Tag Archives: Bibliography

“The Cuyahoga will be the place”: A bibliography for over two centuries of Cleveland

“I believe … the Cuyahoga will be the place,” Moses Cleaveland wrote in July of 1796. Working for the Connecticut Land Company, Cleaveland had arrived in Ohio to survey the land and plot it for settlement. Cleveland, he believed, would be well situated for future success. “It must command the greatest communication either by land or Water of an River on the purchase or in any ceded lands from the head of the Mohawk to the western extent or I am no prophet,” he wrote to his superiors.[1] Others viewed the potential hamlet more problematically. “Cleveland has a Thousand Charms but I am deterred from pitching on that place by the Sickness, the poorness of the Soil, and the inhabitants under the hill,” wrote Gideon Granger in 1804. Needless to say, Granger’s views suggested changes needed to be made.[2]

Transformation occurred. Due in part to the kind of physical alteration of the environment that made its larger counterpart Chicago famous, “the Sickness” that Granger noted was afflicting residents eventually dissipated. Engineers opened new channels that more directly connected to Lake Erie; the Cuyahoga River’s swift current eliminated sandbars that had previously prevented larger ships from accessing the lake. It also eliminated “the miasmic swamps from the mouth,” thereby bringing greater health to inhabitants.[3]

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Cleveland and Toledo Rail-Road 1856, G. F. Thomas & Co., Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress

With other transportation improvements such as the completion of the Erie and Ohio Canals and the introduction of the railroad, Cleveland boomed. The city evolved from hamlet to “commercial village and city [to] industrial city, and [to] post industrial city,” as historians Carol Poh Miller and Robert A. Wheeler summarize in their short history of the metropolis. Though it lay it in what was then considered the American West, planners and leaders attempted to construct the city on the model of the New England town.[4] It would not stay that way.

Canal building and railroad construction enabled the city to establish itself as a commercial center; circumstances did not remain static. First the “west” moved; in 1825 Cleveland could lay claim to frontier status, but by 1845 that frontier had moved 1,000 miles further west. Second, demographics shifted. If its population consisted primarily of the native born in 1825, two decades later half of the city’s residents had been born abroad. Third, the disinterested gentlemen politicians of 1825, serving only for the “public good” had, twenty years on, become machine hacks as ”party politics” determined most elections.[5]

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Birds eye view of Cleveland, Ohio 1877, Ruger, A., J.J. Stoner and Shober & Carqueville, Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the city had emerged as a regional economic force. Cleveland shed its provincialism and its political and civic leaders engaged in national debate particularly in regards to slavery and abolitionism. Industry soon flourished; its police and fire departments formed in the 1860s. Having emerged as a center of abolitionism, the city threw its support behind Lincoln and, after secession, the Union. European immigrants poured into the city. In its early years the city housed mostly new arrivals from Ireland and German, but with the onset of industrialization it welcomed Italians, Slavics, Greeks, Hungarians and other immigrants. Hoping to escape discrimination in Europe, Jews also arrived in large numbers. Roughly 3,500 resided in Cleveland by 1880, and within 40 years the number climbed to 75,000, making Jews nearly 10% of the overall population.[6] In 1890, 37 percent of its population had been born in Europe, but even more telling, three quarters of the city were either born abroad or the progeny of parents who were immigrants.[7]

Jewish Americans would be critical to the city’s wellbeing in the coming decades particularly as the black population swelled and pressures resulting from segregation and structural racism in the housing market bulged. In moments, Jewish homeowners resisted African American attempts to purchase homes in Cleveland neighborhoods; at other times, they worked to reduce tensions between the two groups as communities slowly integrated. An odd amalgam of self interest, altruism, and fear over alleged declining home values shaped responses. “[I]n Cleveland, ethnic and religious divisions shaped divergent responses and decisions,” historian Todd Michney points out. “Whites of different backgrounds reacted more or less disconcertedly, some departing sooner and others later, with patterns hardly resembling unanimity.”[8] Still, on average, when compared with their Catholic white ethnic counterparts in the city, Jewish Clevelanders demonstrated greater flexibility and understanding in relation to housing integration.

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Bathing beach and pavilion, Gordon Park, 1917, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Admittedly, for much of the nineteenth century, African Americans made up a small percentage of the city’s population. Serving as a guide, navigator, and interpreter, Joseph Hodge (aka Black Joe) had been an important contributor to Moses Cleveland’s initial founding of the future metropolis in 1796, but the state’s Black Laws, which essentially discouraged black settlement in Ohio, and the practice of slavery south of the state’s borders, more generally helped keep these numbers low.[9]

It was not until World War I and the Great Migration that residents would witness an increase in the city’s African American population. With immigration at a standstill, “Cleveland’s industrialists turned to the ready supply of black labor in the South,” historian Russell H. Davis pointed out in 1972. The great flow of labor north brought the quotidian, the remarkable, and everything in between. For example, James Cleveland Owens, named after the city his parents viewed as “the promised land,” arrived in the Ohio metropolis during the 1920s. During his first day of school he took on the name that he would later make famous. Unable to fully understand Owens due to his southern accent, his teacher mistook his nickname of J.C. for Jesse. His teachers “from that day forward, called him Jesse instead. So did everyone else in this new world he was in,” writes Isabel Wilkerson in her Pulitzer Prize winning work, The Warmth of Other Suns.[10]

Jesse Owens needs little introduction, of course , but rather embodies Cleveland as a site of opportunity, both shaping and shaped by new arrivals. The growth of the black population continued through and after World War II. Most settled on the city’s east side which would be “the principle place of residence” for Black Cleveland for much of the twentieth century.[11] Though limited by segregation, as Michney argues in his recently published work, Surrogate Suburbs, Cleveland’s black working and middle classes “dynamically and creatively engaged with space at the urban periphery” and transformed communities into critical centers of black economic, social, and political life.[12] This influence exceeded local neighborhoods, labor, and demographics. In 1967, Carl B. Stokes triumphed in the mayoral contest becoming the first black mayor of a major U.S. metropolis.

World War II drove Cleveland to further economic and demographic heights. In 1950 the city reached nearly 1,000,000 residents with almost 150,000 of that figure accounting for black Clevelanders. Unfortunately, like other rust belt counterparts such as Pittsburgh or Detroit, the fall came soon after. In ensuing decades, the usual story of decline and deindustrialization unfolded, yet its history, while similar to its sister rust belt metropolises, proved unique. As Mark Souther notes in his forthcoming work Believing in Cleveland, it did not “endure collapse as stultifying as that in Detroit”; it lacked the kind of global connections and vastness of the Windy City or the tourist friendly James Rouse revisionist reboot of Charm City. Pittsburgh, perhaps its closest relative, found ways to rebuild successfully upon the dual industries of “eds-and-meds” and cutting edge robotics and medical technology (though Patrick Vitale’s arguments to the contrary are noted).[13] Cleveland, arguably the most understudied of these examples, went its own way.

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Jewish Temple, Cleveland, O[hio], 1900, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
For example, in the area of race relations and housing, though it witnessed its own tensions and occasional violence, it never endured the kind of unrest and bloodshed that defined other cities. Cleveland “did not experience anything remotely approaching the sustained and highly organized violence mounted by white residents in … Chicago and Detroit”, writes Michney.[14] White ethnics in Cleveland, particularly its Jewish residents, might have been uncomfortable with neighborhood transitions, but they never resorted to the kind of brutality that defined the era, and many even tried to work with community groups in order to blunt population changes or enable them to occur more efficiently.

Urban historians have spent decades peeling back the layers of rust belt ascension–decline–ascension narratives. In addition to groundbreaking work like Tom Sugrue’s The Origin of the Urban Crisis which established a new template for discussions of urban America, a newer cohort of scholars like Tracy Neumann, the aforementioned Vitale, Michney, and Souther, Elihu Rubin, Andrew K. Sandoval Strausz, Chloe Taft and others have been reworking the rise-and-fall narratives by intellectually sauntering down previously ignored avenues of exploration. In particular, Michney and Souther seek to place Cleveland, with some exceptions, into this discussion. “Like many cities across the Great Lakes region,” writes Souther, “Cleveland was a city whose leaders faced broad challenges that forced them to manage its decline or, perhaps more accurately, to manage perception of metropolitan transformations that produced spatially differentiated outcomes – winners and losers.”[15]

Even if rise and fall narratives obscure important realities, few would argue that by the 1970s Cleveland could use some improvements. In a fifteen-year period from 1958 to 1973, the city lost 50,000 manufacturing jobs. Schools struggled, neighborhoods faced declining infrastructure, and air pollution soared. While some African Americans found purchase in the suburbs, most remained relegated to struggling communities in the inner city that ultimately served as a “repository for the metropolitan area’s worst socioeconomic hardships,” Souther argued in a recent article.

