Artifacts from Nineteenth-Century America
by Elizabeth B. Greene
November 2022, 399pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7186-3
$110, £85, 96€, A151
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7187-0
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It was the invention of the bicycle, not the automobile, that prompted a group of influential Americans to force the federal government to invest in new, safer roads for the American public.

This book presents both nationally significant objects and ordinary items from everyday life to provide insight into 19th century American society, showing readers how the production, design, function, and use of these objects can inform our understanding of the period.

Artifacts from 19th Century America examines a broad array of objects representing various aspects of 19th century American society. The objects have been chosen to illuminate daily life in a number of categories including cooking, entertainment, grooming, clothing and accessories, health, household items, religious life, work, and education.

The book’s 53 entries include a brief introduction to the background of the object, when and why it was made, and who used it, followed by a detailed description of the object itself. Finally, each entry provides a deep dive into the object’s significance and how the object reveals clues about the social, political, economic, and intellectual life of the society in which it was produced and utilized. Students and general readers alike will not only learn about the time period but also learn to use the skills of material culture theory and method, including how to draw meaningful conclusions from each object about their historical context and significance.


  • Includes a concise discussion of 19th century artifacts in the context of key topics in history
  • Provides readers with guidance on how to assess and analyze artifacts as the physical evidence of human experience
  • Introduces readers to material culture theory and method
  • Features sidebars that highlight interesting facts related to the artifacts, further illuminating their historical context
Elizabeth B. Greene is a freelance history writer. She received a BA in art history from McGill University in Montreal. She attended the Columbia University Historic Preservation Program at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Greene is the author of Buildings and Landmarks of 19th Century America: American Society Revealed and coauthor of Buildings and Landmarks of 20th and 21st Century America: American Society Revealed, both from ABC-CLIO.

Daily Life through Artifacts

Daily Life through Artifacts presents a collection of objects and artifacts from daily life that shed light on key aspects of social life and culture for specific historical periods or topics. Each artifact is illustrated with a large image, showing interesting detail and allowing for close-up study. The series serves to demonstrate how objects and artifacts can be "read" as primary sources to provide greater insight into the people and societies who created and used them. Each title in the series provides information on the background material for these objects as well as guidance on how to analyze an object or artifact. Readers will not only learn about the daily life of past societies but also gain the skills of observation and assessment needed to analyze the objects and draw meaningful conclusions from them about their context and significance.
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