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Book Cover for: Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, Helen Tangires

Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America

Helen Tangires

Originally published in 2003. In Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America Helen Tangires examines the role of the public marketplace--social and architectural--as a key site in the development of civic culture in America. More than simply places for buying and selling food, Tangires explains, municipally owned and operated markets were the common ground where citizens and government struggled to define the shared values of the community. Public markets were vital to civic policy and reflected the profound belief in the moral economy--the effort on the part of the municipality to maintain the social and political health of its community by regulating the ethics of trade in the urban marketplace for food.

Tangires begins with the social, architectural, and regulatory components of the public market in the early republic, when cities embraced this ancient system of urban food distribution. By midcentury, the legalization of butcher shops in New York City and the incorporation of market house companies in Pennsylvania challenged the system and hastened the deregulation of this public service. Some cities demolished their marketing facilities or loosened restrictions on the food trades in an effort to deal with the privatization movement. However, several decades of experience with dispersed retailers, suburban slaughterhouses, and food transported by railroad proved disastrous to the public welfare, prompting cities and federal agencies to reclaim this urban civic space.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publish Date: Mar 24th, 2020
  • Pages: 292
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.66in - 0.95lb
  • EAN: 9781421437422
  • Categories: United States - 19th CenturyIndustries - RetailingGeneral

About the Author

Tangires, Helen: - Helen Tangires is Administrator of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Praise for this book
This well-illustrated book raises the intriguing possibility that municipal markets worked more like the neoclassical ideal than the unregulated markets ideologues hail.
--Keith D. Revell, Journal of American History
An important and useful introduction to an understudied fixture in the history of urban economic life, governance and landscape.
--Joshua Lupkin, Journal of the Early Republic
Tangire's work represents a major contribution to the understanding of social life in American cities.
--Richard G. Miller, History: Reviews of New Books
The intriguing tale Tangires tells concerns, chiefly, the eclipse of the public market in the interest of the evolution of both private shops and megastores.
--Margaretta M. Lovell, Common-Place
For the first time we have in this book a historical overview of the public market place in America.
--Michal Sernoff, Urban Morphology
Fills a gap in the literature of early urban retailing.
--Terrence H. Witkowski, Winterthur Portfolio
Public Markets and Civil Cultures undoubtedly stands as the definitive study of the American public market.
--Martin J. Hershock, Historian
Public Markets and Civic Culture brings to light the importance of markets in nineteenth-century urban life.
--Brian K. Geiger, Material Culture
Tangires uses a wealth of sources in this fascinating study of a topic only recently getting the attention it deserves . . . Highly recommended.
--Choice