphia population, the statue was a singular object of ethnic, class, and regional pride-in brief, a worthy public monument”[4] This was another great example that further stretched Kopytoff’s argument, which was incredibly interesting.

Strasser’s piece was also incredibly interesting tracing the history of department stores in the US, in comparison to modern equivalents. Strasser’s analysis spurs a discussion, how is Wal-Mart a product of these 19th century predecessors? Strasser notes an important point, “But in both city and countryside economic development had brought an even greater portion of Americans into the money economy”[5] This example is what made department stores so successful in the 1890s, as they could cater to numerous people. Strasser’s research was incredibly informative and helpful for adding further context to my own research on department stores and Philadelphia.

[1] Stallybrand pg 187

[2] Ibid., pg 202

[3] Kopytoff, pg 67

[4] ibid., pg 81

[5] Strasser pg 36

Image Source: Google Images Renoir Painting The Luncheon of the Boating Party (Pinterest)

Memory, Celebration and Displays of Identity Material Culture Reading Blog

Maria Sturken’s analysis in “Citizens and Survivors” brings up the question of how trauma and objects can be interconnected. Her bookending of a cultural analysis of memory and the memorialization of the Oklahoma City bombing was incredibly informative. Her tracing of the teddy bear as a cultural object, feeds into the ties of trauma and memory. “They evoke innocence, they sell innocence, and they promote it, but in their very circulation they participate in a comfort culture that simplifies and reduces, that effaces political complexity.”[1]  Through objects the Memorial crafts a narrative of valor in citizenship adds a greater meaning to ordinary objects “In the terms of the memorial, it made the everyday life of the citizen seem heroic.”[2] This is an important theme throughout the Memorial itself.  Sturken also points out, “The ubiquity of teddy bears as a response to the bombing and as integral to the Oklahoma City memorial reflects the increased energy devoted to a consumer comfort culture more broadly in the United States”[3] Overall this piece provided an interesting discussion of how objects informed education of a traumatic time.

Hal Fischer’s artistic choices and analysis offer an interesting discussion of art and objects. His work at the time was very conceptual and innovative, which also spoke to a new perspective on gay culture. His photographs spur a discussion of how objects can signify new layers of meaning. Fischer himself notes, “Yes its also about personal desire; it’s a lexicon of attraction. And there’s a huge amount of artifice, which was also very deliberate”[4] Fischer establishes this “lexicon of attraction” through revealing the different layers of meaning of ordinary objects like keys or handkerchiefs to a queer perspective.

Ann Romines analysis was also incredibly revealing, her research focus not just on cakes but on how they are represented in literature. Her piece brings about a discussion of the domestic sphere, and challenges why such a rich field has been ignored in terms of analysis. Romines also analyzes the material culture surrounding cake, and the sort of discourse around the domestic sphere it creates. Romines notes, “Previously, recipes had been passed from women to women by word of mouth, or demonstration”[5] The prioritization of recipes and their close ties to female autonomy is evident in Romines analysis. Romines further establishes this through an analysis of cakes and Eudora Welty’s writings, “Through them she directs us to texts that are seldom flaunted; the household inventions and everyday work of sorceresses like Ellen and Partheny”[6] Through both fiction and traditional domestic literature, Romines stresses the importance of cake as material culture.

Christopher Green’s analysis of exhibits of Native American assimilation on display at the Chicago World Columbian Exposition was incredibly revealing. It documented how Native American perspectives clashed with white, through material culture of school building “emphasizes that the most important features of the known world—sky, sun, moon, teepee, sun dance lodge, and sacred hoop—are all circular, while the white man forces the world into lines and right angles”[7] Overall the piece asked the question of how the material culture revealed the different dynamics between assimilation and Native American resistance. This revealed the level of history obtained through material culture analysis. These different readings provided new methods of study for material culture.


[1] Sturken, Maria “Citizens and Survivors” Pg 94

[2] Ibid., pg 124

[3] Ibid., pg 132

[4] Fischer, Hal “Gay Semiotics” pg 35

[5] Romines, Ann “Reading the Cakes” pg 603

[6] Ibid., Romines pg 615

[7] Green, Christopher “A Stage Set for Assimilation” pg 114

Image source Google Images Food and Wine Magazine website





Local Historical Context

As part of my research into the White Beaded dress, I learned more about the provenance of the object itself. The records from the Drexel Costume Collection, only indicated that the dress was donated by a Mr. Morris Cheston Jr,, and that the dress belonged to his grandmother. I did some genealogical research on the family online to get a sense of the family. This information was helpful, but there were still some questions I had that needed to be answered.
I decided to go to the Lower Merion Historical Society in Narberth, Pennsylvania. Through some of my research into the provenance, I discovered that the owner of the dress, a Mrs. Annie Henszey, lived with her family in a mansion in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. The family acquired this wealth as her husband, William P. Henszey was a prominent member of the Baldwin Locomotives Company. By searching through the databases, I found that the Lower Merion Historical Society had some information and records of the Henszeys. So, over Spring Break, I decided to stop by and take a look at some of their collections and what not.