“The Best Location in the Nation” (1940s), “The Best Things in Life are Here” (1970s), “Comeback City” (1990s), and “Believe in Cleveland” (2000s) serve as only a few taglines among countless others that were meant to sell post-World War II Cleveland to the nation. “New York might be the Big Apple, but Cleveland is a plum,” the Cleveland New Dealer once asserted.[16] Unfortunately, no degree of semantics could alter opinions held by even local residents. “Anyone dumb enough to believe that ‘the best things in life are right here in Cleveland deserves to breathe Cleveland’s air and live in Cleveland’s filth,” wrote one disbelieving Shaker Heights resident. “Cleveland is a rotting corpse clothed in a hazy, blue gray shroud. Cute songs and slogans won’t fix it. You fix a trash heap by cleaning it up. You start with the air and work your way down period.”

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio, Carol M. Highsmith, 2010, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Today, disgruntled Clevelanders of the past aside, it would seem such attempts to renew interest in the metropolis are unnecessary; the city has shed the image of the “mistake on the lake,” when the Cuyahoga River caught fire from pollution. Pop culture overflows with references to the city. The soap opera that is the relationship between Lebron James and the Cavaliers has transfixed the nation for over a decade and arguably boosted the NBA to new heights of popularity. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Believeland” laid out the angst of the city’s erstwhile sports fan for all to see; only to be improbably redeemed by James and the Cavaliers the same year. Tina Fey’s Thirty Rock dedicated an entire episode to the city’s undeniable if unexciting pleasantness; the film Trainwreck gently teased it for the same. It even gets a mention on the latest album, Sleep Well Beast, by Ohio’s most famous aging hipster rock band, the National: “Young mothers love me / Even ghosts of girlfriends call from Cleveland / They will meet me anytime, anywhere.”

Whether or not our bibliography for Cleveland fully explains how the city came to its current incarnation remains to be seen. We do hope that it piques interest in a rust belt city that has persevered through two centuries of existence. Beyond trite slogans, 1990s sitcoms (Drew Carey, we are looking at you), or museums dedicated to dying art forms (we kid, Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Millenials love dinosauresque four-piece garage bands … ), the city of “progress and prosperity” soldiers on in ways 1970s resident might never have predicted. Perhaps, Mr. Carey, Cleveland does rock.

As always, we know the list has flaws but hope that readers will use the comments section to help us fill in the blanks. Special thanks to J. Mark Souther (especially herculean in his efforts), Todd Michney, and Nichole Nelson for their help in creating the bibliography.

Photo at top of the page: Dusk-time view of the Cleveland Museum of Art from Wade Lagoon in ClevelandDusk-time view of the Cleveland Museum of Art from Wade Lagoon in Cleveland, Ohio, Carol M. Highsmith, 2016, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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Overview, southeast, Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse, Cleveland, Ohio, Carol M. Highsmith, 2016, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Books

Campbell, Thomas F., and Edward M. Miggins, eds. The Birth of Modern Cleveland, 1865-
1930
. Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1988.

Cigliano, Jan. Showplace of America: Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, 1850-1910. Kent, OH: Kent
State University Press, 1991.

Davis, Russell H. Black Americans in Cleveland: From George Peake to Carl B. Stokes, 1796-1969. Cleveland: Associated Publishers, 1972.

Hammack, David C., Diane L. Grabowski, and John J. Grabowski, eds. Identity, Conflict,                and Cooperation: Central Europeans in Cleveland, 1850-1930. Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 2002.

Harwood, Herbert H., Jr. Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Howe, Frederic C. The Confessions of a Reformer. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press,
1988.

Keating, W. Dennis. The Suburban Racial Dilemma: Housing and Neighborhoods.Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

Keating, W. Dennis, Norman Krumholz, and David C. Perry, eds. Cleveland: A Metropolitan Reader. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1995.

Kerr, Daniel R. Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011.

Kusmer, Kenneth L. A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleveland, 1870-1930. Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 1978.

Michney, Todd M. Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in
Cleveland, 1900-1980.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Miller, Carol Poh, and Robert Wheeler. Cleveland: A Concise History, 1796-1996. 2nd ed.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

Moore, Leonard N. Carl B. Stokes and the Rise of Black Political Power. Urbana: University
of Illinois Press, 2002.

Pekar, Harvey, and Joseph Remnant. Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland. Scarsdale, NY: Zip Comics,
2012.

Phillips, Kimberley L. AlabamaNorth: African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-1945. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Souther, J. Mark. Believing in Cleveland: Managing Decline in “The Best Location in the
Nation.”
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2017.

Stokes, Carl B. Promises of Power: A Political Autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster,
1973.

Stradling, David, and Richard Stradling. Where the River Burned: Carl Stokes and the Struggle to Save Cleveland. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015.

Swanstrom, Todd. The Crisis of Growth Politics: Cleveland, Kucinich, and the Challenge of
Urban Populism
. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1985.

Tittle, Diana. Rebuilding Cleveland: The Cleveland Foundation and Its Evolving Urban
Strategy
. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1992.

Toman, James A., and Blaine S. Hayes. Horse Trails to Regional Rails: The Story of Public
Transit in Greater Cleveland
. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1996.

Vacha, John. Meet Me on Lake Erie, Dearie!: Cleveland’s Great Lakes Exposition, 1936-1937.
Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2010.

Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. Cleveland: A Tradition of Reform. Kent,
OH: Kent State University Press, 1986.

Wiese, Andrew. Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth
Century
. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

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Jimmy Carter at a street rally during a campaign stop in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas J. O’Halloran, September 1976, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Articles

Borchert, James, and Susan Borchert. Downtown, Uptown, Out of Town: Diverging Patterns of Upper-Class Residential Landscapes in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, 1885-1935. Social Science History 26, no. 2(2002): 311-346.

Jenkins, William D. “Before Downtown: Cleveland, Ohio, and Urban Renewal, 1949-1958.”
Journal of Urban History 27, no. 4 (May 2001): 471-496.

Michney, Todd M. “Race, Violence, and Urban Territoriality: Cleveland’s Little Italy and the 1966 Hough Uprising.” Journal of Urban History 32, no. 3 (March 2006): 404-428.

Michney, “Constrained Communities: Black Cleveland’s Experience with World War II Public Housing,” Journal of Social History 40 (Summer 2007): 933-956

Michney, Todd M. “White Civic Visions Versus Black Suburban Aspirations: Cleveland’s
Garden Valley Urban Renewal Project.” Journal of Planning History 10, no. 4 (November 2011): 282-309.

Souther, J. Mark. “A $35 Million ‘Hole in the Ground’: Metropolitan Fragmentation and
Cleveland’s Unbuilt Downtown Subway.” Journal of Planning History 14, no. 3 (August 2015): 179-203.

Souther, J. Mark. “Acropolis of the Middle-West: Decay, Renewal, and Boosterism in
Cleveland’s University Circle.” Journal of Planning History 10, no. 1 (February 2011): 30-58.

Stradling, David, and Richard Stradling. “Perceptions of the Burning River: Deindustrialization and Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River.” Environmental History 13, no. 3 (July 2008): 515-35.

Tebeau, Mark. “Sculpted Landscapes: Art & Place in Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, 1916-
2006.” Journal of Social History 44, no. 2 (winter 2010): 327-50.

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Cleveland, Ohio, aerial view, Thomas J. O’Halloran, September 1965, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Online Resources

Cleveland Historical. https://clevelandhistorical.org. A website and mobile app that puts
Cleveland history at your fingertips. Developed by the Center for Public History +
Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University.

Cleveland Memory Project. http://clevelandmemory.org. An online collection of digital photos, historical texts, oral histories, videos, and other local history resources. Developed by the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University.

Cleveland Voices. https://clevelandvoices.org. An online streaming-audio collection of
approximately 1,000 interviews conducted since 2002 as part of the Cleveland Regional
Oral History Collection, a project of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
at Cleveland State University.

 Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. http://ech.case.edu. Originally published in 1987 by Indiana University Press and now online, the ECH is edited by Case Western Reserve University historian John J. Grabowski, contains more than 3,000 entries about all aspects of Cleveland history.

 

[1] Carol Poh Miller and Robert A. Wheeler, Cleveland: A Concise History, 1796 – 1996, (Indiana University Press, 1997), 9.

[2] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 17.

[3] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 33.

[4] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 32-34, xiv.

[5] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 31.

[6] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 102-103.

[7] Miller and Wheeler, Cleveland, 82-83.

[8] Todd Michney, Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900-1980, (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), 10.

[9] Russell H. Davis, Black Americans in Cleveland: From George Peake to Carl B. Stokes, 1796-1969, (Associated Publishers, 1972), 5.

[10] Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, (Random House, 2010) 265-266.

[11] Russell H. Davis, Black Americans in Cleveland: From George Peake to Carl B. Stokes, 1796-1969, (Associated Publishers, 1972), 127-128.

[12] Todd Michney, Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900-1980, (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), 3.

[13] J. Mark Souther, Believing in Cleveland: Managing Decline in ‘The Best Location in the Nation’, (Temple University Press, 2017), 4.

