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Domesticating history : the political origins of America's house museums

Author: Patricia West
Publisher: Washington [D.C.] : Smithsonian Institution Press, ©1999.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Focusing on George Washington's Mount Vernon, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Patricia West shows how historic houses reflect less the lives and times of their famous inhabitants than the political pressures of the eras during which they were transformed into museums. In the late 1850s, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association evoked a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Patricia West
ISBN: 1560988118 9781560988113 1560988363 9781560988366
OCLC Number: 40473704
Description: xiii, 241 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Inventing a house undivided: antebellum cultural politics and the enshrinement of Mount Vernon --
Gender politics and the Orchard House museum --
Campaigning for Monticello --
"The bricks of compromise settle into place": Booker T. Washington's birthplace and the civil rights movement.
Responsibility: Patricia West.
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Abstract:

"Focusing on George Washington's Mount Vernon, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, Patricia West shows how historic houses reflect less the lives and times of their famous inhabitants than the political pressures of the eras during which they were transformed into museums. In the late 1850s, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association evoked a mythologized George Washington to campaign for the "rescue" of his home, glossing over his role as a slaveholder to appeal to patrons on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. In 1912, the establishment of Orchard House as a museum paid homage to Alcott's novel Little Women and unified the Woman's Club of Concord, Massachusetts, which was bitterly divided over women's suffrage. In the 1920s and 1930s, Monticello became a touchstone for professional house restoration and an idealized Thomas Jefferson a focal point for a rift-weary Democratic Party. During the 1950s, the birthplace of Booker T. Washington became a monument created largely by politicians besieged by conflicts over civil rights." "In Domesticating History, West contends that house museum founders, while claiming to create sites strictly devoted to individual lives, were in fact establishing monuments steeped in the issues of their times."--BOOK JACKET.

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