Journal of American History


Bogs of Death: Slavery, the Brazilian Flour Trade, and the Mystery of the Vanishing Millpond in Antebellum Virginia

Daniel Rood uncovers significant economic links between antebellum Virginia and southeastern Brazil. Consumer demand in Rio de Janeiro for high-quality Richmond flour led to the collapse of small-time gristmilling throughout the state, as the largest and most technologically advanced flour mills in the nation arose along the banks of the James River in the future capital of the Confederacy. Rural deindustrialization dovetailed with new, elite-driven concerns over the malarial effects of standing water, as well as a desire to expand wheat acreage, spurring the drainage of thousands of acres of abandoned millponds. Thus, the continuing entanglements of a slavery-centered Atlantic economy transformed the rural landscape of piedmont Virginia in the twenty years before the Civil War.

pp. 19–43 Read online >

Dueling Visions for the Postwar World: The UN and UNESCO 1949 Conferences on Resources and Nature, and the Origins of Environmentalism

Thomas Jundt examines the 1949 United Nations Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources held in Lake Success, New York. Concerned that the conference would promote only traditional notions of conservation focused on the wise use of natural resources and the preservation of natural spaces deemed aesthetically pleasing, one of the United Nations’ own agencies, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, held the concurrent International Technical Conference on the Protection of Nature designed to encourage broader ideals of environmentalism—focused on issues of ecology, pollution, and sustainability—that emerged after World War II.

pp. 44–70 Read online >

“We Intend to Run It”: Racial Politics, Illegal Gambling, and the Rise of Government Lotteries in the United States, 1960–1985

Playing the lottery has become an accepted part of everyday life for millions of Americans. But few are aware that the emergence of contemporary lotteries in the urban North led to a fierce political struggle centered on race, crime, and taxes. Proposals for legal state lottery games during the 1960s and 1970s took direct aim at illegal numbers games that had been popular for generations in black communities in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Black elected officials and community activists argued that if gambling was legalized through a lottery, then the thousands of people who made their living in the illegal gambling industry in black neighborhoods should be given the opportunity to work out in the open as legal gambling operators. Matthew Vaz recounts this political fight between a vision of legal gambling as a community-controlled jobs program and legal gambling as a centralized, state-controlled taxation program.

pp. 71–96 Read online >

The Cowboy Suit Tragedy: Spreading Risk, Owning Hazard in the Modern American Consumer Economy

Between 1942 and 1952 an unknown number of children were severely burned when Gene Autry cowboy suits they were wearing caught fire. A number of the children died, others were crippled for life. The cowboy suit tragedy unfolded at midcentury, in a context in which Americans were increasingly dependent on the consumer marketplace to meet their basic needs, in which consumption was understood as the engine of American economic growth and stability and as critical to capitalism and democracy, and even as the purchasing power of consumers and providing a social safety net had come to be seen as public, governmental obligations. Barbara Young Welke takes the cowboy suit tragedy as her focus, offering a particular, powerful, haunting window into risk, insurance, law, and the meaning of owning hazard in the modern American consumer economy.

pp. 97–121 Read online >

Listen to Barbara Young Welke discuss her article in the Journal of American History Podcast.


Space, Nation, and the Triumph of Region: A View of the World from Houston

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of digital innovation in the humanities. In the first “Metagraph” digital history research article published by the Journal of American History, Cameron Blevins shows how new technology can add to the historian”s tool kit and alter our understanding of the historical production of space and region. He uses “distant reading” to uncover surprising and otherwise-hidden spatial patterns in how a Texas newspaper crafted a view of the world for its readers in the late nineteenth century. In an age of national integration the newspaper constructed an imagined geography dominated by regional connections. An online component visualizes these patterns and discusses the article”s digital foundation at

pp. 122–47 Read online >

State of the Field: Sports in American History

State of the Field: Sports History and the “Cultural Turn”

