The Pioneer Americanists: Early Collectors, Dealers, and Bibliographers. J. Kevin Graffagnino, Terese M. Austin, Jayne Ptolemy, and Brian Leigh Dunnigan, eds.

Amy Hildreth Chen

Abstract

Editors J. Kevin Graffagnino, Terese M. Austin, Jayne Ptolemy, and Brian Leigh Dunnigan seek to turn Americanists’ attention back to the origins of their field, before the titans of twentieth-century industry built our country’s major collections with the wealth of the industrial revolution. By devoting a book to the earliest collectors, dealers, and bibliographers of Americana, the editors argue that the field was already motivated by nostalgia; they assert that embedded in this history of bookmen is a narrative of how “middle and upper-class America: white, Protestant filiopietistic, and male” chose recent history, an intriguing insight in the time of “Make America Great Again” (11).

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