Info Mine: a distinctly dusty dissertation

Coogan, Timothy. 1992. The forging of new mill town: North and South Adams, Massachusetts, 1780-1860. Dissertation, New York: New York University.

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Coogan writes his dissertation on the history of the Adams area of Massachusetts in Jacksonian America. He makes a comparative analysis of the Northeastern factory communities and their paternalistic arrangements such as boardinghouses, management policies, millwork experience and interpersonal relations. He traces the town’s agrarian and Yankee roots to its transformation into an industrial town with a large Catholic immigrant population. This dissertation was extremely lengthy with a plethora of annotations and footnotes. It follows more general trends than coverage of specific events. It was not clogged with too much academic jargon, but still not an easy read. This source is useful for observing social and economic trends in North Adams during the early part of the nineteenth century.

Wow. I was not expecting much from this extremely long dissertation written by a guy in New York nearly thirty years ago, but I found so much information. ¬†We already knew a lot about the general socio-economic live of the Irish Immigrants, but it is nice to have concrete confirmation. He also included some very helpful facts, figures, and sources. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some of the sources he used and mine them for more information about some interesting events I found. For instance, an Irish tunnel worker was found beaten to death in the Hoosac Tunnel in the 1860s as tension in the town rose due to increasing immigration and strike activity, but Coogan doesn’t say who he was or if his killer was ever found. A man’s murder was reduced to an interesting factoid in parentheses. I find this story very sad, and now I want to discover more.

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