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"A Sweepstakes Attracts Attention": Corporate Executives Defend Sweepstakes Promotions
In the 1960s, lottery-like contests designed to publicize products through sweepstakes competitions spread rapidly. In the 19th century, every state banned lotteries--defined as competitions in which chances to win prizes were sold÷to protect citizens. In 1868, Congress prohibited the distribution of lottery materials through the mail. The mid-20th century sweepstakes, however, did not require contestants to purchase tickets or products to win prizes and were thus considered legal. In 1966, the
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A Show of Support: Farmers Feed Homestead Strikers
In 1892 the possibility of a Labor-Populist alliance circulated. Populist orators like Mary Lease sought to build ties between the Farmer's Alliance and the labor movement by mobilizing farmers to send wheat and corn to striking workers at Carnegie's Homestead steel mill outside Pittsburgh. Despite the support for such an alliance among many in the labor movement, American Federation of Labor leader Samuel Gompers opposed such political action. Gompers insured that the A.F.L maintained, in his w
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A Shoemaker and the Tea Party
George Robert Twelve Hewes, a Boston shoemaker, participated in many of the key events of the Revolutionary crisis. Over half a century later, Hewes described his experiences to James Hawkes. When Parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773, colonists refused to allow cargoes of tea to be unloaded. In the evening of December 16, with Hewes leading one group, the colonists dressed in "the costume of a Indian." They boarded the ships in Boston harbor and dropped the tea overboard. Hewes' account shed li
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"A Shocking Instance of Brutal Employer Aggression": Antiunion Violence in a "Union-Free" Town
In the late 1940s, large labor unions and major corporations worked out an accord that guided labor-management relations for the next quarter century. During this period, unions benefited from high wages and relative stability, while relegating company decision-making to management. Many workers in certain geographic areas and sectors of employment, however, were not affected by the accord. In "union-free" Gainesville, Georgia, union representatives had started to organize a predominately female
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A Quaker Abolitionist Travels Through Maryland and Virginia: The Journal of John Woolman, 1757
In both Britain and the United States, Quakers were among the first to denounce slavery in the 18th century. This was due to the efforts of Quaker abolitionist leaders such as John Woolman. Born in New Jersey in 1720, Woolman was a tailor and shopkeeper. Continual encounters with slavery in his own neighborhood--notably an incident in which his employer asked him to write out a bill of sale for a slave--convinced him that he could not, in good conscience, continue to have anything more to do wit
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"A Religious Flame That Spread All Over Kentucky": Peter Cartwright Brings Evangelical Christianity
In the decades following the Revolution, a vast variety of choices appeared on the American religious landscape as an anti-authoritarian climate encouraged the formation of new democratic religious sects. The Baptists and Methodists were most adept in preaching to the new populist audience during these years of camp meeting revivalism. Peter Cartwright greatly contributed to the Methodists' success at introducing evangelical Protestantism to the new settlements of the West. Born in Virginia in 1
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"A Rale Boost to Lithrachoor": A Humorist Lampoons Libraries
The founders of the great libraries of the 19th century were often ambivalent about whether their goal was to disseminate or conserve knowledge. They were also uncertain about the intended audience. John Cotton Dana of the Newark Public Library was atypical in his populist stance that "it is a proper function of a library to amuse." He argued that a "shallow mind" was better than an "empty one." Other librarians preferred to see themselves as cultivators of public taste and their buildings as up
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"A Nave and Self-Taught Artist": John Frazee Sculpts Daniel Webster, 1833
Many artists working in the decades after the American Revolution came from the ranks of artisans and mechanics. In a republic that dispensed with aristocratic patrons and royal academies, art came to be supported by a middling populace more interested in portraits than grand history painting. Sculpture in marble, time consuming and expensive, was even more remote than paints, and the new nation lacked grand palaces or mansions for display. John Frazee, born in Rahway, New Jersey in 1790, lacked
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"A Mother's Duty to Her Children": No Women with Dependent Children in the Armed Forces Reserves
The issue of protective legislation for women and mothers has divided reformers, labor unionists, legislators, courts, the military, and feminists since the end of the 19th century when a number of states passed statutes to limit women's work hours. At issue--equal treatment versus biological difference. During the Cold War era, this question informed the debate on the role of women in the military. Although the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 established a permanent presence for
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"A Modern School": Abraham Flexner Outlines Progressive Education
In the early 20th century, an impressive array of intellectuals, social critics, and grassroots activists came together to launch a progressive education movement that sought broad-based change in American educational practice. At the heart of the progressive program lay a pedagogy that emphasized flexibility and critical thinking. This was coupled with the belief that schools should establish organic relationships with their communities, that curricula should confront broad social issues, and t
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"A Man's Thanksgiving": A Hymn to the God of Business
President Calvin Coolidge captured the spirit of the 1920s when he announced in a speech before the Society of American Newspaper Editors that "the chief business of the American people is business." Coolidge's aphorism revealed the centrality of commerce to the nation and its culture in the 1920s, even while it concealed some of the wrenching cultural changes required to accommodate a commercial civilization. An even more forceful publicist for the view that business and spirituality were compa
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A Labor Newspaper Derides the Myth of the Self-Made Man
One of the prime frustrations of labor organizers in the late 1800s was the powerful myth that every American could attain untold riches if sufficiently hardworking and ambitious. The faith that some workers had in this mythology of the "self-made man" inhibited unionization and the spread of radical ideology. The anonymous writer of this 1877 editorial in the Labor Standard took aim at the national obsession with making money at any cost.
