1840s

Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South

By Jennifer R. Green

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"This book argues that military education was an important institution in the development of the southern middle class as a regional group and as part of the national middle class in the late antebellum years. It explores class formation, professionalization, and social mobility in the 1840s and 1850s, using this data to define the middle class on a national level, while also identifying regionally specific characteristics of the emerging southern middle class."

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Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science

Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head.  Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain.  Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science.  

What an amazing story!  The pictures and illustrations add to the narrative, and the cover photograph of his skull is very thought-provoking.  Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story, by John Fleischman, approaches Phineas’s life after the accident from a scientific and psychological viewpoint. Fleischman includes interviews with people who knew Gage before his accident as well as after and observed the changes in his behavior.  The author also presents notes from the doctors who treated him over the eleven years following his accident. It is an amazing story of survival and the resilience of the human brain. Who would have thought that anyone could have survived even a little while--let alone talk, walk and function after such an event? 

Thoreau's Maine Woods

By Henry David Thoreau and Dan Tobyne, photographer

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Beginning in 1847, Henry David Thoreau made three trips to the mostly unexplored Maine woods. Along the way he recorded his observations on the wildlife (flora and fauna), the weather, terrain, and on the nature of the people he met along the way, including loggers, rivermen, and his Abnaki guides. In Thoreau's Maine Woods, photographer Dan Tobyne captures the essence of the Maine Thoreau discovered and described in his book. The combination of short excerpts with stunning imagery carries Thoreau's work to a higher level, presenting it in both glowing words and pictures.

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Dead Certainties: Unwarranted Speculations

By Simon Schama

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"…Schama reconstructs -- and at times reinvents -- two ambiguous deaths: the first, that of General James Wolfe at the battle of Quebec in 1759; the second, in 1849, that of George Parkman, an eccentric Boston brahmin whose murder by an impecunious Harvard professor in 1849 was a grisly reproach to the moral sanctity of his society. Out of these stories -- with all of their bizarre coincidences and contradictions -- Schama creates a dazzling and supremely vital work of historical imagination."

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Frauenliebe und Leben

By Robert Schumann

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The year 1840 has been labeled as his "year of song", which includes this song cycle, as well as three more song cycles, two "Liederkries's," and "Dicherliebe". "Frauenliebe und Leben"(A Women's Life and Love)depicts different periods in a women's life: love; marriage; child birth; and sudden death of her husband. This is quite prophetic, as it seems to be a mirror of what happened between his love and life with his wife, Clara. There are many other independent songs including one of his minor song cycles titled "Funf Lieder." The CD has a pamphlet with German to English translations. Mezzo-Soprano Anne Sofie von Otter's exquisite and dazzling interpretation of these songs are unparalleled. Schumann quotation - "The painter turns a poem into a painting. The musician sets a picture to music."

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Frederic Edwin Church and the National Landscape

By Franklin Kelly

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An analysis of Church's paintings between 1845 and 1860, culminating in his "Twilight in the Wilderness." The author posits that these paintings "address matters of pressing importance and interest to the American nation."

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Small Beauties: The Journey of Darcy Heart O'Hara

By Elvira Woodruff

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Darcy Heart O'Hara, a young Irish girl who neglects her chores to observe the beauties of nature and everyday life, shares "family memories" with her homesick parents and siblings after the O'Haras are forced to emigrate to America in the 1840s.

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