Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest

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9780803292703: Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest
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The nearly two hundred rare and dramatic photographs in this work depict life at work in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Work—often arduous, low paid, and dangerous—defined the region during its period of supercharged development from the 1880s to the 1920s. A final section records work during the depression and war years in the 1930s and 1940s. Complementing the photographs are statements by workers themselves, government analysts, and later observers. The author's essays and commentary on the photographs demonstrate, that, from the beginning of U.S. control, wage labor was crucial to integrating the Pacific Northwest into national and international networks of trade, commerce, and industry. The development of lumber, mining, fishing, railroad, and service industries in the New Northwest marked the transformation of the region from an isolated periphery to a functioning component of the world economy and culture. Schwantes also deals with the tension between the supposed freedom and individualism of the frontier West on the one hand and the constraints of wage labor as practiced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on the other. This tension gave rise to an often militant trade unionism and political radicalism that was particularly marked in the Northwest.

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About the Author:

Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes is a professor of history and the director of the Institute for Pacific Northwest Study at the University of Idaho. His many books include In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho (Nebraska 1991).

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“It’s the powerful photographs of the workers and their surroundings—‘a commonwealth of toil’—that keep you turning the pages for fascinating glimpses into a neglected aspect of the building of America.”—Parade (Parade)

“This splendid collection . . . comprises about 200 rare and dramatic photographs of life and work in the Pacific Northwest between 1880 and 1950. Schwantes has woven a rich tapestry from the archives of pioneer photographers. . . . The pictures . . . take us beyond and behind the promotional scenic photographs of lush crops, booming cities and flourishing industry. They show the disasters, accidents and, above all, the faces of those otherwise anonymous people who made up the endless turnover of labour characteristic of frontier areas. . . . Not least, the volume is an important contribution to the history of American photography, because Schwantes is concerned to examine how the photographers themselves perceived the life and work they captured in their images.”—Times Literary Supplement (Times Literary Supplement)

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9780803242210: Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest

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ISBN 10:  0803242212 ISBN 13:  9780803242210
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press, 1995
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