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Newsprint MetropolisCity Papers and the Making of Modern Americans$
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Julia Guarneri

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226341330

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226341477.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Building Print Community

Building Print Community

(p.102) 3: Building Print Community
Newsprint Metropolis

Julia Guarneri

University of Chicago Press

The third chapter turns to New York and examines the print community that emerged in features such as “human interest” stories, urban travelogues, reprinted church sermons, and letters to the editor. Newspapers formed the raw material with which city dwellers pieced together their understanding of the city around them. Surprising and varied portions of newspapers, such as events listings, muckraking articles, and charity drives, built up that sense of common interest and shared fate for hundreds of thousands of city readers. Newspapers’ renderings of urban communities were inclusive but not egalitarian; they depicted cities made up of actors and subjects, central citizens and peripheral characters, natives and immigrants. In this they reflected, and perhaps shaped, the worldview of Progressive reformers, who often believed it was the middle class that was best equipped to enjoy, to understand, and potentially to change everyone else. In the 1910s and 1920s, “metropolitan” sections and other feature stories fashioned a city identity by depicting an urbane and freewheeling culture just taking shape. Their articles signaled a transition away from the sincere and moralizing Progressive culture of urban reform and toward a more private, hedonistic, and skeptical urban life of the 1920s.

Keywords:   New York, community, human interest, charity, muckraking, immigrants, urban, Metropolitan sections, Progressive

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