[14] Michney, Surrogate Suburbs, 9.

[15] Souther, Believing in Cleveland, 11.

[16] Souther, Believing in Cleveland, 2.

Welcome to Hawaii: A Honolulu Bibliography in the Aloha Spirit

“It’s a cosmic irony that the longest, most grueling nonstop in the United States ends in the sweetest arrival of all,” Jocelyn Fujii, Hawaiian native and New York Times writer, wrote in a recent edition of its 36 Hours travel book series. Travelers will inhale the smell of “tuberose and plumeria” in the Hawaiian air, and find countless ethnic restaurants to satiate their taste buds, numerous accomplished art galleries to dazzle the eyes, and “hula dancers at sunset” to nostalgically transport tourists to the past. Such activities represent only a germ of the promise that one discovers in the nation’s most distant state, she pointed out.

Despite the fact that Honolulu and Hawaii date back centuries, most Americans know the city for Pearl Harbor, beaches—notably those on the North Shore and in Waikiki—surfing, tiki drinks such as Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians, and luaus. Fans of network television might claim to watch the current iteration of Hawaii-Five O meanwhile their more benighted hipster counterparts will proudly attest to only watching the original series.

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Outside the Royal Hawaiian, Honolulu, Hawaii, Ryan Reft, June 2017

Many of us will admit to watching reruns of the 1972 Brady Bunch season opener. Greg discovers a cursed tiki statue at his Dad’s construction site, which predictably results in near disaster by the third episode of the three-episode arc. I will only touch upon Mad Men’s Season 6 opener where creator Matthew Weiner utilizes Honolulu’s mythical properties to comment on the shallowness of mid-century America. Don visits the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu; part business trip and vacation. He attends a luau where a hotel executive denigrates native cuisine; serves as witness to a soldier’s beach front wedding just before the latter ships off for Vietnam; and later alienates his Royal Hawaiian Hotel clients with an ad campaign for their company that appears to equate vacationing in Honolulu with suicide. “History is erased and blocked out with electric-blue cocktails,” Molly Lambert wrote in her cogent review. Hawaii isn’t a place with its own past and culture but instead a setting through which we discover the truth about ourselves. It would seem that these pop culture depictions of the 50th state fail to bring us any closer to grasping the complexity of Hawaii and Honolulu’s cultural, economic, and political importance over the past centuries.

Yet, perhaps these examples implicitly point to underlying issues regarding our knowledge of Hawaii, and Honolulu more specifically. Could Greg’s discovery of the cursed tiki statue, for example, be some sort of metaphorical comment on the unrelenting urban and economic development that has reshaped Hawaii in an Americanized image, thereby negating its longer history? Or is it just another Saidian Orientalist refraction of reality? Did Don Draper’s dreamlike walk through his Honolulu vacation represent his and the state’s own alienation from American society? I’ll leave that for readers to determine. Ultimately, Lambert’s larger point about historical erasure seems loudly evident. Tragically many Americans only know Honolulu through the lens of package vacation deals; the city equated with the number of days one spends lazing on the beach imbibing mixed drinks with umbrellas. Obviously there is so much more.

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Stores on Fort Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1910-1915, George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress

Europeans first made contact with Hawaii via Captain James Cooke in 1778. Cooke may not have meant to open the door to disease, which wiped out nearly 90 percent of the native population, nor intended for Americans to usurp the island during the late nineteenth century, but both occurred as a result of his encounter. About three decades after Cooke’s arrival, King Kamehameha unified the islands, utilizing his knowledge of European weaponry and iron-making and deploying each in his own violent unification of Hawaii. Europeans and the U.S. would take greater interest in the archipelago due to its burgeoning sandalwood trade from which the King profited. Americans helped introduce Hawaiian sandalwood to the international market.

Kamehameha and other Hawaiian elites grasped the idea of scarcity in capitalism quickly; the sandalwood futures market in Hawaii traded briskly. Honolulu as a port gained importance. Whaling would prove lucrative for the city particularly in the mid 1800s when demand for whale oil was high, whale stocks full, and petroleum not yet a resource. International demand brought sailors and ships to the archipelago and especially its urban center. Honolulu gained official status as the capital of the kingdom in 1850 around the same time sugar took whaling’s place in the local economy; after petroleum was discovered and whale stocks had collapsed. Though Maui would become the chief sugar producer among the eight Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu, situated on the coast of Oahu, would serve as the kingdom’s business center. Soon white haoles came to dominate much of the economy.[1] Nineteenth century historian and advisor to Kamehameha III Davida Malo recognized the danger haoles represented for Hawaii’s continued independence. “The ships of the white men have come … they know our people are few in number and living in a small country; they will eat us up, such has always been the case with large countries, the small ones have been gobbled up.”[2]

 

 

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Statue of Kamehameha in the Palace grounds, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1919, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Economics further influenced Honolulu. Undoubtedly lucrative, sugar reshaped Hawaiian society in nearly every manner. The crop had a halting start in the archipelago, but by 1866 fortunes had turned and Hawaii had achieved its first “positive balance of payments,” notes James L. Haley in Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii. U.S. economic interference and corporate consolidation of the land eventually followed. Yet, even on the eve of Pearl Harbor, it remained a colonial territory rather than the tourist paradise it is today.

Sugar introduced immigration flows that previously had been minimal. Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese workers flocked to the island. By 1884, the Chinese accounted for nearly one fourth of Hawaii’s population; around the same time, Honolulu’s Chinatown bulged to nearly 8,000 residents, “such a tightly packed warren of houses, shops, shacks, and lean-tos that a fire [in 1866] could not be extinguished before devastating most of it.”[1] The sugar cane that drew Chinese labors and others to Honolulu would persist as a cash crop into the late 20th century, the ethnic diversity needed to harvest it continued as well; in 2010, over 50 percent of the city’s population was Asian (Japanese, Filipinos, and Chinese nearly half), 18 percent white, nine percent Native Hawaiian, five percent Latino, and just over one percent African American.

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Patsy Mink campaign ephemera, circa 1956-1960, Patsy Mink Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Honolulu’s multiculturalism has had national implications in producing two ground-breaking politicians. Patsy Mink, champion of Title IX, became the first woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to Congress in 1965; Barack Obama became the nation’s first black president in 2008. More recently, its federal courts challenged President Trump’s travel bans and forced a showdown that will occur during the Supreme Court’s 2017 October Term.

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The first Christian Church built in Hawaii, Honolulu, H.I, photograph from 1902, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

One should not overstate the economic forces that shaped Honolulu; other cultural influences worked in parallel and imposed political and financial costs. Beginning in the 1820s, missionaries brought Calvinism; other forms of Christianity followed, all of which had myriad affects on Hawaiian society. At the risk of oversimplifying, Christianity became the state religion; the children of missionaries came to dominate sugar and other industries and their parents influenced the kingdom’s politics. In an era of imperial intrigue, religion gave the U.S. a cultural and economic advantage over British and French competitors, which the Yankees fully exploited to annex the kingdom at the end of the nineteenth century.

Later when, pineapple and sugar began their long decline—today each is mostly gone from the archipelago’s economy—tourism and the military took their place. While the implications of a military presence seem obvious and would seem to highlight the imperial aspects of Honolulu’s past, as Beth Baily and David Farber noted in The First Strange Place, WWII ushered in a wave of black, white, Latino, and Asian Americans who encountered the multiracial island during the era of Jim Crow. A conservative institution, the military regularly produces situations that challenge that very conservatism; the racial logic of mainland America faced a direct assault in the multicultural tropical setting of Honolulu. Sexual and racial boundaries would be crossed, violated, reinforced, and rethought. During the Second World War, Honoluluans of “different backgrounds were brought together in a common cause. This contact—collision, even—of cultures led to struggle and contestation, and sometimes to negotiation, improved understanding, or change,” noted Bailey and Farber.[1]

If the military presence, arguably problematic, demonstrates complexity, so too does tourism and one of Honolulu’s premier symbols of this tourism, its beaches. “The beach was historically a place where hoale and Hawaiian worlds collided,” writes historian Isaiah Helekunih Walker in Waves of Resistance. Culture was not unidirectional. On Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, Hawaiian and haole relationships “were redefined and reconstituted … the ocean was not simply a place from which haole, on the decks of their ships, transposed their image of the islands onto Hawaiians.”[1]

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Two natives with outrigger canoes at shoreline, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1922, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

In the water that rolled onto its beaches, argues Walker, native Hawaiian surfers subverted hegemonies. “[I]n the early twentieth century Hawaiian surfers in Waikiki successfully combated elite haole annexationists, had sex with elite white women, ran lucrative beach concessions businesses, and beat up American and European soldiers, and dictated what haole could and could not do in the surf.”[1] Figures like Olympic gold medalist and surfer guru Duke Kahanamoku carried the sport to California where its history and bloodlines were whitewashed, but ultimately exploded into international acclaim after WWII.

