Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures

Cindy S. Aron

in Working at Play

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195142341
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849024 | DOI:
Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures

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This chapter charts the foundation of resorts in the United States, the development of the first American vacationing public, and the debate over leisure that emerged toward the middle decades of the 19th century. It explores how elite Americans sought health and pleasure at springs and seashore and how more middling folks used religious camp meetings as sources of both recreation and spiritual restoration. Significantly, neither of these groups would have used the word “vacation” to characterize their ventures. Only in the mid-century were vacations used to describe such journeys—at roughly the same time that ministers, doctors, and journalists began to devote considerable attention to the problems of leisure and amusement. The debate that ensued echoed persistent and enduring tensions within American culture over whether, how much, and under what conditions men and women might allow themselves time away from work for the purpose of recreation.

Keywords: United States; resorts; vacationing; leisure; recreation; 19th century; health; pleasure; elite; vacations

Chapter.  13404 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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