Creating the College Man: American Mass Magazines And Middle-class Manhood, 1890?1915

Paperback | May 25, 2010

byDaniel A. Clark

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How did a college education become so vital to American notions of professional and personal advancement? Reared on the ideal of the self-made man, American men had long rejected the need for college. But in the early twentieth century this ideal began to change as white men born in the U.S. faced a barrage of new challenges, among them a stultifying bureaucracy and growing competition in the workplace from an influx of immigrants and women. At this point a college education appealed to young men as an attractive avenue to success in a dawning corporate age. Accessible at first almost exclusively to middle-class white males, college funneled these aspiring elites toward a more comfortable and certain future in a revamped construction of the American dream.
    In Creating the College Man Daniel A. Clark argues that the dominant mass media of the era—popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan and the Saturday Evening Post—played an integral role in shaping the immediate and long-term goals of this select group of men. In editorials, articles, fiction, and advertising, magazines depicted the college man as simultaneously cultured and scientific, genteel and athletic, polished and tough. Such depictions underscored the college experience in powerful and attractive ways that neatly united the incongruous strains of American manhood and linked a college education to corporate success.

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How did a college education become so vital to American notions of professional and personal advancement? Reared on the ideal of the self-made man, American men had long rejected the need for college. But in the early twentieth century this ideal began to change as white men born in the U.S. faced a barrage of new challenges, among the...

Daniel A. Clark is assistant professor of history at Indiana State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:May 25, 2010Publisher:University of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299235343

ISBN - 13:9780299235345

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments   

Introduction. Piggy Goes to Harvard: Mass Magazines, Masculinity and College Education for the Corporate Middle Class   
1 The Crisis of the Clerks: Magazines, Masculine Success, and the Ideal Businessman in Transition   
2 The College Curriculum and Business: Re-Conceptualizing the Pathways to Power in a Corporate World   
3 Athletes and Frats, Romance and Rowdies: Re-Imagining the Collegiate Extracurricular Experience   
4 Horatio Alger Goes to College: College, Corporate America, and the Reconfiguration of the Self-Made Ideal   
5 From Campus Hero to Corporate Professional: Selling the Full Vision of the College Experience   
Conclusion: College and the Culture of Aspiration   

Appendix   
Notes   
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“The book is rich in reflections about these magazine’s representations of college curricula and extracurricular life, and the linkages between these and both the newly developing ideals of masculinity and the world of corporate capitalism.”—Historical Studies in Education