71 episodes

Podcast by Hagley Museum and Library

Stories from the Stacks Hagley Museum and Library

    • Education

Podcast by Hagley Museum and Library

    Broadcasting Consensus: Radio & Free Enterprise with Taylor Currie

    Broadcasting Consensus: Radio & Free Enterprise with Taylor Currie

    American educators in 1940s classrooms eagerly played corporate propaganda for their students. The source, Dupont’s Cavalcade of America, was a mid-twentieth century radio program designed to promote the values of free enterprise, productivity, & consumerism to the public through the medium of historical drama. Teachers introduced the program to classrooms to supplement lessons in the American past, and its fair historical accuracy made it potentially useful as a teaching tool. However, the program came with a heavy dose of messaging meant to promote a “liberal consensus” of corporate and government unity and competency in the face of social and political challenges.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, Taylor Currie, graduate student at Queen’s University, discusses how she approached her project, how she discovered her source base at Hagley, and how she interprets the material to suit her research agenda. Attempting to trace the long history of what she terms the “project of liberal consensus,” Currie identified corporate sponsored radio programming as a key source. As a prime example of the genre, Cavalcade of America became the focus of her research.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Cavalcade of America, Better Living Magazine, & advertising tear sheet collections, Currie discovered the production of Cavalcade of America, and its usefulness as an instrument to promote the liberal consensus. The vision forwarded was one of America as a bastion of liberty and innovation, and of corporate and government leaders as steadfastly guarding its values. The program, sponsored by the DuPont company, consisted of dramatized vignettes of historical events and figures, bookend with advertisements for DuPont products crafted to sound like profiles in science and technology destined to uplift humanity.

    To support her use of Hagley Library collections, Currie received an Exploratory Research Grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, click here, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview and production by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: Cavalcade of America advertisement, 1940, AVD_1985259_03_07_01, Cavalcade of America photographs, (Accession 1985.259), Audiovisual Collections & Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

    • 14 min
    Şerefe: The Culture & Regulation of Alcohol in Turkey with Kyle Evered

    Şerefe: The Culture & Regulation of Alcohol in Turkey with Kyle Evered

    Attitudes toward intoxication can be unstable. The government of Turkey, for example, within a single generation went from producing alcohol and promoting its consumption as civil and modern, to restricting the consumption of alcohol and prohibiting its advertisement, right down to cellphone ringtones that sound like beer bottles opening. A culture once known for its Bektashi Sufis and Janissary soldiers, both famous for enjoying alcohol, now faces increasing pressure to dry out. This remarkable turnaround is indicative of the ways in which societies regulate alcohol by cultural norms and legal statues that are all subject to change.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, historical geographer Kyle Evered, associate professor at Michigan State University, discusses the culture and regulation of alcohol in Turkey, from the late Ottoman Empire through the early Republican period and up to the present day. Religion, ethnic & sectarian identity, and political ideals all played a role in shaping attitudes toward alcohol. While the Ottomans tolerated alcohol, the early Turkish republic positively promoted it, while the twenty-first century rise of the AKP (Justice & Development Party) has led to increasing restrictions on alcohol in the name of tradition and public health.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Seagram Collections, Dr. Evered discovered that Turkish alcohol producers, such as the global firm Efes Beverage, face similar pressures as did North American firms during prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Strategies deployed by Seagram in attempting to remain economically viable in the face of prohibition, included retooling and relocation of production facilities, and making concerted efforts to push back against the regulatory regime. By studying the Seagram experience, Dr. Evered gained new perspective with which to compare the regulation of alcohol in Turkey.

