On The Make: Clerks And The Quest For Capital In Nineteenth-century America by Brian P. LuskeyOn The Make: Clerks And The Quest For Capital In Nineteenth-century America by Brian P. Luskey

On The Make: Clerks And The Quest For Capital In Nineteenth-century America

byBrian P. Luskey

Paperback | December 1, 2011

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In the bustling cities of the mid-nineteenth-century Northeast, young male clerks working in commercial offices and stores were on the make, persistently seeking wealth, respect, and self-gratification. Yet these strivers and "counter jumpers" discovered that claiming the identities of independent men—while making sense of a volatile capitalist economy and fluid urban society—was fraught with uncertainty.

In On the Make, Brian P. Luskey illuminates at once the power of the ideology of self-making and the important contests over the meanings of respectability, manhood, and citizenship that helped to determine who clerks were and who they would become. Drawing from a rich array of archival materials, including clerks’ diaries, newspapers, credit reports, census data, advice literature, and fiction, Luskey argues that a better understanding of clerks and clerking helps make sense of the culture of capitalism and the society it shaped in this pivotal era.

Title:On The Make: Clerks And The Quest For Capital In Nineteenth-century AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:287 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:December 1, 2011Publisher:NYU PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0814753108

ISBN - 13:9780814753101

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“More clearly than any previous scholar, Luskey has answered the question ‘What, exactly, was a clerk?’ Forced to do a wide variety of manual labor, they wore white collars, but in Luskey’s clever turn of phrase, the collars often weren’t all that white. Nor were all clerks created equal. As both clerks and their employers were well aware, many had limited opportunities for upward mobility. This is not just first rate social history that makes an important contribution to our understanding of the consolidation of class in the nineteenth century, but also first rate cultural history that skillfully teases out the ambiguities of the clerk’s place in nineteenth-century popular culture.”-Amy Greenberg,author of Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire