Category Archives: Document

Labor’s Many Robots

As I work through my book manuscript, I am coming across a rich crop of new robot images to supplement my earlier article Why Do Robots Rebel?  As it happens, the journal Labor Age was a frequent publisher and re-publisher … Continue reading

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The more things change…

As a parent of two Chicago Public Schools 4th graders, I’ve had a crash course this year in urban austerity.  Teachers are trying their best, but with 31 students per class, the school library effectively closed, and district mandated testing, … Continue reading

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Sex, Captions, and Digital History

Exhibit-making does not rate as highly as article- and book-writing in orthodox academic history.  That’s an unfortunate fact of life.  But as I wrapped up a long overdue online exhibit project this past summer, I was reminded of the things … Continue reading

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Document: The Specter of the Robot

H. Dubreuil, Robots or Men?  A French Workman’s Experience in American Industry, translated by Frances and Mason Merrill (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1930), pp. 182-184.  The author worked in several U.S. factories during 1927 and 1928, including the … Continue reading

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When Corporate PR Meets Social History

File this under “while you were on summer vacation.”  The Newberry Library released a fascinating photo collection under the deceptively plain title “Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.” It is a selection of some 3,000 black and … Continue reading

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History in the Mix

We’ve all been watching and reading the denunciations, from the right and the left, of Wall Street and Obama’s alleged complicity in enriching the rich.  History has become something of a motif in these “debates.”  For instance, conservatives claim that … Continue reading

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An awakening as sudden as it was violent

From James Maurer, It Can Be Done (New York:  The Rand School, 1938). Learning to Read Working beside me in the machine shop was a journeyman named Thomas King.  I learned later that he was one of the original organizers … Continue reading

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Reviving and Gentrifying Bughouse

Tomorrow is the annual Bughouse Square Debates.  And so I end my series of historical documents with a few snippets from early efforts to revive the square’s free speech tradition. The Soapboxes of Yesteryear, June 27, 1971, Chicago Tribune, p. … Continue reading

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Soapboxing on Madison Street, July 1922

Nels Anderson, DOCUMENT 60:  Notes on an Afternoon’s Series of Talks on the Soap Box on Madison Street During a Sunday in July, 1922, no less than twenty men spoke on the box at the corner of Jefferson and Madison … Continue reading

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What the Hobo Reads, c. 1922

Daniel Horsley, “What the Hobo Reads” When I write of the “hobo” I wish to define what I mean by the term.  I don’t consider a man a hobo who is down in the rut because of his own licentiousness, … Continue reading

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Proprietor of the hobo bookstore

Nels Anderson, DOCUMENT 22:  Marxian Socialist, Soap-boxer, Dogmatic and Undiplomatic, Would Educate “Slaves” Daniel Horsley is a book seller. His establishment, located at 1237 West Madison street, is the hobo book store, if there is one in the city.  Everything … Continue reading

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Bug Club vs. University of Chicago, 1921

Chicago, July 7. To the Editor of the Tribune: In direct contrast to the wonderful University of Chicago on the Midway with its wonderful buildings of stone exists the Bug club of Chicago, situated in Washington park, without any stone … Continue reading

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