    To support his use of Hagley Library collections, Dr. Evered received an Exploratory Research Grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, visit www.hagley.org/research/programs/stories-stacks, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview by Michael Forino. Produced by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: From the cover of Nation’s Business, August 1921, nationsbiz_081921, Nation’s Business (f HF1.N38), Published Collections Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

    • 37 min
    Selling Irish: How the American Market Shaped the Image of a Nation with Marion Casey

    Selling Irish: How the American Market Shaped the Image of a Nation with Marion Casey

    Leprechauns have hocked Irish goods to American consumers for generations. When one of the wee folk appeared on a bottle of Irish whisky, its familiar associations marked the drink as an authentic product of an antique culture for the American consumer. From the Blarney Stone to the shamrock, symbols laden with Irish associations in the American mind have proved useful marketing tools for businesses that sought to leverage the value of the word “Irish” in the American marketplace.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, historian of the Irish-American experience Marion Casey, professor at the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, discusses the commercial use of Irish culture to sell goods to American consumers. The Irish people possessed an idea of Ireland and its identity that different from that held in the popular American mind. This forced Irish-American businesses to leverage popular preconceptions of Ireland as quaint, natural, and antique, even as they sought to reorient the Irish economy toward industrial participation in global exchange.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Seagram Collections, and World’s Fair Collections, Dr. Casey discovered that Americans interpreted familiarity as authenticity when evaluating the Irish associations of a product. Use in the marketplace of tropes of Irishness, however far removed from genuine Irish culture, reinforced preexisting stereotypes and misconceptions. The power and pervasiveness of marketing images then crowded out other images and associations with Ireland and its people in the popular imagination. New modes of media transmission have not altered this pattern, but rather enhanced it, transmitting and amplifying old errors.

    To support her use of Hagley Library collections, Dr. Casey received an Exploratory Research Grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, go to www.hagley.org, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview by Benjamin Spohn. Produced by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: Composite of two images. “Irish village, Midway, North side Donegal at World’s Columbian Exposition,” 1893, 20090226_025, & “Whisky in bottles and barrels, Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia,” 1876, AVD_2003_255_03_B_16B_01, Audiovisual Collections & Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

    • 17 min
    Programming Health: Early Bio-Medical Engineering & Computer Diagnosis with Andrew Lea

    Programming Health: Early Bio-Medical Engineering & Computer Diagnosis with Andrew Lea

    In the 1950s, Vladimir K. Zworykin, an engineer recently retired from research at RCA, looked at the rising cost of health care and the shortage of medical personnel in America, and decided to do something about it. His solution was to apply computer engineering techniques to the problems of health care and medical diagnosis. To do so, Zworykin established an interdisciplinary research group of engineers, statisticians, and physicians, and tasked them with developing computer programs capable of aiding medical diagnosis.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, Andrew Lea, PhD candidate in the history of science and medicine at the University of Oxford, discusses the work of Zworykin and company, tracing the origins of the push for bio-medical computing, its uneven reception in the medical world, and the unfolding legacy the movement has left. The Zworykin project focused on hematology, and worked on diagnostic software to assist the identification of blood diseases. Translating a vast and incomplete body of organic conceptions of disease into objective, numerical, and standardized concepts legible to machines proved to be an almost insuperable challenge. Paper technologies, such as the Cornell Medical Index, that standardized medical data gathering, aided computerization.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Vladimir K. Zworykin papers, and the David Sarnoff Research Center records, Lea discovered that the advent of computer-aided diagnosis elicited mixed reactions from the medical profession. The first demonstration of the technology, which took place in 1957 at the RCA labs in Camden, NJ, sparked decades of debate over the art versus the science of medicine. Does computerization dehumanize health care, or does it rationalize and thereby improve health care? Is there a need for diagnostic programming when the majority of health care involves not diagnosis but ongoing disease management? Is human cognition reducible to computerized functions, or do computers undermine the clinical authority of the physician? Initially debated in the twentieth century, these questions continue to shape the twenty-first-century conversation about health care.

