they love to picture Pittsburg as a volcano vomiting forth
sensations.
—Bulletin,11March1905
INTRODUCTION
G
‘‘Strenuous America is the place for work—hard work and lots of i
So declared the Bulletin, a magazine of Pittsburgh arts and society,
1905. The notion that the United States was the proper home for ha
work at the turn of the century found voice in many places beyond t
humming city of industry in southwestern Pennsylvania. Popular write
clergymen, and politicians all stressed the importance of work to t
global success of American business and culture. The traditional wo
ethic that had guided the American middle class through the nineteen
century held that devotion to hard work strengthened one’s charact
improved one’s social standing, and guaranteed the survival of the nucle
family. Hard work was home in the ‘‘strenuous’’ America of the la
nineteenth century and early twentieth because American men co
sciously worked to make it so, battling specters of feminization a
modern softness through sermons on industriousness, popular sporti
activities, and campaigns for hardened primitiveness. The fact that
Pittsburgh journal declared work to be an American possession wou
have surprised no one in 1905. If the United States cultivated a love of ha
work at the turn of the century, then Pittsburgh perfected it. Pittsbur
seemed a particularly fitting place in which to prove that hard work ga
Previous Page Next Page