A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890-1960

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University of Minnesota Press, 2006 - Architecture - 296 pages
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Since they were first established in the 1880s, children's summer camps have touched the lives of millions of people. Although the camping experience has a special place in the popular imagination, few scholars have given serious thought to this peculiarly American phenomenon. Why were summer camps created? What concerns and ideals motivated their founders? Whom did they serve? How did they change over time? What factors influenced their design?To answer these and many other questions, Abigail A. Van Slyck trains an informed eye on the most visible and evocative aspect of camp life: its landscape and architecture. She argues that summer camps delivered much more than a simple encounter with the natural world. Instead, she suggests, camps provided a man-made version of wilderness, shaped by middle-class anxieties about gender roles, class tensions, race relations, and modernity and its impact on the lives of children. Following a fascinating history of summer camps and a wide-ranging overview of the factors that led to their creation, Van Slyck examines the intersections of the natural landscape with human-built forms and social activities. In particular, she addresses changing attitudes toward such subjects as children's health, sanitation, play, relationships between the sexes, Native American culture, and evolving ideas about childhood.Generously illustrated with period photographs, maps, plans, and promotional images of camps throughout North America,A Manufactured Wilderness is the first book to offer a thorough consideration of the summer camp environment. (Architecture, Landscape, and American Culture Series.)

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A manufactured wilderness: summer camps and the shaping of American youth, 1890-1960

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Van Slyck (art history, Connecticut Coll.;Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture ) examines the major trends in American summer camps between 1890 and 1960, placing special focus on the ... Read full review

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References to this book

Lake Carey
Walter Broughton
Limited preview - 2008
Lake Carey
Walter Broughton
Limited preview - 2008

About the author (2006)

Van Slyck is associate professor of architecture, art history, and women's studies at the University of Arizona.

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