Cover image for The Gilded Age : a history in documents
The Gilded Age : a history in documents
Greenwood, Janette Thomas.
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
191 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm.
Uses a wide variety of documents to show how Americans dealt with an age of extremes from 1887 to 1900, including rapid industrialization, unemployment, unprecedented wealth, and immigration.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E661 .G45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



When many Americans think of the Gilded Age, they picture the mansions at Newport, Rhode Island, or the tenements of New York City. Indeed, the late 19th century was a period of extreme poverty thinly veiled by fabulous wealth. However, we should not remember the era only for the strides madeby steel magnate Andrew Carnegie or social reformer Jane Addams. All Americans had to adjust to the dynamic social and economic changes of the Gilded Age--the booming industries, growing cities, increased ethnic and cultural diversity. African American W. E. B. Du Bois, Native American Sitting Bull,and Chinese American Saum Song Bo spoke out against racial injustice. European immigrants Mary Antin and Robert Ferrari suffered the pitfalls and praised the opportunities found in their new country. Pioneer Phoebe Judson lamented the loneliness of making a life out West. And workers at HomesteadSteel lost their lives in an attempt to improve labor conditions. Drawing from the letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, journals, and speeches of Gilded Age Americans, author Janette Greenwood arranges all of these voices to tell a story more vibrant and textured than the simple tale of robberbaron versus starving poor. In addition to these voices, visuals--such as advertisements, maps, political cartoons, and a picture essay on Jacob Riiss urban photographs--create a kaleidoscopic view of the quarter century when diverse Americans struggled for the same goal: a better way of life, withmore justice and democracy for each and all. PAGES FROM HISTORY General Editors: Sarah Deutsch, University of Arizona, Carol Karlsen, University of Michigan, Robert G. Moeller, University of California, Irvine, and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Indiana University, Bloomington Textbooks may interpret history, but the books in the Pages from History series are history. Each title, compiled and edited by a prominent historian, is a collection of primary sources relating to a particular topic of historical significance. Documentary evidence including news articles,government documents, memoirs, letters, diaries, fiction, photographs, and facsimiles allows history to speak for itself and turns every reader into a historian. Headnotes, extended captions, sidebars, and introductory essays provide the essential context that frames the documents. All the books areamply illustrated and each includes a documentary picture essay, chronology, further reading, source notes, and index.

Author Notes

Janette Thomas Greenwood is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at Clark University. Her previous works include Bittersweet Legacy: The Black and White "Better Classes" in Charlotte, N.C. 1850-1910 (UNC Press, 1994), The Black Experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg,1850-1920: A Curriculum Guide for Teachers (C-M Historic Properties Commission, 1984) and On the Home Front: Charlotte During the Civil War (Mint Museum of History, 1982).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. In a satirical novel that gave the Gilded Age its name, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner depicted the post^-Civil War years as rampantly prosperous, materialistic, and corrupt. But, as Greenwood shows in this multidimensional text, the period was actually as diverse as any time in U.S. history. Including a broad range of documents, which she defines as everything from diaries and editorial cartoons to mail-order catalogs and family photographs, she gives her book broad appeal. There's plenty to absorb and much to capture the imagination. Two-thirds of each spread is devoted to text that blends extensive author-driven information with excerpts from various documents. The remainder of the spread comprises quotations, photos, drawings, and brief articles that add dimension to the main narrative. Covering topics from immigration, farming, and labor to the West, women, and leisure, Greenwood presents the history as a seamless tapestry sewn by the people who lived it. --Roger Leslie

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-This series entry brings to life an exciting time in U.S. history. During the last 25 years of the 19th century, immense wealth coexisted with extreme poverty, new inventions appeared, and industrialization and immigration were transforming the country's social fabric. Greenwood discusses the period objectively in a concise, lively commentary that frames scores of primary sources and black-and-white reproductions and photos that effectively capture most aspects of post-Civil War America. Among the written documents are a labor-movement recruitment song, interviews with black "Exodusters" in Kansas, the reminiscences of Andrew Carnegie, essays for and against the Spanish-American War and territorial expansion, and a Scribner's magazine editorial defining the proper place of middle-class women. Coverage of women and minorities is noteworthy. A fine source for both school assignments and browsing pleasure.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

What Is a Document?p. 6
How to Read a Documentp. 8
Introductionp. 11
Chapter 1 Big Business, Industry, and the American Dreamp. 13
Captains of Industryp. 16
Muckrakingp. 18
"Survival of the Fittest"p. 20
Responsibilities of the Richp. 24
From Rags to Richesp. 26
Chapter 2 Immigration to a "Promised Land"p. 29
Arrivalp. 33
Opportunityp. 35
Sacrificesp. 38
Racismp. 40
Advicep. 45
Chapter 3 The Sorrows of Laborp. 49
The Knights of Laborp. 51
The Haymarket Affairp. 53
Trade Unionsp. 55
Industrial Unionsp. 57
Women in the Work Forcep. 59
Child Laborp. 62
The Homestead Lockoutp. 64
Chapter 4 The Perils and Promise of Urban Lifep. 67
Social Activismp. 71
Social Darwinismp. 76
Ward Bossesp. 78
Prohibitionp. 79
Chapter 5 Picture Essay
Jacob Riis and the Power of the Photographp. 83
Chapter 6 The New Southp. 91
A Sharecropper's Contractp. 94
"A Perfect Democracy"p. 96
Cotton Mill Workersp. 99
The Rise of "Jim Crow"p. 100
Chapter 7 The Westp. 115
An Indian Victoryp. 120
"Whitening" Indiansp. 123
Pioneersp. 127
Exodustersp. 129
Mexican Americans Fight Backp. 130
Chapter 8 The Farmers' Revoltp. 133
Farmers' Alliancesp. 138
The Populist Partyp. 143
Election 1896p. 148
Chapter 9 The United States Builds an Empirep. 153
The Spanish-American Warp. 157
Anti-Imperialismp. 162
The Philippinesp. 163
Chapter 10 New Women, Strenuous Men, and Leisurep. 171
"The Strenuous Life"p. 173
Sportsp. 175
Rebellious Womenp. 178
Timelinep. 180
Further Readingp. 182
Text Creditsp. 185
Picture Creditsp. 187
Indexp. 188