Labour and Popular Print Culture

Kathryn J. Oberdeck and Frank Tobias Higbie

in The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199234066
Published online March 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191803352 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture

Labour and Popular Print Culture

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter examines the participation of the working class in various genres and forms of popular print culture in the United States in the period spanning the Civil War and the early twentieth century. More specifically, it considers how labour was represented in commercial media, how these narratives were used by working people, and how the working class produced more direct self-expression in the labour and immigrant press. The chapter first looks at the popularity of story papers and dime novels among working-class readers after the Civil War before turning to the weekly National Police Gazette and its readership. It then discusses the production of print material for religious publications, along with the journalism, activism, and readership of labour and immigrant presses. The chapter also describes the the sites of working-class reading before concluding with an assessment of workers as writers and subjects of popular print culture.

Keywords: working class; popular print culture; United States; labour; immigrant press; story papers; dime novels; National Police Gazette; readership; religious publications

Chapter.  8277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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