WHEN I STARTED as a graduate student, I would read the acknowledgments in all my course books and wonder why it took people a decade to finish a single book. One husband, one dog, two kids, seven moves, two jobs, and very nearly ten years later, I finally get it. This book began as my dissertation and has traveled significant personal and professional ground with me since then—and I think it is much better for it. I will forever feel a special affinity for and interest in Atlanta because of this long association. Over the course of researching and writing this book, my work has been nurtured by many different communities—Ann Arborites; ballet dancers on the big island of Hawaii; musicians, artists, and old friends in Atlanta; colleagues in Statesboro; and family and friends across the country—and I thank them all for the sorts of contributions that do not wind up in footnotes.
On the professional side, I owe many debts as well. I had the good fortune to be a graduate student at the University of Michigan during the early 1990s, when the place was teeming with scholars who shared and nurtured my particular historical interests. In addition to David Scobey, Earl Lewis, and Carol Karlsen, who served as my dissertation committee, I thank Elsa Barkley Brown, Alice Echols, Susan Johnson, and Robin Kelley for their interest and encouragement. My graduate student cohort was also top-notch, and Robin Bachin, Erik Seeman, and Victoria Wolcott remain generous colleagues and good friends. My colleagues at Georgia Southern University, especially Jonathan Bryant, Peggy Hargis, Annette Laing, and the members of the Social Science Research Network, provided crucial intellectual and moral support during my five years in Statesboro. Returning to the North to take up a position at the University of Michigan—Dearborn during the final stages of revising has provided me with yet another group of incredibly supportive colleagues. Outside of my home institutions, Nan Enstad, Glenda Gilmore, Elna Green, Nancy Hewitt, Sarah Judson, Cliff Kuhn, and Gretchen Maclachan, Clay McShane, Mary Odem, Peggy Pascoe, and especially Susan Cahn offered enormously helpful feedback and support at crucial stages of the revision process.
As a dissertation, this project received financial support from the University of Michigan History Department, Rackham Graduate School, the Mellon Founda-