The Author’s Corner with Richard Kagan

the spanish crazeRichard Kagan is Academy Professor and Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History at Johns Hopkins University. This interview is based on his new book, The Spanish Craze: America’s Fascination with the Hispanic World, 1779-1939 (University of Nebraska Press, 2019).

JF: What led you to write The Spanish Craze?

RK: My interest in US attitudes towards Spain, and more broadly, Hispanic culture in general, dates to the early 1990s, and what I felt was the failure of the AHR, in keeping with the celebration of its centenary, to address the trajectory of US scholarship on Spain. The journal had commissioned articles on US historical scholarship on France, Italy, and other European countries, but not Spain. That lacuna led initially to my “Prescott’s Paradigm: American Historical Writing and the Decline of Spain,” published in the AHR in 1996, and later to other essays and articles on such related issues as the changing image of Spain in the US along the history of collecting of both Spanish and Spanish Colonial art. By 2009, after having explored the history of Spanish-themed architecture in the US, I decided a book that addressed these topics along with the often stormy political relationship between Spain and the US, the history of Spanish language instruction in the country, Spanish-themed movies, music, as well as literature demanded comprehensive treatment as well. The Spanish Craze is the result.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Spanish Craze?

RK: Key to the book is “forgive and forget,” an idea which surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the Spanish-American War of 1898, a conflict that ended an imperial rivalry that lasted for a well over a century. With Spain no longer to threat US interests, Americans, starting with Theodore Roosevelt, demonstrated a new fascination with Spanish culture–art, architecture, language, music and more –, essentially embracing much of that culture as their own.

JF: Why should we read The Spanish Craze?

RK: I believe that it enriches our understanding the composite character of American culture. It also brings new attention to what Walt Whitman once termed “ The Spanish Element in our Nationality.”

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

RK: For most of my career, I have been a historian of Spain and its overseas empire. American history is a relatively new subject for me, and I still have much to learn. However, I have long been interested in the complex links between Spain, Spanish America, and the US. The Spanish Craze explores some of these links, but there is more, much more, to be done on the subject.

JF: What is your next project?

RK: A biography of Henry Charles Lea, the 19th Century Philadelphia publisher-cum-historian and author of the first comprehensive history of the Spanish Inquisition. Lea’s papers are mainly located in Philadelphia, which, following my retirement from Johns Hopkins in 2013, is where I now live.

JF: Thanks, Richard!

An Interview with T. Jackson Lears


Over at the Politics/Talk podcast, Rutgers University historian James Livingston interviews his colleague: historian and public intellectual T. Jackson Lears.  If you are interested in Lears’s work, the history of consumerism, American intellectual history, and academic biography this 2-part podcast is worth a listen.

Listen here.  And Part 2.

Lears is the author of some great books, including:

Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920

Something for Nothing: Luck in America

Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America

America and the Ten Commandments

StoneOxford University Press blog is running an excerpt from Jenna Weissman Joselit‘s new book Set in Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments.

Here is a taste:

Although we are told that Moses received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, their presence has always been particularly strong in America. Regardless of who invokes them and for what purpose, the Ten Commandments have proved to be incredibly versatile and enduring in our cultural idiom. Below you’ll find ten moments in American history where the Decalogue has made its presence felt.

1. In June 1860, a man in Ohio named David Wyrick found an oddly shaped stone in one of the many Native American burial sites in the area which had indecipherable markings on it. He claimed to have found one of the stone tablets that God had bestowed upon Moses. Largely ridiculed at first, he then discovered another stone, shaped like the top of a church window which was covered in what was later confirmed as a variant of Hebrew script. When brought to experts the script did indeed feature a form of the Ten Commandments, abbreviated, but still the basic text. Was it authentic or an elaborate hoax? You can go to the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coschocton, Ohio to see the stones for yourself.

2. In 1897, Alabama Senator John Tyler Morgan proposed that all immigrants be given a test to display mastery of the Ten Commandments in order to gain American citizenship. He claimed that it was not a religious test but rather a “test that goes to the constitution of society.”

