Massachusetts in the Gilded Age: Selected Essays

Massachusetts in the Gilded Age: Selected Essays

Massachusetts in the Gilded Age: Selected Essays

Massachusetts in the Gilded Age: Selected Essays

Excerpt

In October 1982, and February and March 1983, the Institute for Massachusetts Studies sponsored a series of three symposia on Massachusetts in the Gilded Age, hosted by the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston. In planning and organizing the sessions, the institute's staff recognized that far too little scholarly research has been done on Massachusetts history after the Civil War, and they hoped to encourage research and promote an understanding of what had largely been a hidden phase of Massachusetts history. The programs brought together historians with a diverse range of interests. Some were experts on the period from 1876 to 1900; others specialized in Massachusetts history, or in state and local history; still others were interested in immigration and the development of urbanization. Those who presented formal papers received constructive criticism from such specialists as Stephan Thernstrom in social history, Gerald McFarland in political history, Robert O'Leary in religious history, Bruce Stave, Jack Tager, and Sam Bass Warner in urban history. Some of these historians served in an official capacity at the symposia, as commentators or organizers. Others lectured on their most recent research, and still others attended the sessions and provided insights and ideas by their thoughtful questions.

Out of these scholarly discussions came common agreement that there was a need to correlate the broad generalizations that characterize an historical epoch such as the Gilded Age, with the specific data provided by case study . . .

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