Day of Jubilee: The Great Age of Public Celebrations in New York, 1788-1909

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Day of Jubilee: The Great Age of Public Celebrations in New York, 1788-1909 examines civic performances designed to honor prominent individuals, mark political events and issues of significance to New York City, or signal the completion of great projects that have touched the lives of New Yorkers. The great jubilees of recent years, including the ticker tape parades for the astronauts and championship sports teams and the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, all drew on traditions established in the nineteenth ...
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New Brunswick, NJ 1997 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 232 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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Overview

Day of Jubilee: The Great Age of Public Celebrations in New York, 1788-1909 examines civic performances designed to honor prominent individuals, mark political events and issues of significance to New York City, or signal the completion of great projects that have touched the lives of New Yorkers. The great jubilees of recent years, including the ticker tape parades for the astronauts and championship sports teams and the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, all drew on traditions established in the nineteenth century. Brooks McNamara sees these events as an extension of the traditional theatrical form. Although public celebrations take place outside of the playhouse, they are often loosely scripted, stage-managed, and performed by enormous casts - with an entire city as stage and auditorium. McNamara examines the evolution of the broad themes of popular pageantry, and the effects of the growing and changing population on these events. Through contemporary accounts and illustrations, readers can experience the excitement of Lafayette's visit, the debut of Jenny Lind, and the first St. Patrick's Day parade. McNamara also traces the decline of the golden age of jubilees, highlighting such factors as rising costs to the City, increasing traffic congestion, and alternative popular entertainment. Readers will ask: Is our society too big and too complex for public performances of togetherness? And if so, have we found a better way to enact our appreciation of what we value?

In Day of Jubilee: The Great Age of Public Celebrations in New York, 1788-1909 New York University professor Brooks McNamara chronicles "a certain kind of 'applied' theater history-the staging of public celebrations" by "well-connected, socially prominent men." He sees New York as "simply one 19th-century American city among many that produced more or less traditional and conventionalized" events. Being an island, Manhattan "presented undoubted ceremonial possibilities" on water as well as on land. Illustrations from the New York Historical Society collections show the variety and lavishness of these public events.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Nineteenth-century Americans had a passion for public festivals, ably chronicled here by theater historian McNamara. Parades and speeches were elicited by state visits, centennials, funerals, and holidays both familiar (Independence Day) and forgotten (Evacuation Day). Relying heavily on newspaper accounts and celebrated diarists Phillip Hone and George Templeton Strong, McNamara tells his story compellingly and with an eye to larger meanings. The book extends from Washington's inaugural visit to the misbegotten Hudson-Fulton Centennial celebration of 1909, in which McNamara sees the beginnings of the decline of civic gatherings in the 20th century. The many pleasing illustrations likely contributed a good deal to the book's price, making it an expensive optional purchase for most libraries.Fritz Buckallew, Univ. of Central Oklahoma Lib., Edmond
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813523873
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 7.34 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Prologue: Public Celebrations as Performances 1
1 The Constitution Celebration and the Washington Inauguration, 1788, 1789 13
2 Three Annual Celebrations, c. 1819-1876 28
3 State Visitors, I, 1824-1850 46
4 State Visitors, II, 1851-1871 66
5 Openings and Dedications, 1825-1864 84
6 Parades and Public Mourning, I, 1800-1865 101
7 Parades and Public Mourning, II, 1870-1897 121
8 From the Fourth of July to the Washington Centennial, 1876-1889 137
9 From the Columbian Celebration to Hudson-Fulton, 1892-1909 155
Epilogue: Goodbye, Columbus, 1910 to the Present 171
Notes 181
Selected Sources 191
Index 197
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