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Category: Urban


The following is an excerpt from a draft of the conclusion to my thesis. If anyone is interested in reading more I’d be happy to provide additional text as well. The water scandal came to a rather quiet end. In February 1906, the prosecuting attorneys dropped the charges against former mayor George Perry nearly two years after jury could not agree on a verdict, as well as the remaining open cases. Five years after the water scandal first broke, the prosecution did not believe they could convict anyone else. The city’s residents had become, as Grand Rapids historian Z. Z.…

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Thesis Intro

The following is an excerpt from a draft of the introduction to my thesis. If anyone is interested in reading more I’d be happy to provide additional text as well. Drawing its name from the Grand River’s rapids near which the city was founded, Grand Rapids’ rise was somewhat fortuitous. Grand Rapids occupied a regional economic importance located between Detroit and Chicago. However, Grand Rapids did not benefit from its location. It was neither directly between the two major cities, nor was it positioned on the lakeshore. Early industry was positioned around natural resources, namely the river which bisected the…

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Clubs of GR

The following is an excerpt from the same chapter draft as last week’s post. Grand Rapids’ Club Scene According to the Peninsular Club’s constitution, the club’s primary function was “to promote social intercourse amongst its members.” In order to accommodate the city’s preeminent elite on both sides of the political aisle, the club refused to express any “opinion on any religious, political or social question.” On everyday but Sunday, members could frequent the club house from seven in the morning until midnight, though special occasions could keep the club open until four in the morning. The club was still open…


Spatializing GR

I am currently coming down the home stretch for my MA thesis and it has been keeping me quite busy. My thesis work actually made me miss a blog post last week (I am sure people were heartbroken). This week as a sort of compromise with myself I am posting an excerpt. Granted, this is a very rough section of the second draft of my first chapter. In my digital project I added a spatial element to my research, something I have continued in my work. The excerpt below is the base layer of an introduction to the city’s elite.…


What Middletown Read

The What Middletown Read Project (I’d love to see them add a spatial dimension): “What Middletown Read” is a database and search engine built upon the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from November 6, 1891 through December 3, 1902. It documents every book that every library patron borrowed during that period, with the exception of one gap from May 28, 1892 to November 5, 1894. For more details, follow the links below.


Can Micro be Macro?

Even though I am still trying to finish my MA thesis, I cannot help but think forward to finding a dissertation topic. Now I like my MA thesis topic, and I think there is still much I could do with it, but I want to really love my dissertation topic (I think you need to in order to finish it). So recently I have been thinking about some potential avenues that might bring some of my diverse historical interests together into one project. In the past, I have dove directly into primary sources, and I probably will start that way…