Working At Play: A History of Vacations in the United States

Paperback | June 15, 2001

byCindy S. Aron

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In Working at Play, Cindy Aron offers the first full length history of how Americans have vacationed--from eighteenth-century planters who summered in Newport to twentieth-century urban workers who headed for camps in the hills. In the early nineteenth century, vacations were taken for healthmore than for fun, as the wealthy traveled to watering places, seeking cures for everything from consumption to rheumatism. But starting in the 1850s, the growth of a white- collar middle class and the expansion of railroads made vacationing a mainstream activity. Aron charts this growth with graceand insight, tracing the rise of new vacation spots as the nation and the middle class blossomed. She shows how late nineteenth-century resorts became centers of competitive sports--bowling, tennis, golf, hiking, swimming, and boating absorbed the hours. But as vacationing grew, she writes, fears ofthe dangers of idleness grew with it. Religious camp grounds, where gambling, drinking, and bathing on Sundays were prohibited, became established resorts. At the same time 'self improvement' vacations began to flourish, allowing a middle class still uncomfortable with the notion of leisure to feelproductive while at play. With vivid detail and much insight, Working at Play offers a lively history of the vacation, throwing new light on the place of work and rest in American culture.

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In Working at Play, Cindy Aron offers the first full length history of how Americans have vacationed--from eighteenth-century planters who summered in Newport to twentieth-century urban workers who headed for camps in the hills. In the early nineteenth century, vacations were taken for healthmore than for fun, as the wealthy traveled t...

Cindy S. Aron is the author of Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service: Middle Class Workers in Victorian America, and is Professor of History at the University of Virginia. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 5.79 × 8.9 × 1.1 inPublished:June 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195142349

ISBN - 13:9780195142341

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart One: Inventing Vacations1. Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures2. "Summer hotels are everywhere": A Flood of4. "No late hours, no headache in the morning": Self-Improvement Vacations5. "a jaunt... agreeable and instructive": The Vacationer as Tourist6. "Unfashionable, but for once happy!": Camping VacationsPart Two: Into the Twentieth Century7. "Vacations do not appeal to them": Extending Vacations to the Working Class8. Crossing Class and Racial Boundaries: Vacationing in the Early Twentieth Century9. "It's worthwhile to get something from your holiday": Vacationing During the DepressionEpilogueNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Scholarly, thoroughly entertaining, and perceptive"--The Wall Street Journal