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Duke Kahanamoku at Huntington Beach (though admittedly it looks like Diamond Head in the background), 1965, Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

Honolulu played a central role throughout this history. Since the 1970s, there has been a resurgence in capturing Hawaii’s native past and pushing past staid narratives. We hope you see this reflected in the bibliography below and, if not, fill in our blind spots in the comments.

Thanks to H. M. Gelfand, Scott Laderman, and William Chapman for their help in compiling our bibliography.

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Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii: View from beach showing the Moana Hotel at right and portion of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel at left, between 1930 and 1940, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congresss

Honolulu Bibliography

Jennifer Allen, Mālama Honua: Hōkūle’a, A Voyage Of Hope, (Ventura: Patagonia Books, 2017).

Noelani Arista, Histories of Unequal Measure: Euro-American Encounters with Hawaiian Governance and Law, 1796-1827. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) (forthcoming)

Nancy Bannick, Scott Cheever, and Dave Cheever, A Close Call: Saving Honolulu’s Chinatown, (Honolulu: Little Percent Press, 2005) – Honolulu weekly article highlighting the book.

Beth Bailey and David Farber, The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994) – Videri review

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Honolulu business district and harbor, from top of the Punchbowl, 1930-1940, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Edward D. Beechert, Honolulu: Crossroads of the Pacific, (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991).

Robert Cabin, Restoring Paradise: Rethinking And Rebuilding Nature In Hawaii, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2013).

Gaye Chan and Andrea Freeser, Waikiki: A History Of Forgetting And Remembering, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006) – Review Marata Tamaira via academia.edu

Joyce Chinen, Kathleen Kane, and Ida Yoshinaga, eds., Women In Hawai’i: Sites, Identities, And Voices, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Department of Sociology, 1997).

Tom Coffman, Nation Within: The History of The American Occupation Of Hawai’i, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016) – Review by David “Keanu” Sai

Gavin Daws, Honolulu the First Century: The Story of Town to 1876, (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing Company, 2006).

Gavin Daws, Shoal in Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974) – lightpalimpsest.blogspot review

Grove Day, Hawai’i and Its People, (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing Company, 1993).

Heather Diamond, American Aloha: Cultural Tourism And The Negotiation Of Tradition, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008) – Review via SJSU Scholarworks

Masayo Duus, Unlikely Liberators: The Men Of The 100th And 442nd, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006).

Suzanne Falgout and Linda Nishigaya, Breaking The Silence: Lessons Of Democracy And Social Justice From The World War II Honouliuli Internment And POW Camp in Hawai’i, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Department of Sociology, 2014).

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii
Skyline, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, Carol M. Highsmith, December 2005, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress

Ben Finney, Sailing In The Wake Of The Ancestors: Reviving Polynesian Voyaging, (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 2003) – Review in Asian Perspectives (via project muse)

Ben Finney, Voyage Of Rediscovery: A Cultural Odyssey Through Polynesia, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

Lawrence A. Fuchs, Hawaii: A Social History, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984).

Clifford Gessler, Tropical Landfall: The Port of Honolulu, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, and Company, 1943).

Ariel J. Gross, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).

James L. Haley, Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii, (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014) – Kirkus review.

Leilani Holmes, Ancestry of Experience: A Journey In To Hawaiian Ways Of Knowing, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012) – Review Oral History Review

Robert Hommon, The Ancient Hawaiian State: Origins Of A Political Society, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) – Review hawaiianhistory.org.

Amy Kaplan, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Ikaikia Hussey, and Erin Wright, eds., A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements For Life, Land, and Sovereignty, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014) – Review JAH

Ralph S. Kuykendall and A. Grove Day, Hawaii: A History, From Polynesian Kingdom to American State, Revised edition, (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1976) .

Edward Joesting, Hawaii: An Uncommon History, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1978).

Edward Joesting, Kaua’i: The Separate Kingdom, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1984).

Donald D. Johnson and Phyllis Turnball, The City and County of Honolulu: A Government Chronicle, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991).

Amy Kaplan, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005) – Short review in Foreign Affairs

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‘Iolani Palace, in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, Carol M. Highsmith, 1980-2006, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Kehaulini Kauanui, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).

Gerald Kinro, A Cup Of Aloha: The Kona Coffee Epic, (Honolulu: University of HawaiI Press, 2003).

Scott Laderman, Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014) – H-Net review

Rachel Laudan, The Food Of Paradise: Exploring Hawai’i’s Culinary Heritage, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1996) – Review in Isis

Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai’i’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen Lili’uokalani, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014)

John McDermott and Naleen Andrade, People And Cultures Of Hawai’i: The Evolution Of Culture And Ethnicity, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011).

Davianna McGregor, Nā Kua’āina: Living Hawaiian Culture, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009) – Review The Contemporary Pacific (via Jstor)

James C. Mohr, The Plague and Fire: Battling Black Death and the 1900 Burning of Chinatown, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) – Review by Brian Ireland at Americansc.org.uk

Susan A. Moore, Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii, (New York: Farar, Straus & Giroux, 2015) – NYT review

Gary Okihiro, Island World: A History Of Hawai’i And The United States, (Berkeley: University Of California Press, 2008) – Review PHR (via jstor)

Michael M. Okihiro, A’ala: The Story of a Japanese Community in Hawaii, (Honolulu: Japanese Cultural Center, 2003) – Not really a review, but this article from the.honoluladvertiser.com provides some useful description on the book.

Koohan Paik and Jerry Mander, The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth, (Honolulu: Koa Books, 2007).

Pi’ilani, The True Story Of Kaluaikoolau, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001).

John P. Rosa, Local Story: The Massie/Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History, (Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2014).

Rob Sandler and Julie Mehta, Architecture in Hawaii: A Chronological Survey, (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1993) – Brief 2008 review of revised edition in Honolulu Weekly

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The Surf rider, 1929, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Allan Seiden, The Hawaiian Monarchy, (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2005).

Julia Flynn Siler, Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar King, and America’s First Imperial Adventure, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012) – NYT review

David Stanndard, Race, Rape and Clarence Darrow’s Spectacular Last Case, (New York: Penguin Books, 2006) – H-Net review

Ty Kāwika Tengan, Native Men Remade: Gender And Nation In Contemporary Hawai’i. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008) – Review Men and Masculinities (via Sage)

James Tayman, The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai, (New York: Scribner, 2007) – NYT article on the book’s supporters and critics

Haunani-Kay Trask, From A Native Daughter: Colonialism And Sovereignty In Hawai’i, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999).

Mark Twain, Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands (Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1994) and Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1975)– NYT article on Twain in Hawaii

Isaiah Helekunihi Walker, Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in Twentieth-Century Hawai’i, (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2011) – Hawaii Book Blog review

Fiction

Alan Brennert, Honolulu, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009) – WAPO review

Kiana Davenport, House of Many Gods, (New York: Ballatine Publishing, 2006) – SFGate review

James Michener, Hawaii, (New York: Random House, 2002).

Paul Theroux, Hotel Honolulu, (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001) – NYT review

 

[1] Haoles, according to historian James Haley it means literally “without breath, unable to speak the language”, is general term for non-native residents of Hawaii, initially white missionaries occupied this status later it came to include plantation workers and others.

[2] James L. Haley, Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), 90.

[3] James L. Haley, Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), 48-49, 263.

[4] Beth Bailey and David Farber, The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii, (New York: Free Press, 1992), 18.

[5] Isaiah Helekunih Walker, Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in Twentieth Century Hawaii, (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011), 11.

[6] Walker, Waves of Resistance, 10.

A Bibliography for the Capital of the Pacific Northwest: Seattle

 

Over the last quarter of a century, Seattle has gone from remote, grunge rock, alternative Pac NW paradise (as portrayed in the now 25 year old movie Singles) to environmental aggro bike riding hipster World Trade Organization protesting enclave (see 2007’s Battle in Seattle) to new Silicon Valley tech Amazon/Microsoft led metropolis. Its sibling Portland has “Portlandia”; Seattle, “Grey’s Anatomy” and for the older that walk among us, “Frazier”. The former remains smaller, weirder, and perhaps, more iconoclastic, while the latter has donned its adult clothes as it transforms into what some now dub a new San Francisco.

Still, as often happens when one draws upon pop culture to form narratives about a city–a subject The Metropole will explore this month–many things get obscured. For example, with the exception of the more recent “Grey’s Anatomy”, one could be forgiven if he or she envisioned the city as devoid of minorities. The reality of course is much different. Seattle’s black, Asian, and Native American populations have been around for a long time and the (controversial) global economy means its location on the lip of the Pacific Rim ensures it an increasingly important place in national and transnational flows of labor and capital.

In the process of building our biography for June’s Metropolis of the Month, more than one historian acknowledged that Seattle remains understudied. Yet as you can see below, the city’s history proves more fertile, and richer, than one might expect. This history helps place Seattle into proper perspective. For example, its tech-centric 21st century Amazonesque gloss could arguably be traced back to the 1962 World’s Fair, notably its Century 21 Exposition. Eminent historian of the American West and University of Seattle professor John Findlay captured this turn in his Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940.

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Bird’s-eye view of waterfront, Seattle, Washington, 1904, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

To a greater degree than its western counterparts, Seattle “inherited a more intact central core from the nineteenth century and seemed less overrun by growth, although not for lack of trying,” writes Findlay. Its “more constrained” urbanization made it attractive and the Century 21 Exposition promised to bring “metropolitan stature” and “order to a growing city.”[1] Century 21 operated on several levels: a means to push through urban renewal plans for the downtown area, an exemplar of American scientific prowess, and symbolic outreach to the global Cold War community, namely the benefits of working with the United States and its apparent technological sophistication.

Naturally, much like Amazon does today, Boeing played a role. It existed as an entity unto itself even in the confines of the fair. “The Space Needle, the U.S. Science Pavilion, the glimpses of the future, and the numerous rides into outer space all paid homage to the aerospace manufacturer rather than to downtown business or tourism,” notes Findlay.[2] The Space Needle, like Disneyland before it did for Anaheim, came to symbolize the city and served as an organizing principle in resident’s mental maps of the metropolis.

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Skyline, dominated by the Space Needle, which appeared in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, or “Century 21 Exposition.” Seattle, Washington, Carol M. Highsmith, 1980-2006, Carol M. Highsmith Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Like urban planning of the era more generally, but particularly in the West, the fair was aimed at suburbanites thereby delivering “middlebrow culture to middle class fairgoers.”[3] With this in mind, mid-century consumerism also engaged the fair. Shopping centers had exploded in American life and planners drew upon this new development promoted by designers like Victor Gruen: “shopping malls provided not just retail outlets but also entertainment , culture and services in a novel form of space.” Organizers added a retail mall to the fair, which simultaneously promoted commerce and brought the suburbs to the city.[4]   “Perhaps, however, no society had ever come close to approximating the ideal of a middle class, consumer oriented culture than the United States in 1962,” writes Findlay. To that end the Seattle World’s Fair “captured much of the outlook of postwar America” from the vantage point both of consumerism and dominance of science over nature.[5]

Seattle Music Project by architect Frank O. Gehry
Seattle Music Project by architect Frank O. Gehry, Seattle, Washington, Carol M. Highsmith, Prints and Photographs Division

This brings us back to the Seattle of the present, fifty-five years later. In many ways, the Experience Music Project Museum, Amazon, Microsoft, and even the persistence of Boeing (it’s headquarters moved to Chicago years ago but it still maintains a presence in the area) embody a certain consistency in Seattle history: the intersection of commerce, science, and technology as a symbol of the city and economic engine of its urban economy. Shopping malls no longer dominate commerce. Instead, the disembodied internet, which also facilitates the Pacific Rim investment and trade that Seattle lauds, drives the national economy. Paired with this ultra modern economic base, Seattle planning has embraced the new environmental ethos; in 2016 it was named the most sustainable city in the U.S., though as some have pointed out this sustainability and environmentalism is not shared equally across the city’s population. Which in turn draws attention to the fact that it may be a city full of environmentally conscious liberals, but its racial history, like many other metropolitan regions, remains problematic. The bibliography strives to amplify historical studies on these issues. We hope it helps to flesh out this complex history from the economics that have shaped the city to the fissures that have sometimes emerged due to the effect of race and class on Seattle residents. It is never a simple story, but it is always an interesting one.

Thanks to Quintard Taylor, Margaret O’Mara, Maki Smith, and Megan Asaka for their help with the bibliography.

 

 

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Second Ave. and Marion St., Seattle, Wash., July 1889, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Digital Collections

Blackpast.org: Martin Luther King County, Washington (Seattle is the county seat) history. In addition, a simple search from the homepage using “Seattle” as a search term produces 3,400 articles on specific topics related to the city’s African American history, many with their own bibliographies.

Densho Project – Over 1,000 “free and accessible entries” documenting the Japanese American experience during WWII internment policy including oral histories, lesson plans, and more.

Historylink.org: This encyclopedia of Washington State history can also be mined for Seattle history. Searching the site with the term “Seattle” produces nearly 1,300 links.

The People of the Central Area – a really valuable digital social history of the Central District achieved through interviews by blogger Madeline Crowley with the people who have made it so.

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (University of Washington) – multi-format collection of oral histories, videos, research articles, and more on civil rights and labor history in the city.

Vanishing Seattle – Facebook page highlighting news and articles on the city’s history and advocating for the preservation and conservation of Seattle’s past.

 

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Birds’ eye view of Seattle and environs, King County Wash., 1891, eighteen months after the great fire, Augustus Koch artist, Hughes Litho Co., Graphics Arts Collection, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress

19th and 20th Century History

Gary L. Atkins, Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging, (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2003).

Susan Armitage, Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest, (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2015).

Eds. Michael P. Brown and Richard Morrill, Seattle Geographies, (Seattle: University of Washington, 2011) – Seattle Times write up not a review

Frederick Brown, The City is More than Human: An Animal History of Seattle, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016) – crosscut.com Article/Review

Paul De Barros, Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle, (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1993) – Very brief Entertainment Weekly review (yes, EW; their book reviews are often excellent!)

Christopher T. Bayley, Seattle Justice: The Rise and Fall of the Police Payoff System in Seattle, (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2015) – Seattle Times review

Bruce Brown, Mountain in the Clouds: A Search for the Wild Salmon, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995) – Short LAT review

Elizabeth Brown, “Race, Urban Governance, and Crime Control: Creating Model Cities,” Law and Society Review 44, no. 3/4 (2010).

Michael Brown and Larry Knopp, “Between Anatamo- and Bio-Politics: Geographies of Sexual Health in Wartime Seattle,” Political Geography 29 (2010).

Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart: A Personal History, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014) – Race, Class and Ethnicity in American History blog review. (Note: book was originally published in 1946)

Kornel Chang, Pacific Connections: The Making of the US-Canadian Borderlands, (Berkeley: University of California, 2012) – AHR review

Andrew Childs, “Hyper or Hypo-Masculine?: Re-conceptualizing ‘Hyper-Masculinity’ Through Seattle’s Gay, Leather Community,” Gender, Place & Culture 23/9 (2016).

Aaron Dixon, My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain, (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015) – Very short Publishers Weekly review and longer review at International Socialist Review

Gale Dubrow and Donna Graves, Sento at Sixth and Main: Preserving Landmarks of Japanese American Heritage, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002) – H-Net review

David D. Alt and Donald W. Hyndman, Roadside Geologies of Washington, (Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing, 1984).

Timothy Egan, The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest, (New York: Vintage, 1991).

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Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle, Seattle, Washington, Detroit Photographic Co., 1902, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

John M. Findlay, Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940, (University of California Press, 1992) – (notably the book’s chapter on Seattle) Videri review

Louis Fisset, Camp Harmony: Seattle’s Japanese Americans and the Puyallup Assembly Center, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009) – Journal of Asian Studies review (via project muse)

Dana Frank, Purchasing Power: Consumer Organizing, Gender, and the Seattle Labor Movement, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) – H-Net review

Chris Friday, Organizing Asian American Labor: The Pacific Coast Canned-Salmon Industry, 1870-1942, (1994).

Dorothy Fujita-Rony, American Workers, Colonial Power: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003) – History: Review of New Books review

Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman’s Life on Oyster Bay, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013) – Pacific Historical Review and Aspen Times review

Timothy Gibson, Securing the Spectacular City: The Politics of Revitalization and Homelessness in Downtown Seattle, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2004) – H-Net review

Shelley Lee, Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America, (Philadelphia: University of Temple Press, 2011) – Journal of American History review

Ester Mumford Hall, Calabash: A Guide to the History, Culture, and Art of African Americans in Seattle and King County, (Seattle: Anase Press, 1993).

Matthew Klingle, Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007) – H.net review

James Lyon, Selling Seattle: Representing Contemporary Urban America, (London: Wallflower Press, 2004) – NYT very short review of book, last on the list.

Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry and Made Himself the Richest Man in the World, (New York: Touchstone, 1994).

Murray Morgan, Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982).

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Second Av. & Yesler Way, Seattle, 1904, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

 

Polly Myers, Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016) – AHR review

Doris Hinson Pieroth, Seattle’s Women Teachers of the Interwar Years: Shapers of a Livable City, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004) – Pacific Historical Review

Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) – PopMatters review and Handsycomprehensiveexam.com blog review

Roger Sale, Seattle: Past to Present, (Seattle: University of Seattle Press, 1976).

Jeffrey Sanders, Seattle and the Roots of Urban Sustainability: Inventing Ecotopia, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh University Press, 2010) – Environmental History review (via Jstor)

T.M. Sell, Wings of Power: Boeing and the Politics of Growth in the Northwest, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001).

Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1953) – Very short Kirkus review

Brad Stone, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, (New York: Little, Brown, & Company, 2014) – Seattle Times review

Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: A History of Seattle’s Central District, 1870 through the Civil Rights Era, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994) – Oregon Historical Society review

Quintard Taylor, “Blacks and Asians in a White City: Japanese Americans and African Americans in Seattle, 1890-1940,” Western Historical Quarterly 22:4 (November 1991).

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A ship, Monongahela, passing under Aurora Bridge, Seattle, Washington. Center truss of bridge has not yet been installed, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Sallie Tisdale, Stepping Westward: The Long Search for Home in the Pacific Northwest, (New York: Henry Holt & Co, 1991) – Short Kirkus review

Nayan Shah, Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and the Law in the North American West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) – H-Net review; longer historiographical review at Tropics of Meta

Joan Singler, Seattle in Black and White: The Congress for Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011) – H-Net review

Coll Thrush, Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing Over Place, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007) – H-Net review

Thaisa Way, The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015).

Richard White, The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River, (New York: Hill & Wang, 1996) – BC Studies review essay including The Organic Machine

David Williams, Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015) – Seattle Times review

Lesley J. Wood, Direct Action, Deliberation, and Diffusion: Collective Action After the WTO Protests in Seattle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) – Mobilizingideas blog review

 Special mention:

Margaret O’Mara (University of Washington Historian and author of Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley; not necessarily directly Seattle related but a review via Tropics of Meta) provides commentary of late aught Seattle via Crosscut.com: “We are Not the ‘Next Silicon Valley’” (18 February 2008); “Seattle’s Transportation Malaise is Nothing Special” (3 January 2008); “Amazon Joins the Parade of Tech to the Urban Core” (20 December 2008).

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Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza Epidemic would not permit anyone to ride on the street cars without wearing a mask. 260,000 of these were made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross which consisted of 120 workers, in three days, American National Red Cross photograph collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Novels

Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer, (New York: Grove Press, 1996) – NYT review

Peter Bacho, Dark Blue Suit and Other Stories (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997) – NYT review

Charles Burns, Black Hole, (New York: Pantheon Books, 2015) – Guardian and PopMatters review

Annie Dillard, The Living, (New York: Harper Collins, 1992) NYT and LAT review

Jim Lynch, Truth Like the Sun, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2012) – NYT review

John Okada, No No Boy, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014) – the book was originally published in 1956 – Genji Press blog and TheUltimateBookGeek blog review

Marie Semple, Where’d You Go Bernadette, (New York: Little, Brown, & Company, 2012) – NYT review

Sunil Yapa – Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, (New York: Lee Boudreaux Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2016) – NYT and NPR review

[1] John Findlay, Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), 215.

[2] Findlay, Magic Lands, 228.

[3] Findlay, Magic Lands, 239.

[4] Findlay, Magic Lands, 244.

[5] Findlay, Magic Lands, 249.

All Roads Lead to the DF: A Modest Bibliography of Mexico City

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[Map of Mexico City Region], G.T. Beauregard, 1847, Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress
“The city has become a monster, an urban disaster, a planner’s nightmare,” wrote Ruben Gallo.[1] “Glorious Mexico City, once known as the city of palaces, is now gasping for breath in a sea of people, poverty, and pollution,” Diane Davis bemoaned in the opening to her deeply influential history of the city, Urban Leviathan: Mexico City in the Twentieth Century.[2] Indeed, over the course of the twentieth century, countless scholars offered similar assessments of the Mexican capital; Octavio Paz assailed Mexico’s leaders for their technocratic modernizing efforts which failed to solve the overcrowding and rampant expansion that had “converted Mexico City into a monstrous inflated head, crushing the frail body that holds it up.”

For some, even revisiting the city’s establishment and place at the center of the Aztec empire provoked deep ambivalence. Jorge Ibargüengoitia characterized the city’s founding as a mistake, only “one of the most belligerent tribes in history” would think to build a city “in the middle of the lake,” he opined. Once the lake “dried up” and the surrounding tribes and Aztecs came into close proximity, local hostilities abated. “What remained was mud, unstable ground, and dust clouds. So our first conclusion can be that the city is here because it was put here, although there’s no good reason for its continued presence on this spot.”[3]

“And yet not everything in Mexico City is all that bad,” Gallo later admitted. The city’s history as the magnet of MesoAmerican Empire in the pre-Columbian period, a colonial metropole, and later a capital of Latin America—culturally, economically, and politically—undoubtedly bestows upon Distrito Federal no small measure of gravitas. The DF can claim “influential publishing houses”, “a booming film industry, a lively music scene”, “spectacular museums … And above all it is one of the most vibrant urban spaces in the world.” Gallo paraphrases Juan Villoro, “we have fallen in love with the bearded lady.”[4] It might be a mess, but no other city matches its chaotic charm.

Consider its centuries of importance; an echo over the North American landscape that shaped not only policy in Latin America and Mexico, but brought dollars, culture, and politics to the Yankees up North. The city witnessed Aztec conquest, the unimaginable wealth and exploitation of Colonial Spain, the dizzying liberation of independence, the struggle of revolution, and the burgeoning modernism of the 20th century. Trotsky, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo called it home for periods; the Menshevik communist famously died at the hand of Stalinist assassin in the DF.

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[Communist youth, Mexico City 1929], Tina Modotti, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Anyone who has ever visited the city marvels at the architecture, a compelling mash up of colonial, modernist, and post-modernist styles. Its people hail from across the Americas, Europe, and even on occasion Asia; indigenous faces and culture are sewn into is fabric. Like many cities, the DF struggles with inequality, poverty, and corruption, but to focus only on its problems misses the point.

As with every Metropolis of the Month, The Metropole has compiled a bibliography for anyone interested in reading more about the history of Mexico City. Our list leans heavily toward the modern and the English language, a weakness that can undoubtedly be ascribed to our own specialization in the twentieth century history and our sadly inadequate language skills. As always, we hope readers can improve upon our start here by providing further suggestions in the comments.

Over the course of May, several scholars will publish posts with The Metropole on various aspects of the city’s history. First up will be Columbia University’s Pablo Piccato, who provides some perspective on crime and justice in the DF while also giving readers a taste of his new work, A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico. Several other posts will follow including travelogues by non-specialists such as Georgia State Professor and Tropics of Meta Senior Editor, Alex Sayf Cummings on his 2016 visit to the city.

Thanks to Matthew Vitz, Michael Lettieri, Jorge Nicolás Leal, Megan C. Strom, James Shrader, Sharon Glasco, and Toni Loftin Salazar for their help with the bibliography.

 

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[Cargo of Vegetables, Viga Canal, City of Mexico], Keystone Viewing Company, circa 1900, Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress
General

John Kandell, LA Capital: The Biography of Mexico City, (New York: Random House, 1988) – L.A. Times review

Eds. Linda A. Newson and John King, Mexico City Through History and Culture, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) – H-Net review

Travelogue

 David Lida, First Stop in the New World: Mexico City and the Capital of the 21st Century, (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008) – NYT review

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[The Aztec Calendar Stone, located at the base of the bell tower of the Cathedral, Mexico City, Mexico], William Henry Jackson, before 1885, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Pre-Columbian Era

Edward E. Calnek, “Patterns of Empire Formation in the Valley of Mexico, Late Post Classical Period 1200-1521”, in Inca and Aztec States, 1400-1800: Anthropology and History, Eds. George A. Collier, Renato I. Rosaldo, John D. Wirth, (New York: Academic Press, 1982), 43-62.

Christopher P. Garraty, “Aztec TeotihuacaÌn: Political Processes at a Postclassic and Early Colonial City-State in the Basin of Mexico,” Latin America Antiquity 17.4 (December 2006): 363-387.