3. In 1905, the Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco revealed the stain glass window of its newly constructed synagogue. At first glance, the window seemed to depict a traditional scene of Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets in his hand. Closer examination, however, revealed that the mountain in the background was not Mount Sinai, nor were the flora and fauna that of Israel. Rather, El Capitan of the Yosemite Valley loomed in the background, complete with the plant and animal life of central California, refiguring the Golden State as the Promised Land.

Read the entire post here.

The Author’s Corner with Joanna Cohen

luxurious-citizenJoanna Cohen is a lecturer in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London. This interview is based on her new book, Luxurious Citizens: The Politics of Consumption in Nineteenth-Century America (Penn Press, 2017).

JF: What led you to write Luxurious Citizens?

JC: I found my way into this book in three stages! The first step was reading Godey’s Ladies Book in my first year of graduate school. I was fascinated by the elaborate fashion plates and the juxtaposition of those images with numerous stories that praised the virtues of American women’s thrift and economy. These contradictions got me interested in the ways in which consumption habits were framed in overlapping ways in American cultural life, as signifiers of cultural sophistication and national virtue, not to mention the gender norms they promoted. The second step was two graduate courses I took: one on Gender, Nationalism and Citizenship, the other on the History of Consumer Culture in America. Both piqued my interest in different ways. When it came to citizenship I became increasingly dissatisfied with the idea that citizenship was simply a legal relationship. I wanted to explore the ways in which citizens imagined their relationship to the nation-state, especially when it came to obligations. Turning to consumer culture, I read avidly about the politics of consumption in the eighteenth century and picked up the story again in the twentieth century, but found little that explained how one connected to the other. Finally, after only a month in the archives at the American Philosophical Society, I found the phrase “Luxurious Citizens” in a speech given by “Pig Iron Kelley” in front of the Franklin Institute. That phrase summed up my conviction that the histories of citizenship and consumption were intertwined in crucial ways. I set out to trace those connections, wanting to understand the ways in which consumer capitalism shaped the meaning of citizenship in nineteenth-century America.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of Luxurious Citizens?

JC: At the close of the Revolution, the newly-formed government expected citizens to serve their nation through self-sacrifice, by limiting their consumption of imported luxuries. But time and again, through war and peace, ordinary Americans demonstrated that they would not accept such limitations on their desires. Instead, they transformed themselves into citizen-consumers, claiming that the freedom to consume could be of service to the nation. In 1861, at the outbreak of war, the Union government not only acknowledged the power of the citizen-consumer, they harnessed that power to the service of the war effort. Using a tariff to harvest much-needed revenue from their citizens’ desires, the Union confirmed that the citizen-consumer was an important member of the body-politic – whose freedom to indulge themselves could save the republic or send it to its destruction.

JF: Why do we need to read Luxurious Citizens?

JC: For readers interested in nineteenth century capitalism, the origins of consumer culture in America, the gendered meanings of citizenship and the political economy that shaped the road to the Civil War, Luxurious Citizens has much to offer. But the book is also timely reflection on the far-reaching consequences of the apotheosis of the citizen-consumer. The idea that a citizen can serve the state through their consumption has a flip side: it also suggests that citizens’ consumer choices can be blamed when the state encounters economic failure.

In 2008, when the United States faced the great crash, the first round of blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of ordinary citizens who had overspent and over extended their credit. Such a story hid the deep-rooted structural failures of the US economy. Luxurious Citizens reveals the ways in which these narratives of individual accountability took root in the United States, often cloaked in the language of civic rights and personal freedoms. It is an exploration of the ways in which Americans imagine the way in which their economy works, and how the state can use and even exploit those understandings. So, at a moment when neo-liberalism as an ideology stands on the brink of collapse, Luxurious Citizens will hopefully remind people that they can re-imagine the nation’s political economy and redefine the relationship between the citizen and the state.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

JC: Well officially I decided I wanted to become an American historian when I was doing my final year Honors thesis at Cambridge. I looked at the work of four great female authors and wrote a paper on the way in which those writers constructed (and deconstructed) what it meant to be a woman in nineteenth century America. But unofficially, I have to confess, it goes back to reading Little House on the Prairie and Little Women as a girl. Those stories still fascinate me. I recently re-read them when I got all my childhood books down from the attic for my daughter, and I still find the narratives of survival, ambition, compromise and resilience utterly compelling.