    To support his use of Hagley Library collections, Lea received a Henry Belin du Pont research grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, go to www.hagley.org, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview by Amrys Williams. Produced by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: “Two of RCA Victor's famous staff of television research engineers, Dr. V.K. Zworykin (left) and E.W. Engstrom, examine a new piece of equipment at the Camden Laboratories.” Television, 1945-1950, PC20110303_456, Box 46, Chamber of Commerce of the United States photographs & audiovisual materials, Series II. Nation’s Biusiness photographs (Accession 1993.230.II), Audiovisual Collections & Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

    • 27 min
    Father & Sons: How the du Pont Family Went into Business, with Roma Beaufret

    Father & Sons: How the du Pont Family Went into Business, with Roma Beaufret

    Coming to America to start a new life is filled with challenges, even for the wealthy and well-connected. When the du Pont family crossed the Atlantic, they sought a new beginning in a land of opportunity. Burdened by sibling rivalries and divergent ideas about how best to make their fortune, the family compensated with dedication to one another and a boatload of capital invested by social and economic elites in France. Once landed, the du Ponts set to work figuring out how to remake themselves into Americans, and how to return a profit.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, Roma Beaufret, master’s student at L'École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, discusses the early history of the du Pont family’s business ventures. With a focus on the relationship between business practice and family intimacy, Beaufret seeks to understand the ways the du Ponts brought new ideals of economic and scientific rationality with them to America, and how they worked together to put them into practice.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Winterthur manuscript collection of du Pont family records, Beaufret discovered that the du Pont family suffered numerous reversals of fortune before stumbling upon a business plan that could turn a profit. Pierre Samuel wanted to acquire land and found a settler colony. The speculation lost a fortune. Victor Marie wanted to serve commercial links between France and North America, but failed to make it work. Finally, Eleuthere Irene applied his scientific education to the problem, and began manufacturing gunpowder in mills on the Brandywine River. When the young company won a contract to sell powder to the U.S. government, thanks in part to friendly relations between the du Ponts and noted Francophile Thomas Jefferson, the family began to enjoy a return on their effort, and to repay their outstanding debts.

    To support the use of Hagley Library collections, the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society provides research grants and fellowships. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, go to www.hagley.org, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview and production by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: Composite of three du Pont family portraits, Eleuthère Iréné (1969_2_0961), Pierre Samuel (1969_2_1841), & Victor Marie (1969_2_3366), Audiovisual Collections & Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

    • 12 min
    Give & Take: Private Faith & Public Charity in America with Andrew Jungclaus

    Give & Take: Private Faith & Public Charity in America with Andrew Jungclaus

    There are many reasons to give to charity: convictions of religious faith, values of service to others, and plain old greed. Charities can serve the public good, but they can also serve personal interests at the same time. In the twentieth century, some affluent Americans turned to philanthropy with mixed motivations. Faith and values mattered to them, but so too did maintaining control over their fortunes, and burnishing their public images. Giving with one hand allowed them to take with the other.

    In this episode of Stories from the Stacks, scholar of religion Andrew Jungclaus, PhD candidate at Columbia University, discusses the development of major secular charities in the twentieth-century United States, and the private motivations that drove their wealthy and powerful founders to build philanthropic institutions. Jungclaus suggests that before the 1930s, American philanthropy had a small-scale, church-based orientation, and that the “secular behemoths” of modern American charity, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, Eli Lilly Endowment, and Henry Luce Foundation, grew in part out of a reaction against the increasing involvement of the state in wealth redistribution and the provision of social services.

    Using Hagley Library collections, including the Pew family records, Jungclaus discovered that early life experiences exerted powerful influence over the ways philanthropists understood the purpose and meaning of charitable giving. J. Howard Pew was raised a Presbyterian, and personally oversaw the support of denominational organs, including magazines. Henry Luce was raised the son of missionaries to China, and dedicated part of his philanthropic activity to Chinese issues. Establishing charities allowed oil, publishing, and pharmaceuticals magnates to protect part of their fortunes from taxation, and direct its expenditure toward favored projects.

    To support his use of Hagley Library collections, Jungclaus received a Henry Belin du Pont Research Grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society. More information on funding opportunities for research at Hagley can be found at www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.

    For more Stories from the Stacks, go to www.hagley.org, or subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.

    Interview by Ben Spohn. Produced by Gregory Hargreaves.

    Image: William G. McGowan giving two thumbs up at Excellence in Service meeting, 1986, 2000239_00046, Group A, Box 1, MCI Communications Corporation photographs & audiovisual materials (Accession 2000.239), Audiovisual Collections & Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

    • 22 min

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