What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City by Frank FelsensteinWhat Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City by Frank Felsenstein

What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City

byFrank Felsenstein, James J. Connolly

Hardcover | June 29, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 585 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


The discovery of a large cache of circulation records from the Muncie, Indiana, Public Library in 2003 offers unprecedented detail about American reading behavior at the turn of the twentieth century. Frank Felsenstein and James J. Connolly have mined these records to produce an in-depth account of print culture in Muncie, the city featured in the famed "Middletown" studies conducted by Robert and Helen Lynd almost a century ago. Using the data assembled and made public through the What Middletown Read Database (www.bsu.edu/libraries/wmr), a celebrated new resource the authors helped launch, Felsenstein and Connolly analyze the borrowing choices and reading culture of social groups and individuals.

What Middletown Read is much more than a statistical study. Felsenstein and Connolly dig into diaries, meeting minutes, newspaper reports, and local histories to trace the library's development in relation to the city's cosmopolitan aspirations, to profile individual readers, and to explore such topics as the relationship between children's reading and their schooling and what books were discussed by local women's clubs. The authors situate borrowing patterns and reading behavior within the contexts of a rapidly growing, culturally ambitious small city, an evolving public library, an expanding market for print, and the broad social changes that accompanied industrialization in the United States. The result is a rich, revealing portrait of the place of reading in an emblematic American community.
Frank Felsenstein is Reed D. Voran Honors Distinguished Professor in Humanities and professor of English at Ball State University. He is author of English Trader, Indian Maid: Representing Gender, Race, and Slavery in the New World. James J. Connolly is George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Cent...
Title:What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small CityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:June 29, 2015Publisher:University of Massachusetts PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1625341407

ISBN - 13:9781625341402


Editorial Reviews

"This book makes an extremely important contribution to the literature on print culture history both for its methodological content and for what it has to tell us about the print culture of 'Middletown.'" - Christine Pawley, author of Reading Places: Literacy, Democracy, and the Public Library in Cold War America