Inga Clendinnen, Aztecs: An Interpretation, (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Barbara E. Mundy, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015) – CAA review

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[Tomb of President Benito Juarez, Mexico City – covered with wreathes from the Mexican states], Underwood and Underwood, circa 1901, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Eighteenth – Nineteenth Century

Anna Rose Alexander, City on Fire: Technology, Social Change and the Hazards of Progress in Mexico City, 1860 – 1910, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016)

Claudia Agostoni, Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910, (Mexico City: UNAM, 2003) – Bulletin of the History of Modern Medicine review (via project muse)

Linda Arnold, Bureaucracy and Bureaucrats in Mexico City, 1742-1835, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988)

Silvia Maria Arrom, Containing the Poor: The Mexico City Poor House, 1774 – 1871, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000) – Social History review (via Jstor)

Jurgen Buchenau, Tools of Progress: A German Merchant Family in Mexico City, 1865 – Present, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004) – EH.net review

Vera S. Candiani, Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City, (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2014) – H-Net review

Donald B. Cooper, Epidemic Disease in Colonial Mexico City, 1761-1813: An Administrative, Social, and Medical Study, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014)

R. Douglas Cope, The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660-1720, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994) – Scholar Commons University of South Carolina review

Linda A. Curcio, The Great Festivals of Colonial Mexico City: Performing Power and Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004) – Journal of Social History review

M.E. Francois, A Culture of Everyday Credit: Housekeeping, Pawnbroking, and Governance in Mexico City, 1750 – 1920, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007) – AHR review

Sharon Glasco, Constructing Mexico City: Colonial Conflicts Over Culture, Space, and Authority, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) – H-Net review

Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Crime and Punishment in Late Colonial Mexico City, 1692-1810, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999) – The Americas review (via project muse)

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[Seller of Water Bottles, Mexico City, Mexico], circa 1910-1915, George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress
Twentieth Century

Katherine Elaine Bliss, Compromised Positions: Prostitution, Public Health, and Gender Politics in Revolutionary Mexico City, (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001) – Hispanic American Historical Review (via project muse)

Ann Shelby Blum, Domestic Economies: Family, Work, and Welfare in Mexico City, 1884-1943, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009) – H-Net review

Luis Castañeda, Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, and the 1968 Olympics, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014) – H-War review

Felipe Correa and Carlos Garciavelez, Mexico City between Geometry and Geography, (Brooklyn: Applied Research and Design Publishing, 2015) – Archdaily review

John C. Cross, Informal Politics: Street Vendors and the State in Mexico City, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998) – H-Urban review

Diane E. Davis, Urban Leviathan: Mexico City in the Twentieth Century, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994) – Review by SDSU’s Lawrence Herzog (though the review is incorrectly linked on his page)

George F. Flaherty, Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the ‘68 Movement, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2016)

David William Foster, Mexico City in Contemporary Mexican Cinema, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002) – Review Arizona Journal of Hispanic Studies via project Muse

Ed. Ruben Gallo The Mexico City Reader, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004)

Mathew C. Guttman, The Romance of Democracy: Compliance and Defiance in Contemporary Mexico, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) –

San Diego History Center review

Matthew C. Gutmann, The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City, (University of California Press, 1996, 2006) – H-Net review

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[Mexico City, Mexico – National Palace], circa 1910-1915, George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Daniel Hernandez, Down and Delirious in Mexico City: The Aztec Metropolis in the Twenty First Century, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011) – Kirkus review

Michael Johns, The City of Mexico in the Age of Díaz(Austin: University of Texas, 1997) – H-Net review

John Lear, Workers, Neighbors, and Citizens: The Revolution in Mexico City, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001) – Hispanic American Historical Review (project muse)

Larissa Lomnitz, Networks and Marginality: Life in a Mexican Shantytown, (New York: Academic Press, 1977)

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[Mexico City, Mexico – Soldier Guarding Palace], February 10, 1913, George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Carol McMichael Reese, “The Urban Development of Mexico City” in Planning Latin American Capital Cities, 1850-1950, edited by Arturo Almondoz Marte, 139-169. London: Routledge, 2002.

Julio Moreno, Yankee Don’t Go Home! Mexican Nationalism, American Business Culture and the Shaping of Modern Mexico, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003) – EH.net and H-LatAm review

Patrice Olsen, Artifacts of Revolution: Architecture, Society and Politics in Mexico City, 1920-1940, (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008) – Review by University of Tulsa’s Andrew Grant Wood

Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings, (Mexico City: Grove Press, 1950)

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[Teatro National under construction], circa 1920, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Kathryn E. O’Rourke, Modern Architecture in Mexico City: History, Representation and the Shaping of the Capital, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017)

Jaime M. Pensado, Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Political Culture During the Long Sixties, (Stanford: Stanford University, 2014) – Journal of Latin American Studies review

Keith Pezzoli, Human Settlements and Planning for Ecological Sustainability: The Case of Mexico City, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998) – Review by UCSD’s Mark Spalding

Pablo Piccato, A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2017)

Pablo Piccato, City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001) – Review by Professor Carlos Aguirre (University of Oregon)

Jeffery Pilcher, The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City, 1890-1917, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico press, 2006) – Latino America blog and AHR review

Elena Poniatowska, Massacre in Mexico, (Missoula: University of Missouri Press, 1975). – short review at blogcritics.org

Ageeth Sluis, Deco Body, Deco City: Female Spectacle and Modernity in Mexico City, 1900-1930, (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2016)

Tovar de Teresa, The City of Palaces: Chronicles of a Lost Heritage, (Mexico: Vuelta, 1990)

Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Century, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) – AHR review

Germán Vergara, 2015,“Fueling Change: The Valley of Mexico and the Quest for Energy,” 1850-1930.” Ph.D. diss., UC-Berkeley.

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[Making cigarettes in the great factory, “El Buen Tono”, Mexico city Mexico], Underwood and Underwood, circa 1903, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Matthew Vitz, ““To Save the Forests”: Power, Narrative, and Environment in Mexico City’s Cooking Fuel Transition,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos. Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter 2015): 125-155.

Matthew Vitz, “’The Lands with Which We Shall Struggle’: Land Reclamation, Revolution, and Redevelopment in Mexico’s Lake Texcoco, 1910-1950,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 97.1 (February 2017).

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[Visiting Soviet delegation with international communists, Mexico City, Mexico], Toni Modetti, circa 1927, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Notable works of fiction on Mexico City

Jessica Abel, La Perdida, (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006) – Kirkus review.

Robert Bolano, The Savage Detectives, (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007) – Slate and NYT review (note the book was originally published in Spanish in 1998 but not in English until 2007)

Carlos Fuentes, Where the Air is Clear, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1958).

Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, The Uncomfortable Dead, (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2006) – Guardian and NYT review (hint one liked it much more than the other)

Michael Nava, The City of Palaces: A Novel, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014) – LaBloga review

Juan Pablo Villalobos, I’ll Sell You a Dog, (High Wycombe, England: And Other Stories Publishing, 2016) – NPR review

[1] Ruben Gallo, “Introduction”, The Mexico City Reader, Ed. Ruben Gallo, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), 5.

[2] Diane Davis, Urban Leviathan: Mexico City in the Twentieth Century, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994), 1.

[3] Jorge Ibarguengoitia, “Call the Doctor” in The Mexico City Reader, Ed. Ruben Gallo, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), 196.

[4] Gallo, The Mexico City Reader, 5-6.

A Big Easy Bibliography

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New Orleans, Louisiana“, Henry Lewis, 1857, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

“It has been said that, in any New Orleans bar, the three subjects most likely to be discussed are the status of the seafood in season at the time, politics and sports – all with equal fervor,” notes the introduction to the 1983 reissue of The W.P.A. Guide to New Orleans. In the original guide, Harry L. Hopkins, the head administrator of the W.P.A. noted that the challenges of using and controlling the Mississippi River had “resulted in brilliant feats of commerce, engineering, sanitation and medical research.” Rost. S. Maestri, the Mayor of New Orleans, called the guide “the first major accomplishment of the Federal Writers’ Project of Louisiana” and described it as “more than a conventional guidebook” but rather an attempt to capture the “the history and heritage” of the city. The three perspectives underscore the intersection of environment, culture, and history that have made New Orleans a transnational American treasure.

Here at The Metropole, we harbor no grand ambition to reshape your understanding of the city, but as part of our monthly series have chosen arguably the nation’s most unique urban metropolis as our first focus. Admittedly, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) conference might have drawn our attention to “the Big Easy.” With that in mind, I’ll make a soft plug here for Craig Colten’s piece that The Metropole will publish tomorrow. Colten, the author of several works including Unnatural Metropolis: Wresting New Orleans from Nature (listed below) will be speaking at the UHA’s OAH luncheon on Saturday, April 8. The subject of Colten’s talk is one he’s explored widely in books like Unnatural Metropolis: Exporting Risk: New Orleans, Commerce, and Flood Water Diversion.

To the chagrin of the aforementioned denizens of New Orleans drinking establishments, we’ve not covered sports or culinary history, but have included plenty of politics (minus the Kingfish Huey Long), culture, geography, and of course, sex.

Regarding matters of the flesh for which the city has drawn equal parts renown, condemnation, and approbation, it would seem that from its birth writers depicted New Orleans “as a dark, primitive, an abandoned place, governed by immoral pleasures than by rationality or law,” as Shannon Dawdy noted in her 2008 work, Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans. Then again, according to Herbert Asbury Americans brought the city’s famed licentiousness to its peak: “it was under the rule of the United States that New Orleans embarked upon its golden age of glamour and spectacular wickedness.” As Dawdy, Jennifer Spear, Emily Epstein Landau and others have demonstrated, sex in New Orleans meant more than sinful pleasure; rather it was intertwined in politics, economics, and culture. Such examples tells us that complexity beats at the heart of the Big Easy.

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Arcade of Crescent and Tulane Theaters, New Orleans, Louisiana“, 1906, Prints and Photographs Division, Manuscript Division

Every month, we will bring you a curated bibliography or historiography in the hopes of piquing further exploration into the world’s cities and helping those who might be embarking on research in the area a means to get their proverbial feet wet. With that in mind, a very good starting point is the Journal of American History’s December 2007 special issue, “Through the Eyes of Katrina”. The issue features over 20 essays by prominent scholars in the field, many of which appear in the bibliography below.