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Penn. Log Library, Kate Duncan Smith D.A.R. School, Grant, Alabama
This image is a black and white photograph of the Penn. Log Library, Kate Duncan Smith D.A.R. School in Grant, Alabama.
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This image is the property of the Auburn University Libraries and is intended for non-commercial use. Users of the image are asked to acknowledge the Auburn University Libraries. For information about

A Letter Home From Massachusetts Bay in 1631
Over 20,000 migrants from England crossed the Atlantic to the new colony of Massachusetts Bay in the decade of the 1630s. This sudden influx of settlers became known to historians as the "Great Migration." Once in New England, they quickly dispersed to various towns. About forty families followed Sir Richard Saltonstall and the Reverend George Phillips four miles up the Charles River to found the community of Watertown in July 1630. Many had relocated from the East Anglian region of England, whe
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"A Less Reliable Form of Birth Control": Miriam Allen deFord Describes Her Introduction to Contracep
Despite major cultural, legal, and medical impediments the use of birth control, including abortion, by American women was widespread at the turn of the century. In their quest to control unwanted pregnancies, American women could be surprisingly resourceful in the methods they used. In this audio excerpt from a 1974 interview with historian Sherna Gluck, Miriam Allen deFord described methods of birth control in vogue in the 1910s, including spermicides, douches, the Dutch pessary (an early diap
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"A Foreigner in My Own Land": Juan Nepomuceno Seguin Flees Texas, 1842
Few Anglos lived in San Antonio after the Texas Revolution of 1835-36 and Tejanos (Texas-Mexicans) continued their rule. Juan Nepomuceno Seguin was born into a prominent tejano family and had close ties with Stephen Austin, leader of the first American settlers in Texas. He became mayor or alcade at an early age and fought on the Anglo side with the coming of Texas' revolt against Mexico. However, his political situation increasingly became fragile because of the changing balance of power and An
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"A Heritage of Scorn": Harper Urges A Color-Blind Cause
The struggle for woman suffrage lasted almost a century, beginning with the 1848 Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York, and including the 1890 union of two competing suffrage organizations to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA and other organizations campaigned diligently for the vote in a variety of ways, but did not achieve success until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. This prolonged struggle entangl
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A German Radical Emigrates to America in 1885
Labor organizer and newspaper editor Oscar Ameringer the "Mark Twain of American Socialism," as he was often called, was born in Bavaria in 1870 to a cabinetmaker father and a freethinking mother. In this excerpt from his autobiography, If You Don't Weaken, published in 1940, he discussed his decision to emigrate to America in 1885 as a fifteen-year-old "hellion." In America, Ameringer ultimately carved out a remarkable and colorful career as a musician, labor organizer, and especially, an edito
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Architectural Room, Auburn University
This image is a black and white photograph of an architectural classroom at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn, Alabama, circa 1910. Alabama Polytechnic Institute is the former name of Auburn University. Handwritten message (on back) addressed to Miss Bernice Lowe, Opelika, Ala., postmarked March 27, 1910.
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This image is the property of the Auburn University Libraries and is intended for non-commercial use. Users of the image are asked to acknowledge the Auburn University Libraries. For information about

"A Decent Home . . . for Every American Family": Postwar Housing Shortage Victims Testify before Con
New home construction declined dramatically during the Great Depression as rents rose, reaching an all-time high in 1940. A persistent housing shortage continuing into the early 1950s forced families to separate and apartment dwellers to "double-up." The housing reform movement, largely ineffectual in the 1920s and 1930s, gathered strength in the postwar period. Labor and veteran groups pressured Congress and the White House to enact a comprehensive housing policy with money for public housing a
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