SOURCE: The Nation
Web of Connections: Emma Rothschild's Microhistories of France
by David A. Bell
Historian David Bell reviews an effort to relate three centuries of French history through the lives of the descendants of one undistinguished eighteenth century Frenchwoman.
SOURCE: Lapham's Quarterly
Weary of Work
by Emily K. Abel
Historian Emily Abel's book on fatigue deals in part with how Progressive era reformers approached the problem of the tired industrial worker. Ultimately, they favored solutions that emphasized efficiency and management, undercutting the ability of the labor movement to demand shorter work hours.
How Wood Helped America Become Great – But Mislay its Sense of History
by Roland Ennos
Industrializing America's infrastructure was much more likely than Europe's to be made of wood. This accident of nature and geography helped drive rapid expansion, but today means much of the 19th century built environment of the United States has vanished.
On Labor Day, Think of Bread and Roses
by William Lambers
On Labor Day, remember the demands of striking textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Working people deserve more than bare subsistence; they're entitled to dignity and pleasure too.
SOURCE: Washington Post
CEOs Email You Heartfelt Coronavirus Messages, While Still Prioritizing the Bottom Line
by Andrew Lynn
Over 100 years, a tactic first designed to keep workers happy morphed into a marketing strategy.
10 Ways the Transcontinental Railroad Changed America
Includes comments by James P. Ronda, Henry W. Brands, Beth Lew-Williams, and Richard White.
Fact Check: Steve Bannon’s Bad History
by Douglas A. Irwin
Immigration and rapid industrialization—not tariffs—made the 19th-century economy great.
A historic textile mill begins a new chapter
After a complicated 20-year effort to save a redbrick mill in North Carolina that was once considered the largest in the world for textiles and that played a significant role in the South’s textile history, the plant is finally moving toward a new life as a multiuse complex.The Loray Mill, which for decades produced fabric for car tires, last month began a $40 million conversion project that will create 190 apartments in its six stories, as well as several floors of shops and restaurants. The mill, which was the site of an famous labor strike in the 1920s, is in the city of Gastonia, a former industrial hub outside of Charlotte.To the delight of preservationists, the development team of JBS Ventures, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and Camden Management Partners, of Atlanta, will retain much of the original 600,000-square-feet structure of the complex. This first phase of the redevelopment will reinvent about 450,000 square feet of the mill, including the main section, which dates to 1902....
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed.
Burton Bledstein's robo-skepticism
...If our destiny is to be freed from toil by robot helpers, what are we supposed to do with our days?To begin to tackle that existential question, I decided to invite along a scholar of work to the Automate trade show. And that's how my guest, Burton J. Bledstein, an expert on the history of professionalism and the growth of the modern middle class, got into an argument with the head of a robotics company.It happened at the booth for Adept Technology Inc., which makes a robot designed to roam the halls of hospitals and other facilities making deliveries. The latest model—a foot-tall rolling platform that can be customized for a variety of tasks—wandered around the booth, resembling something out of a Star Wars film except that it occasionally blasted techno music from its speakers. Bledstein was immediately wary of the contraption. The professor, who holds an emeritus position at the University of Illinois at Chicago, explained that he has an artificial hip and didn't want the robot to accidentally knock him down. He needn't have worried, though; the robot is designed to sense nearby objects and keep a safe distance....
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