From the colonial era to the onset of the Civil War, Magazines and the Making of America looks at how magazines and the individuals, organizations, and circumstances they connected ushered America into the modern age. How did a magazine industry emerge in the United States, where there were once only amateur authors, clumsy technologies for production and distribution, and sparse reader demand? What legitimated magazines as they competed with other media, such as newspapers, books, and letters? And what role did magazines play in the integration or division of American society?
From their first appearance in 1741, magazines brought together like-minded people, wherever they were located and whatever interests they shared. As America became socially differentiated, magazines engaged and empowered diverse communities of faith, purpose, and practice. Religious groups could distinguish themselves from others and demarcate their identities. Social-reform movements could energize activists across the country to push for change. People in specialized occupations could meet and learn from one another to improve their practices. Magazines built translocal communities—collections of people with common interests who were geographically dispersed and could not easily meet face-to-face. By supporting communities that crossed various axes of social structure, magazines also fostered pluralistic integration.
Looking at the important role that magazines had in mediating and sustaining critical debates and diverse groups of people, Magazines and the Making of America considers how these print publications helped construct a distinctly American society.
Heather A. Haveman is professor of sociology and business at the University of California, Berkeley.
"[Magazines and the Making of America] is a work of sociology and as such it contributes to the growing literature on print culture by considering how the demography, geography, and economics of print fueled (and were fueled by) capitalism."--Choice
"Magazines and the Making of America is a treasure trove for students of social movements and political history, for it chronicles the scores of movements, from anti-dueling to Indian rights to free love, that swept the nation. . . . A bright star to guide others applying the new methods of social science to historical topics. Haveman has a penchant for coding and counting everything in sight. She tracks each broadside and circular from before the dawn of the nation, and thus we get much more than an impressionistic romp through the history of the genre. The book is chock full of figures and analyses that substantiate the argument, and the narrative is followed by well over a hundred pages of appendices and bibliography."--Frank Dobbin. Administrative Science Quarterly
"In this exciting new study of antebellum American magazines, Heather Haveman combines a polished narrative with quantitative data to argue persuasively that periodicals have been underappreciated but vital to the nation's literary and political culture. This book is one of the most significant investigations into American magazines since Frank Luther Mott's multivolume history several decades ago."--Jonathan Daniel Wells, University of Michigan
"Heather Haveman has created a comprehensive, rigorous, and profound explanation for the rise of American magazines. Her lucid, impressive research will prove invaluable to historians and sociologists while also engaging the interest of today's journalists."--Daniel Walker Howe, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning What Hath God Wrought
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