Seemingly difficult to define despite the magnitude of work on the subject, sports history takes its place within the Journal of American History’s state-of-the-field series. Providing both a brief overview of the history of the field as well as a wealth of bibliographic analysis, Amy Bass focuses on the centrality of cultural studies to recent sports scholarship, questioning whether it has enabled sports studies to gain a more visible legitimacy within the broader context of American history or if sports remains a relatively insular subdiscipline. Following Bass’s essay, Lisa Doris Alexander, Adrian Burgos Jr., Susan K. Cahn, Daniel A. Nathan, Randy Roberts, and Rob Ruck provide critical responses that probe the status of sports history, examining exactly where it fits within the field of history writ large.

pp. 148–72 Read online >

  • Sports History: What’s Next?
    Lisa Doris Alexander (pp. 173–75) Read Online >

  • Wait until Next Year: Sports History and the Quest for Respect
    Adrian Burgos Jr. (pp. 176–80) Read Online >

  • Turn, Turn, Turn: There Is a Reason (for Sports History)
    Susan K. Cahn (pp. 181–83) Read Online >

  • Sports History and Roberto Clemente: A Morality Tale and a Way Forward
    Daniel A. Nathan (pp. 184–83) Read Online >

  • “The Two-Fisted Testing Ground of Manhood”: Boxing and the Academy
    Randy Roberts (pp. 188–91) Read Online >

  • The Field of Sports History at Critical Mass
    Rob Ruck (pp. 192–94) Read Online >

  • The Last Word on the State of Sports History
    Amy Bass (pp. 195–99) Read Online >

Exhibition Reviews

  • Museum of disAbility History, by William S. Walker (pp. 200)
    Read online >

  • Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, by Sarah Yahm (pp. 203)
    Read online >

  • Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind, by Julia Sandy-Bailey (pp. 208)
    Read online >

  • First Ladies National Historic Site and Saxton McKinley House, by Karen Dunak (pp. 213)
    Read online >

  • Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, by Rick Beard (pp. 217)
    Read online >

Book Reviews

June 2014, Vol. 101 No. 1

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.

