Inside Greenwich Village: A New York City Neighborhood, 1898-1918

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2005 - History - 272 pages
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In the popular imagination, New York City's Greenwich Village has long been known as a center of bohemianism, home to avant-garde artists, political radicals, and other nonconformists who challenged the reigning orthodoxies of their time. Yet a century ago the Village was a much different kind of place: a mixed-class, multiethnic neighborhood teeming with the energy and social tensions of a rapidly changing America. Gerald W. McFarland reconstructs this world with vivid descriptions of the major groups that resided within its boundaries -- the Italian immigrants and African Americans to the south, the Irish Americans to the west, the well-to-do Protestants to the north, and the New York University students, middle-class professionals, and artists and writers who lived in apartment buildings and boarding houses on or near Washington Square.

McFarland examines how these Villagers, so divided along class and ethnic lines, interacted with one another. He shows how clashing expectations about what constituted proper behavior in the neighborhood's public spaces -- especially streets, parks, and saloons -- often led to intergroup conflict, political rivalries, and campaigns by the more privileged Villagers to impose middle-class mores on their working-class neighbors. Occasionally, however, a crisis or common problem led residents to overlook their differences and cooperate across class and ethnic lines. Throughout the book, McFarland connects the evolution of Village life to the profound transformations taking place in American society at large during the same years.

 

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Inside Greenwich Village: a New York City neighborhood, 1898-1918

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McFarland (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mugwumps, Morals, and Politics) focuses on a period in which New York's Greenwich Village was a mixed-class, multiethnic urban neighborhood. At the ... Read full review

Contents

Neighbors and Strangers
8
The Heart of Little Africa
11
An Immigrant Church
25
The Green in Greenwich
36
For Their Mutual Benefit
49
West Side Branch
50
Greenwich House
58
The Patrician Response
77
The Greenwich House Circle
129
CrossClass Alliances 19071911
138
Value Conflicts
151
The Improper Villagers
152
Village Artists at Work and Play
169
Becoming Bohemia
189
The Seventh Villagers
191
The Neighborhood 19131918
210

The North Villagers
78
Ascension Forum
95
The Washington Square Association
105
Allies
118
The A Clubbers
120
NOTES
227
BIBLIOGRAPHY
247
INDEX
259
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Gerald W. McFarland is professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His books include A Scattered People: An American Family Moves West; The "Counterfeit" Man: The True Story of the Boorn-Colvin Murder Case; and Mugwumps, Morals, and Politics, 1880--1920. www.geraldwmcfarland.com

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