At the Lower Merion Historical Society, I found many details on Redleaf, the mansion that William P. Henszey owned. I got to see many photographs of the time, of the exterior of the mansion. This building, which is no longer intact, was the home of William P. Henszey and his family. The view of the grand estate definitely adds to the context of the dress itself. Unfortunately, I found no pictures of Annie B. Henszey at the Historical Society. I did find pictures of William P. Henszey in books Notable Philadelphians which the Society had hard copy print versions of. There was also information on the interiors of Redleaf provided by a book known as Rural Pennsylvania.
I got to take a look at a couple different versions of “Atlases of the Main Line” there were huge books with the pages laminated to preserve them. The atlases from 1896 and 1913 provided a view of the mansion Redleaf in a period accurate context. The atlas made note of William P. Henszey owning the property in 1896, and edited it in 1913 to note that the property had been switched over to his daughter Mary’s name. The atlas also through certain symbols hints at what the building was made of, and what made up the property. The sprawling size of the place is noted in its 48 acres landscape. For example, a pink box on the atlas denotes a brick building whereas a blue box represents a stone building. Boxes with an “X” denote a stable, and one significant edition of the 1913 atlas points out that Mary Henszey Ashton added a greenhouse to the property.

Some volunteers at the Lower Merion Historical Society were helpful in providing some local history context. They emphasized the importance of the drawing room and opulent ballrooms that were a staple of these mansions as an important part of the identity of the Main Line itself. I got a lot of information on the history of the Main Line and its status as the place to be at least to the upper-crust of Philadelphia social scene. Even in the books, the Notable Philadelphians is divided into three sections, the men themselves, where they work, and their large country estates. This is where I discovered both a picture of William P. Henszey and his mansion Redleaf. I also got to look at photographs of a mansion contemporary of Redleaf, about the same size and era of the one relevant to my research. However, the Society had photographs of both the exterior and interior of the Coolkenny Mansion in Haverford. This gave me a sense of what the interior of the prominent mansions of the Main Line, which added more sense of space and context. The sense of extravagance of the furnishings and interiors pairs with the sense of style of the dress itself.
This research into the provenance and my experiences at the Lower Merion Historical Society add further depth into examining my object. It provided examples of kinds of spaces and scenery that my object had occupied. It gave some sense of the kind of person who would own and purchase such an elaborate dress, given the context of the social scene of the time. Physically taking a look at these photographs and books, in contrast to digitized files brought the history and weight of my research closer. It affirmed this piece of Philadelphia history in my mind. Examining the maps and atlases literally grounded the context into its local setting, and provided an important resource in addition to my own research.

Photo taken by author of Atlas of Lower Merion depiction of Redleaf

French Fashion and Material Culture studies Reading blog 7

Philippe Perrot’s argument in Fashioning the Bourgeoisie brings about a discussion of “what do clothes have to say about the person wearing them?” Through numerous examples and analyses of trends, Perrot uses fashion as a key text in understanding French history. Perrot examines the different styles and components of dress for both men and women across a vast time period. Perrot particularly focuses on the shifts from extravagant to austere styles following the French Revolution, among other notable topics. Perrot’s analysis of not just corsets, but gloves, dresses, and even department stores, reveals the kind of cultural perceptions that make up a patriarchal society.

One aspect Perrot notes of French women’s extravagant costume is, “As signs of wealth and ornamental objects, women replaced the lace and jewels banished from men’s clothing following the Revolution”[1] This example cites how fashion shaped perceptions of women as objects in the French society of old. Perrot goes into detail, explaining the cultural norms of the time, defining what a woman should wear at any given time. Perrot uses manuals from the era which among other things, argued women should get out of bed in the morning as a quietly as possible, “so that her husband did not catch her in unbecoming disarray, which might imprint itself on his memory in a disagreeable way”[2] In this example it evident that women’s lives at the time were culturally dictated by patriarchal norms of appearance to the point where they were not even challenged. This is further evident by the practice of corseting beginning at a young age, as Perrot notes, “a grave misconception held by mothers sees the corset as an excellent means of correcting defects in the figure and posture of their daughters”[3] This misconception when compared to the reality of illnesses and premature deaths that took place because of the use of corsets, highlights the gap that emphasized women’s appearance above any other factor.