  • Alagona, After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California, by R. McGreggor Cawley
  • Andrews, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World, by Rebecca Goetz
  • Ashton, Hanukkah in America: A History, by Jeffrey Shandler
  • Baker, Curbing Campaign Cash: Henry Ford, Truman Newberry, and the Politics of Progressive Reform, by Douglas Craig
  • Bergland and Williams, eds., Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, by Laura McCall
  • Bergman, Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites, by James M. Lindgren
  • Blackman, Oklahoma’s Indian New Deal, by David W. Daily
  • Blanke and Steigerwald, eds., A Destiny of Choice? New Directions in American Consumer History, by Lendol G. Calder
  • Bloodworth, Losing the Center: The Decline of American Liberalism, 1968–1992, by Steven P. Miller
  • Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, by James R. Goff Jr.
  • Boyko, Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation, by Phillip E. Myers
  • Breitman and Lichtman, fdr and the Jews, by David Woolner
  • Broussard, African American Foreign Correspondents: A History, by Richard Junger
  • Brown, Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America, by Jeffrey C. Sanders
  • Brown, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters, by John Wills
  • Bruce, Earnestly Contending: Religious Freedom and Pluralism in Antebellum America, by Charles F. Irons
  • Brune and Wilson, eds., Disability and Passing: Blurring the Lines of Identity, by James Emmett Ryan
  • Byrd, Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution, by Eran Shalev
  • Cadava, Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland, by Timothy Bowman
  • Campbell, The Gateway Arch: A Biography, by Clarence Lang
  • Carson and Lounsbury, eds., The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg, by Clifton Ellis
  • Chapman, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam, by Van Nguyen-Marshall
  • Cheathem, Andrew Jackson, Southerner, by Matthew Warshauer
  • Cheng, Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War, by Susie Woo
  • Cohen and Snyder, eds., Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s, by Benjamin Houston
  • Conn, ed., To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government, by Gareth Davies
  • Connolly, Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790–2010, by Barbara Ryan
  • Correia, Properties of Violence: Law and Land Grant Struggle in Northern New Mexico, by Kathleen P. Chamberlain
  • Cottrol, The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere, by Alejandro de la Fuente
  • Cox, Segregated Soldiers: Military Training at Historically Black Colleges in the Jim Crow South, by D’Ann Campbell
  • Curtis, Gambling on Ore: The Nature of Metal Mining in the United States, 1860–1910, by James J. Rawls
  • Cushman, Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History, by Ariel Ron
  • David, Dunmore’s New World: The Extraordinary Life of a Royal Governor in Revolutionary America — with Jacobites, Counterfeiters, Land Schemes, Shipwrecks, Scalping, Indian Politics, Runaway Slaves, and Two Illegal Royal Weddings, by Albert H. Tillson Jr.
  • Devine, Henry Wallace’s 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism, by Ellen Schrecker
  • Devine, On Behalf of the Family Farm: Iowa Farm Women’s Activism since 1945, by Royden Loewen
  • Diner and Estraikh, eds., 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, by Henry L. Feingold
  • Dirck, Abraham Lincoln and White America, by David Zarefsky
  • Efford, German Immigrants, Race, and Citizenship in the Civil War Era, by Christian B. Keller
  • Etulain, Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War, by Shirley A. Leckie
  • Fagin, Assassination and Commemoration: JFK, Dallas, and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, by Michael L. Kurtz
  • Finnegan, A Deed So Accursed: Lynching in Mississippi and South Carolina, 1881–1940, by Walter T. Howard
  • Frederickson, Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South, by Wanda Rushing
  • Frydl, The Drug Wars in America, 1940–1973, by David T. Courtwright
  • Fuller, ed., The Election of 1860 Reconsidered, by Michael Pierson
  • Gerlach, Samuel Johnson of Stratford in New England, 1696–1772, by Robert J. Wilson III
  • Gillion, The Political Power of Protest: Minority Activism and Shifts in Public Policy, by Allan J. Lichtman
  • Gleeson, The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America, by David Emmons
  • Gobel and Rossell, eds., Commemoration in America: Essays on Monuments, Memorialization, and Memory, by Steven Conn
  • Gordon, ed., The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, vol. 6: An Awful Hush, 1895 to 1906, by Kathi Kern
  • Gragg, Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture, by John M. Findlay
  • Greason, Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey, by James Wolfinger
  • Greene, Evaluating Empire and Confronting Colonialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain, by Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy
  • Hadden and Minter, eds., Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History, by Steven P. Brown
  • Halliwell, Therapeutic Revolutions: Medicine, Psychiatry, and American Culture, 1945–1970, by Susan E. Myers-Shirk
  • Harris, Little White Houses: How the Postwar Home Constructed Race in America, by Matthew Gordon Lasner
  • Hart, Calvinism: A History, by Gary Scott Smith
