Reading the Accidental Archive

This was an interesting read about material culture and how it influences history. Sometimes there are not written records but these artifacts can piece history together. The author writes about a home in Saint Louis that his wife and him lived in. This home was inhabited by a family who lived there in the early 20th century and left some items behind. The goal of the article for the author was to connect the artifacts left behind to a larger picture of urban public culture. There are many items that we can learn from the artifacts about St. Louis but also a larger culture. People who study material culture try to triangulate sources to put pieces together. The author has looked at many sources for this study from city records, fire records and marriage records. The author discusses the embedded artifacts of how an artifact contains and artifact. Saint Louis at the time was one of the 4th most populous city in America. The city had filled up with many immigrants from Russia, Poland and other Eastern Europe countries. Many moved into tight housing. Education and schools were very big in Saint Louis and in the neighborhoods. The area around the Tower Grove Park had diverse families but no African American families. Until the 1960s the neighbor was mostly white. These families had deep tries to the city and the institutions in there. There was a diverse working class. The people in Tower Grove had to provide many of manual labor needed for the city. The houses in Tower Grove reflected the time of how of the excitement and the nerves of an emerging middle class. An example of an artifact is a Christmas package. It was listed of clothing item because most of it was made in the home. There were some ads in the article as one. One that said the mask ball was to be postponed. This is a shift to having time for relaxation and not just for the upper class. The Aufderheide represented this in their house. A big thing for the family and others was that food should not be wasted. The German people in Saint Louis left a huge culture impact at the time.

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