Gilded Age


The Short Plays of Neglected Female Author Frances Aymar Mathews, a Contemporary of William Dean Howells and Edith Wharton

51e3GlaHyjL__SX338_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe most recent release of Nineteenth-Century American Drama includes most of the short plays, or comediettas in one act, by the prolific Frances Aymar Mathews. This understudied author was born in New York City in the middle of the 19th-century. She began publishing in the 1880s. In addition to plays, her written output included feature articles, short stories and such novels as My Lady Peggy Goes to Town and Allee Same.

Eighteen of Mathews’ shorter plays are included in this release. When reading her works, Edith Wharton comes to mind. They were contemporaries, shared a Manhattan upbringing during the Gilded Age, and were sensitive to class distinctions and social niceties. It may be something of a stretch to compare Mathews to Jane Austen, but both women are close observers of the foibles of the prosperous and employ a satirical view of them. There is one more comparison to make, to wit, William Dean Howells. Again, this may be a stretch, but the famous Howells and the obscure Mathews wrote short plays which, as previously noted here, featured wealthy people with ample time to expand upon largely trivial events.

The Short Plays of Neglected Female Author Frances Aymar Mathews, a Contemporary of William Dean Howells and Edith Wharton

History Professor Mark Summers Speaks about Gilded-Age Politics at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

With incredible energy and expertise, Mark Wahlgren Summers brought history to life with his dynamic interpretation of 19th-century political campaigns for the librarians and educators who attended a Readex-hosted breakfast during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando. Summers, the Thomas D. Clark Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where he has taught for the last 32 years, entertained the crowd with his highly animated lecture titled “Politics is just war without the bayonets”: Dirty Politics in a Genteel Age, 1868-1892.

Here, he describes stump speeches, often delivered at train stations, across the campaign trail:

 

Summers didn’t just tell the crowd about the past, he helped them experience it with his lively retelling, leading attendees to make comments like this:

 

For most historians, the Gilded Age was the Golden Age of American politics. Well before football or baseball found a vogue, it was the great participatory sport. Families turned out for parades, rallies and barbecues. Campaign clubs designed ornate uniforms and hired brass bands to precede them as they marched. Eligible voters in record numbers showed up at the polls. Watch the full presentation to understand why Summers warned that to be wistful for those days is a grave mistake.

History Professor Mark Summers Speaks about Gilded-Age Politics at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

Announcing a 2016 ALA Breakfast Presentation: Dirty Politics in a Genteel Age, 1868-1892

During the upcoming American Library Association conference, Readex will host a special Sunday breakfast presentation. Prof. Mark Wahlgren Summers, an engaging speaker and highly praised authority on 19th-century U.S. political history, will present “Politics is just war without bayonets”: Dirty Politics in a Genteel Age, 1868-1892. 

About the Presentation

For most historians, the Gilded Age was the Golden Age of American Politics.  Well before football or baseball found a vogue, it was the great participatory sport.  Families turned out for parades, rallies and barbecues.  Campaign clubs designed ornate uniforms and hired brass bands to precede them as they marched.  Eligible voters in record numbers showed up at the polls—and sometimes at the polls of the state next door to theirs if it had a different election day.

Announcing a 2016 ALA Breakfast Presentation: Dirty Politics in a Genteel Age, 1868-1892

Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?

Post by T.J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf)

[Note: On April 7, 2011, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as part of its 87th annual competition, awarded a Fellowship to T.J. Stiles based on impressive prior achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. This article by T.J. Stiles appeared in the February 2010 issue of The Readex Report. Here he discusses his use of the Readex digital edition of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in researching The First Tycoon, which won both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.]
Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?

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