American History question

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Scotty, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Scotty

    Scotty Member+

    Dec 15, 1999
    Campania
    I'm not sure exactly why, but my father is trying to find info on what American life was like 50 and 100 years ago. Things like statistics (lifespan, salary, etc) and descriptions of life in general.

    Does anyone know of any websites where I might find this kind of information?
     
  2. djwalker

    djwalker BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 13, 2000
    The 405
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    PBS has done two specials where people voluntarily lived like people did in frontier and colonial days. They were then judged by history experts as to whether they would have lived or died, based on how well they grew food, made shelter, etc.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/colonialhouse/
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/

    I've seen Frontier House and it was pretty compelling.
     
  3. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

    Oct 11, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Can't vouch for the validity of the information, but here's some stuff:

    http://www.rfcafe.com/miscellany/humor/100_years_ago.htm
     
  4. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    I'm not sure of websites with those stats off the top of my head, but if he wants books that go into the descriptions of life in general... (and he can go as far in depth on this as he would want to).

    50 years ago would be 1954...
    For histories he might read Lizabeth Cohen, _A Consumer's Republic_. Or he could go to the library and read through a bunch of old _Life_ magazines. Those won't tell him absolutely what life was like but will give a good idea of the expectations of middle class culture. (He could also look at old copies of _Ebony_ to get an interesting contrast).

    100 years ago would be 1904...
    For histories he could read the 2 chapters in Eric Foner's _The Story of American Freedom_ that deal with the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He could also read The Jungle, or any Henry James book, or WEB DuBois (each will tell what life at the turn of the century was like, from very different perspectives).
     
  5. elainemichelle

    elainemichelle New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    I also recommend this for a description of American life at that time.
     
  6. Glenwood Lane United

    Apr 28, 2001
    Hanover Park, IL
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Definitely for what it was like for as an immigrant and how immigrants were manipulated.

    What life was life 50 or 100 years ago is an extremely broad subject.
     
  7. elainemichelle

    elainemichelle New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    Exactly. There were so many little niches (I suppose you could word it) and the divides b/t rural and urban were much larger than they are now. The life of a farmer was much different than that of a shipbuilder or a doctor or a teacher, etc, etc, etc.
     
  8. Glenwood Lane United

    Apr 28, 2001
    Hanover Park, IL
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Scotty,

    Did he have any particular region or profession in mind? If it coinciding with an area I have read up on, I'd be happy to recommend something.
     
  9. _chachi

    _chachi New Member

    Mar 15, 1999
    new jersey, usa
    head over to your neighborhood retirement home and talk to the residents.
     
  10. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

    Oct 11, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    Ipswich Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is actually phenomenal advice.

    Too many people ignore the elderly. They can seriously be a font of information.

    In one of my classes, I always assign a set of interview questions to be asked to the students' grandparents or great aunts or uncles if the grandparents aren't available...

    It's wonderful.

    I was assigned this for a psych. class many years ago. I still have the audio tape of my grandparents answering the questions. It's a prized posession now that they're both gone.
     

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