Postal Age The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America

ISBN-10: 0226327213
ISBN-13: 9780226327211
Edition: 2007
Authors: David M. Henkin
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Description: Many of us may not realize that what we now call snail mail was once just as revolutionary as e-mail and text messages are today. As David M. Henkin argues inThe Postal Age, a burgeoning postal network initiated major cultural shifts during the  More...

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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/15/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 238
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Many of us may not realize that what we now call snail mail was once just as revolutionary as e-mail and text messages are today. As David M. Henkin argues inThe Postal Age, a burgeoning postal network initiated major cultural shifts during the nineteenth century, laying the foundation for the interconnectedness that now defines our ever-evolving world of telecommunications. This fascinating history traces these shifts from their beginnings in the mid-1800s, when cheaper postage, mass literacy, and migration combined to make the long-established postal service a more integral and viable part of everyday life. Through original correspondence and public discussions from the time period, Henkin tells the story of how Americans adjusted to a new world of long-distance correspondence, crowded post offices, junk mail, valentines, and dead letters. Throughout,The Postal Agepaints a vibrant picture of a society where possibilities proliferated for personal and impersonal communications. “The Postal Ageis engagingly written, rich with anecdotes and observations that dramatize and illuminate the manifold facets of 'postal culture' in the antebellum United States. . . . a nuanced view of the complicated relationships between technologies and systems and social forms.The Postal Ageis a major contribution to American social history and to the history of communications in general.”--Geoffrey Nunberg, author ofGoing Nucular: Language, Politics, and Culture in Controversial Times

David Henkin is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Joining a Network
Becoming Postal: A Communications Revolution in Antebellum America
Mailable Matters: From News to Mail
Playing Post Office: Mail in Urban Space
Postal Intimacy
Embracing Opportunities: The Construction of the Personal Letter
Precious as Gold: Mobility and Family in the Gold Rush and Civil War
Mass Mailings: Valentines, Junk Mail, and Dead Letters
Epilogue
Notes
Index

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