turesque features of Pittsburg by either poet or artist.
‘‘that’s work, and that’s what
people like to watch’’
Few observers questioned the appeal of the male working body
Pittsburgh in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. The n
ture of that appeal was a constant matter of debate. For the Chamb
of Commerce member William Scaife, the grandeur of working bod
formed the common thread of civilizations past and present. For t
Pittsburgh Survey writer Crystal Eastman, the condition of working bo
ies exemplified in eloquent fashion the reckless logic of industrial ca
talism. For the artificial leg manufacturer John Rowley, the mechan
of working bodies made them conveniently adjustable. The Pittsbur
worker’s body was both text and spectacle at the turn of the century, us
alternately to o√er instruction and pleasure, polemic and horror to t
city’s residents, visitors, and observers. The male worker’s body provid
a series of narratives during this time of jarring transformation, sugge
ing ways of finding continuity amid change, addressing dire problems
life and death, and reasserting progress as the hallmark of the domina
civic culture. When the body became a highly portable symbol of t
status of the city, however, it also became divorced from the peop
whose work remained hidden in mills and mines. Writers and researc
Previous Page Next Page