Monday, September 20, 2010

Historical Image of the Day

This week's images will focus on the decade of the 1800s. Oddly, in all the years I've done these images, I've never had a single image from that decade. There are some obvious reasons for this--images in the photography age are much easier to come by. Also, I don't study the period and it's not a decade I think much about. However, since these images are really about a bank of cool images for teaching, I want to be more complete. How many more New Deal images can I show? A lot really of course. But anyway, the 1800s!

This week's images are inspired by Diane Wenger's A Country Storekeeper in Pennsylvania: Creating Economic Networks in Early America, 1790-1807, published by Penn St. in 2008. It was recommended as a possible book to teach for the first half of the U.S. history survey. Wenger has a good story, following a single shopkeeper during the transition to capitalism. However, there's no way to teach it. I don't know whether to blame the author or the press. Probably the latter. It's a huge problem with the academic publishing market. This story should have been written in a more popular and accessible manner--there's a lot to work with here. But that doesn't get you tenure unfortunately. There's also dissertation-level historiography in the text, which the press should have eliminated. Good book in many ways, but not for undergraduates.

Map of North America, 1806