  • Hayden, Kaye, Masur, Miller, O’Donovan, Rowland, and West, eds., Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867; series 3; vol. 2; Land and Labor, 1866–1867, by Donald Yacovone
  • Hayes, Slavery before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island’s Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651–1884, by Alexandra Chan
  • Heitner, Black Power tv, by Matt Delmont
  • Hess, Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign, by Michael B. Ballard
  • Holmes, Weavers of Dreams, Unite! Actors’ Unionism in Early Twentieth-Century America, by Paul Taillon
  • Hustwit, James J. Kilpatrick: Salesman for Segregation, by Stephanie Rolph
  • Immerman and Goedde, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War, by Noam Kochavi
  • Irwin, Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening, by Kathryn Hamilton Warren
  • Ivey, Radiance from Halcyon: A Utopian Experiment in Religion and Science, by Amy M. Hay
  • Jackson, Pastoral and Monumental: Dams, Postcards, and the American Landscape, by Jeffrey L. Meikle
  • Janney, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, by Brian Craig Miller
  • Johnson, Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America, by Jenny Barker-Devine
  • Kann, Taming Passion for the Public Good: Policing Sex in the Early Republic, by Rodney Hessinger
  • Kennedy, Cotton and Conquest: How the Plantation System Acquired Texas, by Carolyn Earle Billingsley
  • Kilcup, Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing, 1781–1924, by James Perrin Warren
  • Klein, A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II, by William L. O’Neill
  • Krauthamer, Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, by Clarissa W. Confer
  • Kusserow, Picturing Power: Portraiture and Its Uses in the New York Chamber of Commerce, by Anne A. Verplanck
  • Link, Brown, Ward, and Bone, eds., Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South, by Paul Quigley
  • Mabalon, Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California, by JoAnna Poblete
  • Marak and Tuennerman, At the Border of Empires: The Tohono O’odham, Gender, and Assimilation, by Geraldo Cadava
  • Marler, The Merchants’ Capital: New Orleans and the Political Economy of the Nineteenth-Century South, by Robert L. Paquette
  • Mazower, Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present, by Jussi Hanhimäki
  • McCrossen, Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life, by Carl Smith
  • McKenzie, Getting Physical: The Rise of Fitness Culture in America, by Elana Levine
  • McMahon, ed., The Cold War in the Third World, by Jessica M. Chapman
  • Mitoma, Human Rights and the Negotiation of American Power, by John Kane
  • Moore, Writing War: Soldiers Record the Japanese Empire, by Steven I. Levine
  • Moore, Empire on Display: San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, by John E. Findling
  • Morris-Crowther, The Political Activities of Detroit Clubwomen in the 1920s: A Challenge and a Promise, by Elaine S. Abelson
  • Murphy, Citizenship and the Origins of Women’s History in the United States, by Carolyn Eastman
  • Nance, Entertaining Elephants: Animal Agency and the Business of the American Circus, by Janet M. Davis
  • Neer, Napalm: An American Biography, by Mark Philip Bradley
  • Neufeld, ed., Spacefarers: Images of Astronauts and Cosmonauts in the Heroic Era of Spaceflight, by Kendrick Oliver
  • Newman, A New World of Labor: The Development of Slavery in the British Atlantic, by Kristen Block
  • Palmer, Through the Codes Darkly: Slave Law and Civil Law in Louisiana, by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
  • Pandey, A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States, by Rick Halpern
  • Pash, In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: The Americans Who Fought the Korean War, by Bruce Cumings
  • Pasley, The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy, by Todd Estes
  • Paulett, An Empire of Small Places: Mapping the Southeastern Anglo-Indian Trade, 1732–1795, by William L. Ramsey
  • Peel and Maudlin, eds., Transatlantic Traffic and (Mis)Translations, by Astrid Böger
  • Penny, Kindred by Choice: Germans and American Indians since 1800, by Quinn Slobodian
  • Pfeifer, ed., Lynching beyond Dixie: American Mob Violence outside the South, by Kidada Williams
  • Phillips, A Renegade Union: Interracial Organizing and Labor Radicalism, by Colin John Davis
  • Philpott, Vacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country, by Richard K. Popp
  • Piker, The Four Deaths of Acorn Whistler: Telling Stories in Colonial America, by Andrew Newman
  • Prosterman, Defining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City, by Ron Hayduk
  • Purnell, Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn, by Ronald H. Bayor
  • Quist and Birkner, eds., James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War, by Michael Pierson
  • Ragosta, Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed, by Tara Thompson Strauch
  • Ramold, Across the Divide: Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front, by Chandra Manning
  • Ransby, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, by Merline Pitre
  • Repousis, Greek-American Relations from Monroe to Truman, by Barbara Reeves-Ellington
  • Richardson, Howard Andrew Knox: Pioneer of Intelligence Testing at Ellis Island, by Jeanne D. Petit
  • Roeber, Hopes for Better Spouses: Protestant Marriage and Church Renewal in Early Modern Europe, India, and North America, by Jan Stievermann
