Labour and Popular Print Culture

Kathryn J. Oberdeck, Frank Tobias Higbie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the participation of the working class in various genres and forms of popular print culture in the United States in the period spanning the Civil War and the early twentieth century. More specifically, it considers how labour was represented in commercial media, how these narratives were used by working people, and how the working class produced more direct self-expression in the labour and immigrant press. The chapter first looks at the popularity of story papers and dime novels among working-class readers after the Civil War before turning to the weekly National Police Gazette and its readership. It then discusses the production of print material for religious publications, along with the journalism, activism, and readership of labour and immigrant presses. The chapter also describes the the sites of working-class reading before concluding with an assessment of workers as writers and subjects of popular print culture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford History of Popular Print Culture
Subtitle of host publicationUS Popular Print Culture 1860-1920
EditorsChristine Bold
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199234066
StatePublished - Feb 20 2012


  • working class
  • popular print culture
  • United States
  • labour
  • immigrant press
  • story papers
  • dime novels
  • National Police Gazette
  • readership
  • religious publications


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