* Nearly 200 entries tracing the history, production, consumption, and reception of various types of goods and exploring the uses and meanings of artifacts within changing social, cultural, economic, and political contexts
* A detailed introductory essay unites each entry with a common thread
* Contributions from over 50 scholars, curators, and teachers working in the field of material culture studies today, representing cutting-edge scholarship in museums and historical societies, universities and colleges
* Illustrations include advertisements, such as a 19th-century trade card and a Singer sewing machine ad, plus photographs of a 1949 "Torpedo pedal car" and a life-size modernist-style streamlined locomotive prototype by Raymond Loewy
Helen Sheumaker, PhD, is associate professor of American studies and coordinator of museum education at the William Holmes McGuffey Museum at Miami University, Oxford, OH.
Shirley Teresa Wajda, PhD, teaches in the Department of History at Kent State University, Kent, OH. She is also coordinator of the American studies program.
Artifacts from Modern America demonstrates how dozens of the material objects, items, technologies, or inventions of the 20th century serve as a window into a period of history. After an introductory discussion of how to approach material culture—the world of things—to better understand the American past, essays describe objects from the previous century that made a wide-ranging or long-lasting impact. The chapters reflect the ways that communication devices, objects of religious life, household appliances, vehicles, and tools and weapons changed the lives of everyday Americans. Readers will learn how to use material culture in their own research through the book's detailed examples of how interpreting the historical, cultural, and social context of objects can provide a better understanding of the 20th-century experience.