Monday, September 27, 2010

Posting About Pioneers with Guest Blogger Patrick Brown

The Book Boost Welcomes author Patrick Brown!

Here's what he had to say...

Industrial Pioneers began as my senior history thesis at Georgetown University. While searching for a topic, I was drawn to the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where I have family roots. I stumbled on some basic facts about the growth of Scranton in the nineteenth century that convinced me that the city had a story to tell—it had grown from 100 to 100,000 people in just sixty years, it produced the steel, iron and coal for an industrializing America, and was “the Electric City” when electricity was the most exciting innovation in the world. While a great deal of information about Scranton during the nineteenth century was available, and a great deal had been written about that general period in American history, I realized that no author had written a comprehensive account of Scranton in the nineteenth century. I sensed an opportunity.

The question underlying Industrial Pioneers is how people adapted their worldviews in response to the extraordinary changes that shaped Scranton in the nineteenth century. I began researching online and in the Georgetown library, and quickly realized that I needed more resources. I travelled to Scranton, where I found rare books about the city’s early history at the Albright Memorial Library and the Lackawanna Historical Society. When I returned, I began writing. I decided to divide my book into four chapters, each of which corresponded with a distinct mindset that residents of Scranton held, and worked on them one by one.

I finished the thesis by May of my senior year of college, and began teaching in the Mississippi Delta the next year. During my first year of teaching, I worked with the Lackawanna Historical Society and Tribute Books to get Industrial Pioneers published. To revise my thesis I went through two rounds of edits with two different editors, revised the introduction and conclusion, compiled an index, assembled a timeline, took an author photo, chose a cover image, sought out endorsements, and worked to find media outlets that might be interested in the book. I sent the information to the publisher and waited. The book was released this past summer.

A Note from the Book Boost: Congrats on your book release and it sounds like you enjoyed researching your topic. A pleasure to have a real historian here at the blog this week! Please tell us a bit more about your book.


During the nineteenth century, Scranton served as the face of a rising America and a hub of technology and innovation-between 1840 and 1902, the city of Scranton changed from a lazy backwoods community to a modern industrial society with 100,000 residents. During this time, Scranton's citizens desperately tried to adapt their thinking to keep up with the rapid changes around them, and in the process forged the world views that would define the twentieth century.


In 1840, the area which is now Scranton, Pennsylvania, had changed little over the previous half-century. Four quiet villages had grown up at the intersections of the rough roads that ran though the wilderness, and small farms tucked into clearings in the woods dotted the region. Most of the residents of the Lackawanna Valley traced their ancestry back to New England, and, according to one contemporary observer, still retained “the manners, the steady habits, the enterprise and intelligence, and even the pronunciation of their New England fathers.” Slocum Hollow, which would grow into one of the most successful industrial centers in the United States within fifty years, consisted of 100 people, five dwellings, a cooper shop, a schoolhouse, a sawmill, and a gristmill. Longfellow’s village blacksmith would have felt right at home.

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1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

The Book Boost - thank you for putting up Patrick's guest post even with the emergency in your family. We appreciate it.

Thank you for your support of the book and for sharing 'Industrial Pioneers' with your blog readers.

The statistic "100 to 100,000 people in just sixty years" still continues to amaze me. I don't think you really wrap your mind around it unless you lived through it and Patrick does a great job of taking you back to when it happened.

Best wishes,
Tribute Books