Saturday, April 5, 2008, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Themes in American Rural Culture in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Forged in Conflict: Abolitionists and Old Northwest Hospitality, 1830–1861
Dana Weiner, University of Arizona at Tucson
From the mid-1830s through the Civil War, local people’s hospitality enabled antislavery activism across the crucial battleground of the Old Northwest. I argue that in the volatile states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio, reformers faced violent conflicts over race relations, slavery, and social control. There, itinerant organizers relied on locals’ willingness to feed and shelter travelers to facilitate their speaking tours. Old Northwestern hosts placed the private spaces of their houses in the service of the larger antislavery cause, and their often-invisible direct aid to traveling activists permitted them to work in this contentious region with few hospitality options.
Tidbits from Here and There in De Volksvriend: Social News and Ethnic Identity Among Dutch Americans in the Midwest (1874–1951)
Robert Schoone-Jongen, Calvin College
Immigrant communities, defined by language, religious faith, and lingering national or regional identities often used newspapers to linked scattered colonies into “imagined communities.” De Volksvriend, a Dutch language newspaper published in northwest Iowa, served a network of Dutch Calvinist communities for over seventy-five years. Each week local correspondents submitted news about churches, weddings, crop yields, family gatherings, and local politics; columns written in the belief that each enclave of Dutch immigrants included people longing to hear the latest information another Dutchman’s American home. Their submissions highlight the development of overlapping identities anchored to the belief that America needed their communities’ unique contributions to truly thrive as a nation.
Singing with the Schoolmarm: Music in the One-Room Schools
Pamela Stover, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
This paper addresses the musical equipment, teaching methods and materials, musical activities and programs, and the scheduling of music at Midwestern one-room schools, 1890-1950. Typically, patriotic songs were sung during opening exercises, and many school programs included music. The Iowa Choir plan and Journeys in MusicLand were two specific music systems developed for rural schools. Singing and play-party games were done on the playground, in music instruction, or during community socials. Music was an important part of many rural communities, and the student’s musical experiences in school and through the church, laid this foundation.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Jenny Butler at email@example.com, or call 312-255-3524.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Rural History is co-sponsored by the University of Chicago and Trinity Christian College
The Newberry Library
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for
Family and Community History
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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