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Rush Rhees Library

Library Rd
Rochester, NY, US

Category: Labor Education

Used in the following map:

Rochester Labor History eMap

During the years Herbert G. Gutman taught at the University of Rochester, 1967-1972, he played a major role in establishing Labor History as a field of American historical study. Influenced by E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class, Gutman studied American workers' resistance to the demands of the industrial regime and its work ethic that developed between 1815 and 1919, focusing especially on the successive waves of new immigrants who continually redefined the structure and culture of America's working class. Gutman developed his ideas in articles, papers and reviews and through discussion with colleagues and students, formulating them in the title essay of Work, Culture & Society in Industrializing America (1977). Gutman's contribution to American history continued after he left Rochester. In 1973 he co-edited Many Pasts, a collection of readings in American social history; in 1977 he published Slavery and the Numbers Game, attacking the methods and conclusions of Time on the Cross, a controversial work on the economics of slavery; that same year he completed The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, refuting Daniel P. Moynihan's theses on the historic disfunctionality of black families. Two important publications followed Gutman's early death in 1985 at age 56: Power and Culture (1987), a collection of essays, many unpublished, and Who Built America? Working People and the Nation's Economy, Politics, Culture and Society (1989), produced by the American Social History Project under Gutman's direction - perhaps the most useful resource on the making of the American working class.