JF: What is your next project?

JC: Right now, I am working on a project that focuses on the ways in which Americans experienced loss in the nineteenth century. I explore how new capitalist, bureaucratic and commercial technologies shaped people’s emotional understanding of losing their homes, possessions and environments.

I am also working on a collaborative project with Zara Anishanslin, that explores how people “came to terms” with the ends of conflicts in the Atlantic World. Privileging visual and material culture as a source, this project asks how people made their peace with violence and war through the things and images they had in their lives.

JF: Thanks, Joanna!

The Author’s Corner with Jeremy C. Young

theageofcharismaJeremy C. Young is Assistant Professor of History at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.  This interview is based on his new book, The Age of Charisma: Leaders, Followers, and Emotions in American Society, 1870-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

JF: What led you to write The Age of Charisma?

JY: Growing up, I was inspired by politicians from the Gilded Age and Progressive Era such as William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson; I often wished modern American politics contained such larger-than-life figures.  I came to graduate school wanting to write a hagiographic dissertation about Wilson and the League of Nations, which, well, wouldn’t have been a very interesting book.  My advisor, Michael McGerr, encouraged me instead to think about why I found these figures so inspiring.  After digging through primary and secondary sources, I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about turn-of-the-century leaders.  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, millions of ordinary Americans had been transformed through emotional connections with politicians, evangelists, and social activists.  This was the real story, I decided: not the leaders who made emotional appeals, but the followers who responded to them and the relationships followers and leaders built together.  Why did Americans of this period experience such profound emotions when interacting with leaders?  What could these emotional experiences tell us about the development of American society and culture?  Those were the questions that motivated my research, and, in the end, I think my book answers them.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Age of Charisma?

JY: The Age of Charisma argues that the modern relationship between American leaders and followers grew out of a unique group of charismatic social movements prominent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing on hundreds of letters and testimonials, the book illustrates how “personal magnetism” in public speaking changed the culture of leadership by enabling a shift from emotional remoteness to emotional availability – thereby enhancing American democracy and creating a culture in which today’s leaders appeal directly to Americans through mass media.

JF: Why do we need to read The Age of Charisma?

JY: My book reshapes our understanding of American history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in a number of ways.  It outlines the origins of the strange, singsong speaking style used by turn-of-the-century leaders and shows how central that style was to American culture.  It offers a fresh interpretation of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, centered on the unique relationship between leaders and followers of the time.  It uses the testimony of followers to challenge common assumptions about popular civic participation by defining charismatic followership as a meaningful and historically-significant activity.  It demonstrates how individual emotional experience shapes large-scale historical trends.  Finally, it explains why Americans today demand that their leaders shake hands, kiss babies, deliver speeches, and forge emotional connections with their followers – something Americans of the mid-1800s neither expected nor wanted – and why these emotional connections are a positive and necessary feature of American democracy.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

JY: While I am in fact an American historian, I tend to think of myself as a writer who works in the field of American history.  I’ve always known that I needed to produce and share creative work in order to feel fulfilled.  When I went to college, my career goal was to become a concert pianist; I decided I needed a backup plan in case I wasn’t successful, so I added a history major.  About halfway through school, I realized two things: I didn’t enjoy practicing piano, which seemed like a bad sign for someone planning a career in that field, and I did enjoy writing history papers. So I switched emphases and focused on history instead, and I haven’t looked back.  I chose American history over other subfields because I wanted my work to have some impact on current events. There is a message about strategies of activism in The Age of Charisma, but you have to work hard to find it; I don’t spell it out in the book.

JF: What is your next project?