  • Rohrbough, Rush to Gold: The French and the California Gold Rush, 1848–1854, by Richard Stillson
  • Rondinone, Friday Night Fighter: Gaspar “Indio” Ortega and the Golden Age of Television Boxing, by Theresa E Runstedtler
  • Rubin, Tears of Repentance: Christian Indian Identity and Community in Colonial Southern New England, by Erik R. Seeman
  • Ryan, Faithful Passages: American Catholicism in Literary Culture, 1844–1931, by R. Scott Appleby
  • Salafia, Slavery’s Borderland: Freedom and Bondage along the Ohio River, by Andrea S. Watkins
  • San Miguel, Chicana/o Struggles for Education: Activism in the Community, by Brian D. Behnken
  • Sartain, Borders of Equality: The naacp and the Baltimore Civil Rights Struggle, 1914–1970, by Bruce Thompson
  • Scanlon, The Pro-War Movement: Domestic Support for the Vietnam War and the Making of Modern American Conservatism, by Jonathan Schoenwald
  • Scharff, The Women Jefferson Loved, by Charlene M. Boyer Lewis
  • Schmidli, The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere: Human Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina, by Itai Nartzizenfield Sneh
  • Schulten, Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America, by Martin Brückner
  • Shapiro, The Lure of the North Woods: Cultivating Tourism in the Upper Midwest, by Mark Harvey
  • Shapiro, Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools, by Edward J. Larson
  • Shaw, W. E. B. Dubois and The Souls of Black Folk, by Axel R. Schäfer
  • Slap and Smith, eds., This Distracted and Anarchical People: New Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War–Era North, by Melinda Lawson
  • Soll, Empire of Water: An Environmental and Political History of the New York City Water Supply, by John T. Cumbler
  • Steward and McGovern, The Fenians: Irish Rebellion in the North Atlantic World, 1858–1876, by Caleb Richardson
  • Summitt, Contested Waters: An Environmental History of the Colorado River, by Christopher Morris
  • Swindall, Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art, by Shana L. Redmond
  • Thorndike, Their Fair Share: Taxing the Rich in the Age of fdr, by Dennis S. Ippolito
  • Thuesen, Greater Than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina, 1919–1965, by Scott Baker
  • Tompkins, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century, by Etsuko Taketani
  • Tsesis, For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence, by Martin Flaherty
  • Umoja, We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, by Zoe Colley
  • van Minnen and Berg, eds., The U.S. South and Europe: Transatlantic Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, by Michael O’Brien
  • Verma, Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama, by Jason Loviglio
  • Walker, A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum, by Teresa Bergman
  • Weiner, Race and Rights: Fighting Slavery and Prejudice in the Old Northwest,1830–1870, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
  • Weinstein, The Pathological Family: Postwar America and the Rise of Family Therapy, by Janice Brockley
  • Wesley, The Politics of Faith during the Civil War, by Daniel W. Stowell
  • Whisenhunt, Utopian Movements and Ideas of the Great Depression: Dreamers, Believers, and Madmen, by Hamilton Cravens
  • Williams, From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago, by Andrew Witt
  • Williams, City of Ambition: fdr, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York, by Jameson W. Doig
  • Willumson, Iron Muse: Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad, by Bonnie Yochelson
  • Wilson, Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation, by Sarah McNair Vosmeier
  • Wolff, Western Union and the Creation of the American Corporate Order, 1845–1893, by Jonathan Levy
  • Woodroofe, “Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden”: The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente, by Robert Strong
  • Woods, Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the cia, by David S. McCarthy
  • Wu, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era, by Avital Bloch
  • Yellin, Racism in the Nation’s Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson’s America, by James Borchert

Movie Reviews

Digital History Reviews

  • The David Walker Memorial Project, by Kabria Baumgartner (pp. 368) Read online >
  • An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals ca. 1490–1920, by Lynn Matluck Brooks (p. 369) Read online >
  • Mapping Texts, by Janice L. Reiff (p. 371) Read online >
  • Playing House: Homemaking for Children, by Anya Jabour (p. 371) Read online >
  • Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb, by James Wolfinger (p. 372) Read online >
  • Communism in Washington State History and Memory, by Michael Epple (p. 373) Read online >

Letters to the Editor


Recent Scholarship

View “Recent Scholarship” listing online >

Recent Scholarship is available as a searchable database, Recent Scholarship Online >

cover image

On the cover:

“The Goblin Swamp,” an illustration from a Virginia plantation romance, portrays the slaveholder’s view of the millpond as a space of nostalgia but also of racial disorder. Reprinted from John Pendleton Kennedy, Swallow Barn; Or, A Sojourn in the Old Dominion (New York, 1852), 468. Courtesy American Antiquarian Society. See Daniel Rood, “Bogs of Death: Slavery, the Brazilian Flour Trade, and the Mystery of the Vanishing Millpond in Antebellum Virginia,” 19.

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