The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture

The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture

by Howard Chudacoff
ISBN-10:
0691070555
ISBN-13:
9780691070551
Pub. Date:
09/28/2000
Publisher:
Princeton University Press

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Overview

The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture

"What a wonderful book! Who would have expected that a history of bachelor subculture would illuminate so much of the nation's past? . . . A major contribution to a hitherto largely unexamined subject."—Benjamin G. Rader, author of American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Television

"Being single is typically understood as a stage of life, not a way of life. Yet in this remarkable study of bachelorhood at the turn of the last century, Howard Chudacoff explodes our myths about those errant sons and strange uncles, and reveals a subculture of masculine resistance—and thus gives bachelorhood its first history."—Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America: A Cultural History

"A century ago they were misfits, pariahs, deviants, vagrants, even criminal suspects. Today, bachelors evoke images of hedonistic baby-boomers and Hugh Hefner want-to-bes. Howard Chudacoff strips those images of their simplicity, convincingly showing bachelorhood to be not only misunderstood but a hidden and common social custom in American history. Full of insight and broad vision. . . ."—Timothy J. Gilfoyle, author of City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920

"The Age of the Bachelor is an extremely well researched study of an important subject that had not been previously examined in any book. Chudacoff has excellent command of the secondary literature. He masterfully generated quantitative data about bachelors in three major cities, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, to provide us with a far more accurate accounting of bachelors than we ever had before. While the book concentrates on the period from about 1800 to 1930, Chudacoff does analyze the nature of bachelorhood throughout all of American history. He explains why bachelorhood was so surprisingly widespread, examines bachelors' domestic lives, the institutions and associations they participated in, and how the male bachelor subculture influenced male culture in general. This book is an important contribution to social and gender history, and it should be widely read. The book is analytically sound, well-written, with many interesting anecdotes, and should be of interest to scholars and general readers alike."—Steven A. Riess, Northeastern Illlinois University, author of Sport in Industrial America, 1850-1920

"This book deals with a distinctive and important topic of broad interest, and it does so convincingly, engagingly, and clearly. A truly superior work of scholarship, it is also a pleasure to read."—E. Anthony Rotundo, Phillips Academy, author of American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era

"The Age of the Bachelor adds an important element to the rich literature of gender, culture, and urban history in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.... The research is exhaustive. The book is very well written and is blissfully free of jargon, making it accessible to readers both inside and outside the field."—Elaine Tyler May, University of Minnesota, author of Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691070551
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/28/2000
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 909,557
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Howard P. Chudacoff is University Professor and Professor of History at Brown University. One of his previous books,How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture was published by Princeton University Press in 1989.

Table of Contents

Acknowlegments ix

Introduction The Age of the Bachclor 3

Chapter One Bachelorhood in Early American History 21

Chapter Two Why So Many Bachelors? 45

Chapter Three The Domestic Lives of Bachelors 75

Chapter Four Institutional Life 106

Chapter Five Associations: Formal and Interpersonal 146

Chapter Six The Popular Culture of Bachelorhood 185

Chapter Seven Bachelor Subculture and Male Culture 217

Chapter Eight The Decline and Resurgence of Bachelorhood, 1930-1995 251

Appendix 283

Notes 291

Index 335

What People are Saying About This

Benjamin G. Rader

What a wonderful book! Who would have expected that a history of bachelor subculture would illuminate so much of the nation's past? . . . A major contribution to a hitherto largely unexamined subject.

Steven A. Riess

The Age of the Bachelor is an extremely well researched study of an important subject that had not been previously examined in any book. Chudacoff has excellent command of the secondary literature. He masterfully generated quantitative data about bachelors in three major cities,Boston,Chicago,and San Francisco,to provide us with a far more accurate accounting of bachelors than we ever had before. While the book concentrates on the period from about 1800 to 1930,Chudacoff does analyze the nature of bachelorhood throughout all of American history. He explains why bachelorhood was so surprisingly widespread,examines bachelors' domestic lives,the institutions and associations they participated in,and how the male bachelor subculture influenced male culture in general. This book is an important contribution to social and gender history,and it should be widely read. The book is analytically sound,well-written,with many interesting anecdotes,and should be of interest to scholars and general readers alike.

Riess

The Age of the Bachelor is an extremely well researched study of an important subject that had not been previously examined in any book. Chudacoff has excellent command of the secondary literature. He masterfully generated quantitative data about bachelors in three major cities, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, to provide us with a far more accurate accounting of bachelors than we ever had before. While the book concentrates on the period from about 1800 to 1930, Chudacoff does analyze the nature of bachelorhood throughout all of American history. He explains why bachelorhood was so surprisingly widespread, examines bachelors' domestic lives, the institutions and associations they participated in, and how the male bachelor subculture influenced male culture in general. This book is an important contribution to social and gender history, and it should be widely read. The book is analytically sound, well-written, with many interesting anecdotes, and should be of interest to scholars and general readers alike.
Steven A. Riess, Northeastern Illlinois University, author of "Sport in Industrial America, 1850-1920"

Michael Kimmel

Being single is typically understood as a stage of life,not a way of life. Yet in this remarkable study of bachelorhood at the turn of the last century,Howard Chudacoff explodes our myths about those errant sons and strange uncles,and reveals a subculture of masculine resistance--and thus gives bachelorhood its first history.

E. Anthony Rotundo, Phillips Academy, author of American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity

This book deals with a distinctive and important topic of broad interest, and it does so convincingly, engagingly, and clearly. A truly superior work of scholarship, it is also a pleasure to read.

Rader

What a wonderful book! Who would have expected that a history of bachelor subculture would illuminate so much of the nation's past? . . . A major contribution to a hitherto largely unexamined subject.
Benjamin G. Rader, author of American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Television

Gilfoyle

A century ago they were misfits, pariahs, deviants, vagrants, even criminal suspects. Today, bachelors evoke images of hedonistic baby-boomers and Hugh Hefner want-to-bes. Howard Chudacoff strips those images of their simplicity, convincingly showing bachelorhood to be not only misunderstood but a hidden and common social custom in American history. Full of insight and broad vision. . . .
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, author of "City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920"

Elaine Tyler May

The Age of the Bachelor adds an important element to the rich literature of gender,culture,and urban history in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.... The research is exhaustive. The book is very well written and is blissfully free of jargon,making it accessible to readers both inside and outside the field.

Elaine Tyler May, University of Minnesota, author of Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Ameri

The Age of the Bachelor adds an important element to the rich literature of gender, culture, and urban history in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.... The research is exhaustive. The book is very well written and is blissfully free of jargon, making it accessible to readers both inside and outside the field.

E. Anthony Rotundo

This book deals with a distinctive and important topic of broad interest,and it does so convincingly,engagingly,and clearly. A truly superior work of scholarship,it is also a pleasure to read.

Timothy J. Gilfoyle

A century ago they were misfits,pariahs,deviants,vagrants,even criminal suspects. Today,bachelors evoke images of hedonistic baby-boomers and Hugh Hefner want-to-bes. Howard Chudacoff strips those images of their simplicity,convincingly showing bachelorhood to be not only misunderstood but a hidden and common social custom in American history. Full of insight and broad vision. . . .

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