JY: I’m currently in the early stages of a book project that will explore nineteenth- and twentieth-century Americans’ fascination with alternate realities.  Over the past hundred and fifty years, a broad swath of Americans have demonstrated a belief in a hidden world beyond the reach of everyday experience – a longing for a secret reality available only to a select few.  This belief in imagined realities has been shared by science fiction authors and religious leaders, philosophers and conspiracy theorists.  At the same time, a number of Americans have obscured their own private realities of trauma through fictitious public performances of gender; burlesque performers, escape artists, con artists, evangelists, and pinup girls have all participated in this type of identity performance.  The persistence of alternate realities, I argue, suggests that a large group of Americans have never accepted or felt comfortable in modern industrial society – and, consequently, that the American social order is far more fragile than we might think.

JF: Thanks, Jeremy!

The Author’s Corner with Amy DeRogatis

Amy DeRogatis is Associate Professor of Religion and American Culture at Michigan State University. This interview is based on her new book, Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, November 2014)

JF: What led you to write Saving Sex?

AD: My interest in this topic began with a question by an undergraduate in my Religion and Gender class at Michigan State University. In the course we had been reading a book that discussed some ritual practices around marital sexuality in Orthodox Judaism. One student raised her hand and asked, “Where do Christians go to read about the proper ways to have sex?” I made a quick reply about evangelicals publishing lots of material about how not to have sex and returned to the topic of discussion. The question stuck with me and after class I ran a few Internet searches. I was unable to find any secondary material, such as a scholarly article that surveyed and analyzed the literature. I did eventually find lots of primary sources, and many of them were in Special Collections in the Main Library at MSU. This began a long process of reading many types of prescriptive literature about sex written by and aimed towards American evangelicals.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of Saving Sex?

AD: In Saving Sex I argue that rather than denying the sexual body, evangelical sex writers present distinct visions of how sexual acts and rituals can be productive for individual and world salvation. Talking about sexuality allows evangelicals to carve an identity for themselves that sets them apart from secular American culture, even as they fervently embrace many aspects of that same culture.

JF: Why do we need to read Saving Sex?

AD: No one needs to read Saving Sex. If you decide to read it you will learn about some of the most popular evangelical writers and speakers on sexuality and some of the most pressing topics regarding evangelical sexuality and salvation. If you have ever wondered about chastity balls, why some evangelical youth make courting lists, what marital sexual practices are believed to be sanctioned by God, why illicit sexual practices might invite demonic forces, or why contraception is rejected in some evangelical circles, then this book will be of interest to you.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

AD: I didn’t. I earned a PhD in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC-CH. My field is American religious history. I think of myself as primarily a religious studies scholar rather than a historian. I do, however, examine religious texts, groups, rituals, etc. within a historical framework. I didn’t have a moment when I decided to become an American historian, but I did realize that I wanted to study religion in combination with history, literature, art, and architecture when I spent a college year in Seville, Spain and wrote a research paper on the Jewish community in Seville prior to the Reconquest. After I returned for my last year at college I came to understand that my academic interests revolved around questions of religious identity. During that year I became interested in religious movements in the United States, and focused on that area of study when I attended Harvard Divinity School. The rest is history!

JF: What is your next project?

AD: In my next project I have returned to the nineteenth century the time period of my first book Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries and the American Frontier. The book, Mormon King, will tell the story of the Mormon prophet James Jesse Strang who claimed to be the rightful successor to Joseph Smith. Strang saw and spoke with angels, found golden plates with new scripture, and received a highly contested letter of appointment from Joseph Smith. He eventually convinced over 12,000 people of his rightful position and led 2500 people to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan where he established a kingdom. While on Beaver Island, he crowned himself king, built a temple, established the Law of the Lord, and instituted plural marriage. He petitioned the Michigan State Legislature in Lansing to shift voting lines based on changed demographics and was subsequently elected to the Michigan House of Representatives two times. This may be the only time in U.S. history that a crowned monarch has also served in a state legislature. For many reasons he angered gentiles living on Beaver Island, Mackinac Island, and what is now Charlevoix in Northern Michigan. A few disaffected followers, with the implicit support of gentiles and the federal government, assassinated him in 1856. Within a few weeks, all of his followers were forcibly removed from the island and their land and property repossessed by the mob that pushed them out at gunpoint. 

