On the Make : Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America, Paperback / softback Book

On the Make : Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America Paperback / softback

Part of the American History and Culture series


In the bustling cities of the mid-nineteenth-century Northeast, young male clerks working in commercial offices and stores were on the make, persistently seeking wealth, respect, and self-gratification.

Yet these strivers and "counter jumpers" discovered that claiming the identities of independent men-while making sense of a volatile capitalist economy and fluid urban society-was fraught with uncertainty. In On the Make, Brian P. Luskey illuminates at once the power of the ideology of self-making and the important contests over the meanings of respectability, manhood, and citizenship that helped to determine who clerks were and who they would become.

Drawing from a rich array of archival materials, including clerks' diaries, newspapers, credit reports, census data, advice literature, and fiction, Luskey argues that a better understanding of clerks and clerking helps make sense of the culture of capitalism and the society it shaped in this pivotal era.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 287 pages
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9780814753101

Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also by Brian P. Luskey

Also in the American History and Culture series   |  View all