Life in Iron Mills / Edition 1

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This edition reprints the text of Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills together with a broad selection of thematically arranged historical and cultural documents that open up the novella to the consideration of a range of social and cultural issues vital to Davis's ninteenth century. Special attention is given to nineteenth century American discussions of work and social class, moral and social reform, the development of American art and industry, and the position of the woman writer. A general introduction providing historical and cultural background, a chronology of Davis's life and times, an introduction to each thematic group of documents, headnotes, extensive annotations, a generous selection of illustrations, and a selected bibliography make this volume the definitive scholarly edition of this classic work of industrial fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312133603
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 435
  • Sales rank: 1,370,313
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Table of Contents

About the Series
About This Volume


Introduction: Cultural and Historical Background

Chronology of Davis's Life and Times

A Note on the Text

Life in the Iron-Mills [1861 Atlantic Monthly Edition]


1. Work and Class
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Village Blacksmith"
Alexis de Tocqueville, "That Aristocracy May Be Endangered by Manufactures"
A. W. Campbell, "Iron Interests of Wheeling"
Captain Willard Glazier, "Pittsburg"
John Roach, Senate Testimony from Iron Foundry Proprietor
William Weihe, Senate Testimony from Iron Puddler and Union Leader
Jesse Claxton, J. G. Going, and N. R. Fielding, Senate Testimony from Workers of Color
Robert D. Layton, Senate Testimony from Grand Secretary of the Knights of Labor
Reese E. Lewis, "March of the Rolling-Mill Men" (song)
Felix O'Hare, "The Shoofly" (song)
Walt Whitman, "A Song for Occupations"
Oliver Wendell Holmes, From "A Rhymed Lesson"
James Russell Lowell, "Without and Within"
Andrew Carnegie, From The Gospel of Wealth
Fanny Fern, "Sewing Machines"
Fanny Fern, "The Working-Girls of New York"
Harriet Hanson Robinson, From Loom and Spindle
Anonymous, "Factory Life — Romance and Reality"
Anonymous, "My Experience as a Factory Operative"
Elizabeth E. Turner, "Factory Girl's Reverie"
Herman Melville, "The Tartarus of Maids"

2. Social Reform and the Promise of the Dawn
Orestes Brownson, From "The Laboring Classes"
Ralph Waldo Emerson, From "American Civilization"
Henry Ward Beecher, "Practical Hints"
Charles Loring Brace, From The Dangerous Classes of New York
Anonymous, "In Soho on Saturday Night" (song)
Josiah Strong, "Perils — Immigration"
Josiah Strong, "The Anglo-Saxon and the World's Future"
Anna Gordon, Senate Testimony on the Kitchen Garden Movement
T. S. Arthur, From Ten Nights in a Bar-Room
John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Quaker of the Olden Time"
Harriet Beecher Stowe, "The Quaker Settlement" (From Uncle Tom's Cabin)
Edward Bellamy, From Looking Backward: 2000-1887

3. Art and Artists
James Jackson Jarves, "An Inquiry into the Art-Conditions and Prospects of America"
James Jackson Jarves, From Art Thoughts
Anonymous, "Hints to American Artists"
William Wetmore Story, From Conversations in a Studio
Anonymous, "The Stewart Art Gallery"
Anonymous, "The Process of Sculpture"
Anonymous, "The Greek Slave"
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "A Sculptor's Studio" (From The Marble Faun)
Henry James, From Roderick Hudson
Wilson McDonald, Senate Testimony on the Arts and Art Education in the United States
Florence Elizabeth Cory, Senate Testimony on Industrial Art Schools for Women

4. Women and Writing: The Public Platform
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Letter to George D. Ticknor
Margaret Fuller, From "The Great Lawsuit"
Augusta Evans Wilson, From St. Elmo
Caroline Kirkland, "Literary Women"
Fanny Fern, From Ruth Hall
Lucy Larcom, From A New England Girlhood
Louisa May Alcott, From Little Women
Annie Fields, From Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe


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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2005


    The only story I've ever read by Rebecca Harding Davis, and it was outstanding. Life in the Iron Mills is so beautifully written and heartbreaking that it's a shame Harding didn't write more like this. I would highly recommed this story to anyone who merely enjoys reading.

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