I plan to examine Strang in the context of succession claims among the Latter-day Saints, and in relation to other millennial groups in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. I am interested in both the daily practices prescribed by Strang for how saints dressed, worked, ate, worshipped, and married as well as his larger theological views of the place of the gathered saints on Beaver Island for the spreading of the kingdom of God to the world. There are still Strang descendants living in Michigan, and I have had the opportunity to interview his great, granddaughter who descends from the youngest child of Strang’s first plural wife. Besides being a fascinating American religious history subject, for me, it has the added benefit of local significance.
JF: Thanks Amy, sounds intriguing.

And thanks to Megan Piette for facilitating this installment of The Author’s Corner

Springsteen at 65

Bruce is going to be 65 next week.  Over at History News Network, John W. Johnson of the University of Northern Iowa offers three reasons why American historians should take notice:

1.  Springsteen holds an important place in the history of rock music.
2.  Springsteen addresses historical themes and events in his music.
3.  Springsteen is ubiquitous as a public figure.

Here is a taste of Johnson’s piece:

In 1984, Ronald Reagan appropriated the chorus from “Born in the USA” for his upbeat re-election campaign. Springsteen responded by inquiring from the stage: Has the president “actually read” the lyrics to “Born in the USA”? A key stanza features an archetypal veteran expressing some not so optimistic sentiments: “Down in the shadow of the penitentiary/Out by the gas fires of the refinery/I’m ten years burning down the road/Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go.”
During the last few years, hardly a week has gone by without “a Springsteen story” hitting the news. Some examples: 1) Springsteen delivers the keynote address at the South By Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festival; 2) Springsteen is recognized to receive Kennedy Center Honors; 3) Springsteen stumps for Barack Obama in the final stages of the 2012 presidential campaign; 4) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claims to have attended more than 100 Springsteen concerts; 5) Fans of The Boss submit more than 2000 videos for possible inclusion in the crowd-sourced film, “Springsteen and I”; 6) Boss: The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies publishes its first issue with articles bearing such esoteric titles as “Springsteen as Developmental Therapist: An Autoethnography”; 7) A scrap of paper with Springsteen’s handwritten working lyrics for “Born to Run” sells at a Southeby’s auction for $197,000; and 8) Springsteen stars in a short western, “Hunter of Invisible Game,” reminiscent of John Ford’s “The Searchers.”
Since 2005, long articles on Springsteen and his music have appeared in such serious publications as The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. In 2013, Rolling Stone published Collector’s Edition—Bruce, containing pictures and four decades of Springsteen interviews. Perhaps only Bob Dylan, among American singer-songwriters of the last fifty years, has inspired more book-length studies than Springsteen.
Here’s another rough index of Springsteen’s impact on contemporary popular culture: My impressionistic survey of the music played in the background before and after commercial breaks on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” reveals that Springsteen is by far the most featured artist. Occasionally the hosts and guests on the program even joke about who will be able to claim the privilege of having such Springsteen standards as “Badlands” or “Thunder Road” play over and around their comments.
So . . . love Springsteen or hate him. You just can’t ignore him.
If you’re a historian of recent America, Springsteen should be on your playlist AND in your syllabus. Now eligible for Medicare, Springsteen continues to create, perform, entertain, campaign and provoke.
A very happy 65th birthday, Bruce! Rock on!

I would also add that Springsteen is an important figure in American religious history.  

HT: Tim Lacy

Teaching Beyond Tea Sets: Assessing Source Material in the U.S. History Survey

A few months ago I did a post on Abby Chandler‘s excellent piece “Teaching with a Tea Set.”  It appeared in the April 2014 issue of Perspectives on History.  In response to that post I wrote:  “I have long been interested in bringing objects into my survey course but have never felt I was enough of a material culture expert to use them effectively.  Chandler’s essay has forced me to reconsider my cautiousness on this pedagogical front, especially since her essay is focused largely on the first half of the survey.” 