Along with these topics, Perrot also reveals the rise of French department stores and their impact on tastes of fashion. Perrot describes the department stores as, “In the new stores light replaced darkness, and space was substituted for exiguity, neat displays for piled up goods”[4] This description reveals how similar these early French department stores were to American examples of the 1870s. One particular trend is the rise of ready-made clothing allowed more people to wear certain clothes that before were only favored by the aristocracy. This led to a kind of anxiety as the strict definitions of who made up the elite were now not just tied to birth. “their dress must leave no one in doubt that they belong to one of the more reputable classes of society”[5]These insights into the history of French department stores, I found incredibly informative to my own research. The practices and trends of these European department stores directly ties into the trend of French influence on Philadelphia fashion and tastes. Through Perrot’s analysis of department stores, it is clear how much French fashion mirrors American, not just in the clothing itself but in the landscape of the department store and other practices.

[1]  Philippe Perrot, Fashioning the Bourgeoisie: A History of Clothing in the Nineteenth Century [Trans. Richard Bienvenu] (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994) Pg 35

[2] Ibid., Perrot pg 92

[3] Ibid., pg 154

[4] ibid., pg 54

[5] Ibid., pg 82

IMAGE SOURCE ibid., pg 109

Roads, Homes, and Office Spaces Material Culture Reading Blog 6

This first piece by Angel Kwolek-Folland provides an interesting analysis on the material culture of the office space. The piece asks how does gender and environment interact on a large scale? The author ties changes in corporate workplaces to gender norms of the period. She argues that though corporations tried to enforce strict gender practices that alienated male and female works, human nature subverted this. Kwolek-Folland sums up the original goals of corporations, “Out of concern for efficiency, smooth employee relations, and a positive public image they presented the corporation as the custodian of employee morals and social interaction.”[1] This concept of the custodian of employee morals, is evident in the layout of an office separated by gender. Kwolek-Follands points out this did not stop “…a young man’s frequent trips by a young woman’s desk”[2] alla Jim and Pam from The Office. This analysis was incredibly interesting, but one thing that is noticeable about the piece is that it focuses much of its analysis on gender but doesn’t acknowledge race and work relations as another form of division in a workspace.

The second piece “White and Black Landscapes” provided an interesting perspective. The piece seems to ask how can multiple histories emerge from a single building? Upton notes the very landscape of Virginia was created to enforce the rigid social hierarchy of slavery. In architectural styles of plantations, were specifically designed to validate a planter’s elevated social status. “Each barrier served to reinforce the impression of John Tayloe’s centrality, and each in addition affirmed the visitor’s status as she or he passed through it”[3] This analysis contrasted with the separation of slaves in this landscape provided incredibly informative. Robert Weyeneth’s analysis in “The Architecture of Racial Segregation: The Challenges of Preserving the Problematical Past,” takes similar concepts of “white and black landscapes” further outlining the separation of black and white spaces during the Jim Crow era South.

J.B Jackson’s piece takes these ideas of landscape and place even further, tracing the roots of landscape and it’s evolution into, “A composition of man-made or man modified spaces to serve as infrastructure or background for our collective existence”[4] This concept in partnership with the examples of the varied landscapes in antebellum America in Upton’s piece make of an interesting discussion of the man-made notion of landscapes. These are topics that are often overlooked and under-appreciated in historical study, as mere background.

The next piece provides an excellent resource on the different aspects of everyday histories through subjects. This resource provides information on architecture, parks, and boardinghouses among other various topics. The interest in architecture and styles reflects the kind of connoisseurship study tied to material culture with a more practical set of subjects. Its analysis of each subject is short but informative, and as a whole provides many important details of American society over time.


[1] Angel Kwolek-Folland, “The Gendered Environment of the Corporate Workplace, 1880-1930,” The Material Culture of Gender: The Gender of Material Culture, ed. by Katharine Martinez and Kenneth L. Ames, (Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1997) Pg 161

[2] Ibid., Kwolek-Folland pg 173

[3] Dell Upton, “White and Black Landscapes in Eighteenth-Century Virginia,” in Robert Blair St. George, ed., Material Life in America, 1600-1860 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988).  pg 364

[4]J.B. Jackson, “The Word Itself,” and “A Pair of Ideal Landscapes,” Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986),  pg 8

IMAGE SOURCE-Google Images “Roman Roads” from the article “8 ways Roads Helped Rome Rule the Ancient World” from