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The dream of a new social order : popular magazines in America, 1893-1914

Author: Matthew Schneirov
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This lively book explores how magazines became the first national mass medium in the United States and how they expressed a new American culture based on the dream of a better future. Matthew Schneirov argues that the birth of such popular magazines as Munsey's, McClure's, and Cosmopolitan helped to form the foundations of contemporary consumer culture. These magazines, which usurped genteel "family house magazines"
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Matthew Schneirov
ISBN: 0231082908 9780231082907
OCLC Number: 30475127
Description: viii, 357 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: A power and a pleasure --
Pt. 1: The gospel of culture and the Victorian reader --
The family house magazines and the gospel of culture --
The Victorian reader and the political economy of the magazine --
Pt. 2: The magazine revolution --
The magazine revolution of the 1890s --
"The whirlpool of real life": the popular magazine project --
Pt. 3: Dream of abundance, social control, and social justice --
The new secular religion of health --
"New worlds to conquer": the dreams of progress --
Muckraking, realism, and the dream of social justice --
Dreams of a new social order --
Appendix 1: Circulation in thousands of the leading general interest magazines from 1900 to 1913 --
Appendix 2: Topics of lead Cosmopolitan articles, 1893-1904 --
Appendix 3: Topics of lead Cosmopolitan articles, 1905-1914 --
Appendix 4: Century magazine articles, 1893-1900 --
Appendix 5: Cosmopolitan magazine articles, 1893-1900 --
Appendix 6: Contributors to Walker's Cosmopolitan.
Responsibility: Matthew Schneirov.

Abstract:

This lively book explores how magazines became the first national mass medium in the United States and how they expressed a new American culture based on the dream of a better future. Matthew Schneirov argues that the birth of such popular magazines as Munsey's, McClure's, and Cosmopolitan helped to form the foundations of contemporary consumer culture. These magazines, which usurped genteel "family house magazines" such as Harper's Monthly and The Atlantic Monthly at the turn of the century, actively spread ideas of abundance, social control, and justice. Revolutionary concepts and products from the skyscraper to the camera, the automobile, and the new-fangled "flying machine" were extolled in their pages as icons of the technological promise that would transform modern living.

By promoting consumer culture, these dynamic magazines galvanized the national mood. Headed by savvy, cosmopolitan editors who were equally committed to the cultural and intellectual education of their fellow Americans and the growth of mass print culture, these publications encouraged readers to expand their personal horizons to accommodate a spirit of progress. Articles on consumerism, therapeutic culture, and social welfare were juxtaposed with the exposes of the "muckrakers"--A new breed of journalists including Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White who investigated municipal and corporate corruption in the "Gilded Age" of Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Tammany Hall.

This vision transformed the traditional and elitist view of culture as a repository of timeless and fixed virtues to a springboard of ideas and energies directed toward achieving a cohesive, cooperative society. Engaged in the "whirlpool of real life," the popular magazines pointed to the vitality of consumerism and the industrial cities as sure signs of progress. Informative and stylish, as well as expansive in its eclectic coverage of the popular magazine, Schneirov brilliantly shows how this phenomenon tapped into a national sensibility and ran away with it. The Dream of a New Social Order is illustrated with more than twenty photographs from nineteenth and twentieth century magazines.

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