After that post appeared, Abby and I had a few e-mail exchanges and she agreed to develop her thoughts on teaching with objects for The Way of Improvement Leads Home readers.  (It’s an exclusive, folks!)  In the piece below she talks about how she uses objects to assess student learning.  I encourage you to read it alongside her original Perspectives in History essay.  –JF

Teaching Beyond Tea Sets: Assessing Source Material in the U.S. History Survey
By Abigail Chandler, University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Once my students have been introduced to a wide range of source material including material culture, primary source documents, period music, art and films, I also use these sources when evaluating their learning outcomes on both the second and third exams of the semester.
The test covering the nineteenth century gives students with an object recently seen in class, asks them to provide both identification and historical context of the object and then discuss the use of material culture when studying history. Test objects can be selected to play to the strengths and weaknesses of individual classes and I also try to select objects with multiple layers of interpretation available to students. A Noah’s Ark is deceptively difficult as most students are familiar with the toy before the class. Here, the challenge becomes whether they can fully link the object to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of specific middle-class values and lifestyles in the nineteenth century. The less easily identified glove stretcher serves a dual purpose on tests: attentive students have the satisfaction of knowing they now possess the skills needed to identify and interpret a glove stretcher and frequently absent students are provided with a reminder of the importance of attending class. On the whole, I find these essays both interesting and rewarding to grade as they give students opportunities to develop their own analytical and contextual skills.
I also have a bonus question on the final exam which asks students to identify their favorite source and to explain why and how this particular source appealed to them. This question provides insight into the minds of students encouraged to think about history in ways they had rarely considered before taking the class. In preparation for this paper, I asked permission to quote from their tests in order to give a fuller sense of their responses. One wrote that “being the only one in the class who could identify a stereoscope made me feel like a genius.” Another added “I believe that using music . . . shows how we can connect with the past. Each piece illustrated how life was. The music and songs were packed with emotions that were felt at the time.” A third commented that“material culture was what won me over. I am never going to forget that middle class men and women had glove stretchers because I held and felt it, and then reflected on it.”
            Without doubt, these are all comments to warm the heart of any history professor. More importantly, student responses help me to identify which sources are working, which may need more contextualization in the classroom and what sources should be removed all together. They also encourage me to reflect, in turn, on how I use source material in the history classroom and to what pedagogical ends. Most students who identify themselves as visual learners in their responses then explain that they enjoy the objects because they helped them to learn history in ways that the printed sources could not. Though aware of (and actively implementing) the extensive body of research demonstrating that students learn in different ways, I have wondered whether some students may decide their ability to connect best with the objects justifies giving less attention to the printed sources or vice versa. Consequently, my next semester will be opening with a more structured discussion of learning methods intended to encourage students to experiment with their responses to different sources. Students who think of themselves as visual learners will be encouraged to develop their skills with interpreting primary source documents, while students who prefer written sources will be encouraged to consider the period objects more closely and so on. The means by which these efforts are fully implemented remains a project for the summer and their success rate an unknown for the next academic year but I look forward to the latest transition in my evolution from living history interpreter to history professor. 

New Exhibit: Daily Life in the Civil War North

Frederic Edwin Church, Our Banner in the Sky 1861

By Megan Piette

The Newberry Library has recently partnered with the Terra Foundation for American Art to bring together a collection of art, literature, music, and more to tell the story of what life was like in the North during the Civil War. This visual recreation features an online exhibit showcasing artifacts and pictures related to women’s work, patriotic music, and encounters with Native Americans. Here is a taste of an article about the exhibit from the Newberry website:

More than 150 years after it began, the Civil War still occupies a prominent place in our collective memory. Paintings and photographs, plays and movies, novels, poetry, and songs remind us of the struggle over the future of slavery, Lincoln’s determination to save the Union, and the brutality of brother fighting against brother.

This exhibition explores the deep connections between Northern home fronts and Civil War battle fronts, revealing that even those who lived far from the fighting felt the war’s effects every day. Home Front examines the cotton economy, visions of slavery and freedom, Indian wars, war relief work, and women’s changing roles as a result of the cataclysmic conflict. It includes paintings from the Terra Foundation for American Art and books, magazines, photographs, correspondence, sheet music, broadsides, and newspapers from the Newberry Library. Seen together, these objects of daily life demonstrate the profound impact of visual culture in shaping individuals’ understanding of the war.