By Amy G. Richter
Spotting the railroad's value as either image and event in Victorian the United States, Amy G. Richter follows girls tourists onto trains and considers the results in their presence there. For a time, Richter argues, nineteenth-century americans imagined the general public realm as a chaotic and hazardous yet in all probability wealthy house the place a variety of teams got here jointly, collided, and inspired each other, for greater or worse. the instance of the yank railroad finds how, by way of the start of the 20th century, this snapshot was once changed through one among a domesticated public realm-a public area within which either men and women more and more strove to make themselves "at home." via efforts that ranged from the homey touches of railroad vehicle d??cor to ads pictures celebrating girl tourists and criminal instances sanctioning gender-segregated areas, tourists and railroad businesses remodeled the railroad from a spot of possibility and virtually limitless social blending into one within which white women and men alleviated the tension of disagreeable social touch. Making themselves "at domestic" aboard the trains, white women and men domesticated the railroad for themselves and lead the way for a racially segregated and class-stratified public house that freed girls from the house but nonetheless preserved the railroad as a masculine area.
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Extra info for Home on the Rails: Women, the Railroad, and the Rise of Public Domesticity (Gender and American Culture)
22 Many stories of female vulnerability began quite innocently with a male traveler oﬀering some small courtesy. One knowing conductor described what he called ‘‘The Magazine Route,’’ in which a man oﬀers a woman a magazine and returns later to see if she has enjoyed it. ‘‘The love diplomat,’’ as the conductor called him, then invites her to share a meal in the dining car, where he treats and they share a bottle of wine. 23 The cautionary tales of the pickpocket and love diplomat warned women that the anonymity of the trains endangered them because it freed men from the fetters of their reputations and tempted women to compromise their own.
25 The article favorably contrasted the American open coach with the European compartment car. The latter, marked by clear divisions of class, accommodated only a small number of passengers who were locked into their car and required to remain seated for the duration of their journey. The large American coach, with its broad central aisle, rows upon rows of seats, and heterogeneous passengers, encouraged interaction and mobility and sustained many Americans’ sense of themselves as members of a classless society.
70 Lulled into a sense of privacy by the overwhelming anonymity of rail travel, passengers revealed their ‘‘true selves’’ in public. Many travelers and railroad employees embraced this quirk of rail travel to rationalize and order their experiences aboard. ’’ The brief characterization of each suggests that these ﬁgures were familiar to readers. 72 An book playfully drew children into this process, implying that anyone who traveled by rail, even a child, would recognize these common railway types.