Our list is by no means comprehensive and undoubtedly we’ve probably missed more than a few landmark works. Later this month we will post a roundup of New Orleans-related articles from the Journal of Urban History. We hope that readers will add those books and articles that have eluded us in the comments and/or on twitter (@UrbanHistoryA). Also, we’ll be putting out calls for future bibliography lists on social media and welcome your suggestions. For example, Mexico City is the Metropolis of the Month for May, Seattle for June, and Honolulu for July, so please do forward us book/article recommendations at our twitter account or via email at uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com.

Special thanks to Brenda Santos, Steve Peraza, Stephen K. Prince, Emily Epstein Landau, and Andy Horowitz for their invaluable help with compiling the list. In addition, the New Orleans Research Collaborative has some outstanding bibliographies (circa 2012) as well. Finally, the Historic New Orleans Collection has several digitized collections available to researchers online.

New Orleans Bibliography

 

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Group of workers in Lane Cotton Mill, New Orleans, showing the youngest workers and typical of conditions in New Orleans“, Lewis Hines photographer, November 1913, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Labor History

Eric Arnesen, Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics, 1863 – 1923, (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994) – Louisiana History review (via jstor)

Thomas Adams and Steve Striffler, ed. Working in the Big Easy: The History and Politics of Labor in New Orleans, (Lafayette, LA: University of Louisiana Press, 2014)

Travel

Federal Writers Project, The W.P.A. Guide to New Orleans, (New York: Pantheon, 1983) (Originally published in 1938)

Cultural History

Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance, (NY: Columbia University Press, 1996) – Theatre Journal review (via project muse)

Ned Sublette, The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2008) – NYT review

 

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Architect’s Drawing, New Orleans Custom House, 1857, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Caryn C. Bell, Revolutions, Romanticism, and the Afro-Creole Protest Tradition in Louisiana, 1718-1800, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997) – The Journal of Interdisciplinary History review (via Jstor)

James B. Bennett, Religion and the Rise of Jim Crow in New Orleans, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton, 2005) – Journal of American History review

John W. Blassingame, Black New Orleans, 1860-1880, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973) – Journal of Negro History review (via Jstor)

Richard Campanella, Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans, (Lafayette, LA: University of Louisiana Press, 2008) – Places Journal review

Emily Clark, The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World, (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2013) – H-Net review

Gilbert C. Din and John E. Harkins, The New Orleans Cabildo: Colonial Louisiana’s First City Government, 1769-1803, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996) – H-Urban review and H-LatAm review

Shannon Lee Dawdy, Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).– Journal of Interdisciplinary History review (via project muse)

James Gill, Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans, (Oxford, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 1997) – H-Pol review

Virginia Meacham Gould, “A Chaos of Iniquity and Discord”: Slave and Free Women of Color in the Spanish Ports of New Orleans, Mobile, and Pensacola,” in Catherine Clinton and Michelle Gillespie, eds., The Devil’s Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997): 232-246

Kimberly S. Hanger, Bounded Lives, Bounded Places: Free Black Society in Colonial New Orleans, 1769-1803, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997) – H-Net review

Chester G. Hearn, When the Devil Went Down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2000)

James G. Hollandsworth, An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2001) – H-South review

James K. Hogue, Uncivil War: Five New Orleans Street Battles and the Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana Street University, 2011) – H-Net review

Thomas N. Ingersoll, “Slave Codes and Judicial Practice in New Orleans, 1718-1807”, Law and History Review 13, no. 1 (1995): 23-62.

Thomas N. Ingersoll, “Free Blacks in a Slave Society: New Orleans, 1718-1812”, William and Mary Quarterly, 48, 2 (1991): 173-200.

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The plantation police or home-guard examining Negro passes on the levee road below New Orleans“, Frederic B. Shell artist, 1863, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Thomas N. Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans: The First Slave Society in the Deep South, 1718-1819, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1999) – H-Net review

Rashauna Johnson, Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans During the Age of Revolutions, (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2016) – Johnson on Slavery’s Metropolis and the Blues at AAIHS

Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001) – H-Net review

Grace King, Creole Families of New Orleans, Baton Rouge: Claitor’s Publishing, 1971.

Justin A. Nystrom, New Orleans After the Civil War: Race, Politics, and the New Birth of Freedom, (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 2010) – H-Net review

Lawrence Powell, The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012) – Southern Spaces review

Vernon Palmer, “The Origins and Authors of the Code Noir,” Louisiana Law Review 56 (1995): 363-407.

Daniel Rasmussen, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt, (New York: HarperCollins, 2011) – NYT review and WAPO review

Mike Ross, “Justice Miller’s Civil War: The Slaughter-House Cases, Health Codes, and Civil Rights in New Orleans, 1863-1873”, Journal of Southern History, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Nov., 1998): 649-676

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Wilson, Charley, Rebecca & Rosa, slaves from New Orleans“,  Chas Paxon photographer, circa 1864, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Wilson, Charley, Rebecca & Rosa, slaves from New Orleans / Chas. Paxson, photographer, New York

Michael Ross, The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) – NYT review

Judith K.Schafer, Becoming Free, Remaining Free: Manumission and Enslavement in New Orleans, 1846-1862, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003) – H-Law review

Judith K. Schafer, Slavery, Civil Law, and the Supreme Court of Louisiana, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1997) – Journal of Louisiana History review (via Jstor)

Jennifer Spear, “They Need Wives”: Metissage and the Regulation of Sexuality in French Louisiana, 1699-1730, in Martha Hodes, ed., Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History, (New York: New York University Press, 1999): 35-59

Jennifer Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans, (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 2009) – Journal of American History review

Shirley Elizabeth Thompson, Exiles at Home: The Struggle to become American in Creole New Orleans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009) – AHR review

Christina Vella, Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1997) – NYT review

Cecile Vidal, ed., Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) – Southern Spaces review

Minter Wood, “Life in New Orleans in the Spanish Period.” Louisiana Historical Quarterly XXII (1939): 642-709.

Environmental History

Craig E. Colten, Unnatural Metropolis: Wresting New Orleans from Nature, (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2005) – Journal of Social History review

Ari Kelman, A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) – AHR review

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Night Scene showing hotel lit up for Mardi Gras, with seats on platform in front, New Orleans, Louisiana“, circa 1903, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Twentieth Century

Herbert Asbury, The French Quarter: An Informal History of New Orleans Underworld, (New York: Basic Books, 2003) – originally published in 1936

Bruce Baker and Barbara Hahn, The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn of the Century New Orleans, (NY: Oxford University Press, 2015) – AHR review

John Barry, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997) – NYT review

 

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Scene in New Orleans, Louisiana. Street Tailor“, Ben Shan photographer, October 1935, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Emily Epstein Landau, Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2013) – AHR Review

Kent Germany, New Orleans After the Promises: Poverty, Citizenship and the Great Society, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2007) – AHR review

Kevin Fox Gotham, Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture, and Race in the Big Easy, (NY: New York University Press, 2007) – ResearchGate review

William Ivy Hair, Carnival of Fury: Robert Charles and the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976) –Videri review

Gary Krist, Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz and Modern and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, (New York: Broadway Books, 2014) – NYT and WAPO review

Alecia P. Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Race, Sex and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865 – 1920, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2005) – H-Net review

Peirce F. Lewis, New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape, (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1976) – University of Chicago Press Journals review

Keith Medley, We as Freemen: Plessy v. Ferguson, The Fight Against Legal Segregation, (Gretna, LA: Publican Publishing, 2012)

Reid Mitchell, All on a Mardi Gras Day: Episodes in the History of the New Orleans Carnival, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999)

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Street Scene, New Orleans, Louisiana“, Ben Shan photographer, October 1935, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance, (NY: Columbia University Press, 1996) – Theatre Journal review (via project muse)

Kim Lacy Rogers. Righteous Lives: Narratives of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement, (New York: New York University Press, 1994) – Oral History Review review

Anthony Stanonis, Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918 – 1945, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2011) – H-net Travel review

J. Mark Souther, New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City,(Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2006) – AHR review

Lynne L. Thomas, Disaster and Desire in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014) – BAAS review

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In the Midst of Levee, Life, and Cotton Traffic, New Orleans, LA“, Standard Scenic Company, 1907, Prints and Photographs Division

Geography/Cartography

Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedecker, Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013) – Chicago Tribune review / New Orleans Review

Richard Campanella, Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm, (Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, 2006)

Edited Volume – General

Arnold R. Hirsch, ed., Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992) – JAH review

Popular Culture (a very limited list)

“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951)

“The Big Easy” (1987)

“When the Levees Broke” – Spike Lee documentary (2006)

“Trouble the Water” – documentary (2008)

“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (2009)

Treme – HBO series (four seasons; 2010-2013)