A world the printers made : print culture in New York, 1783-1830
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] My dissertation examines the New York publishing industry from the end of the American Revolution to the Age of Jackson. The dissertation analyzes the set of economic relationships and shared cultural practices that bound printers, booksellers, and their readers together and provided the arena in which both political debate and literary production took place. More specifically, the dissertation looks at the ways in which knowledge circulated across space and time. I argue that if the cultural matrix of printed texts served as the primary legitimating vehicle for political debate and literary expression, then scholars need to understand that these texts were produced and used by real people in real places with actual interests and affiliations that influenced their work. Second, I also explore the processes by which New York publishers extended into distant markets and argue that, as they took advantage of existing communication and transportation channels, early publishers became cultural brokers as they created a networked nation of print. In so doing, I focus on the social and economic organization of the industry in an effort to chart the world made by printers: from the printing houses where artisans made the physical impressions the "republic of letters" was built out of, to the public and private spaces in which the information was displayed, shipped, bought, discussed, and discarded. The dissertation thus reveals the ways in which printers and publishers in the early republic shrewdly created a national print culture by critically examining the commercial and political distribution networks that began taking shape after 1783.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.