By Amy S. Greenberg
Though valuable to the social, political, and cultural lifetime of the nineteenth-century urban, the city volunteer hearth division has however been mostly overlooked through historians. Redressing this forget, Amy Greenberg finds the which means of this primary establishment via evaluating the hearth departments of Baltimore, St. Louis, and San Francisco from the past due eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Volunteer fireplace businesses safe hugely flammable towns from fireplace and supplied many males with friendship, brotherhood, and how to end up their civic advantage. whereas different students have claimed that fireplace businesses have been basically operating category, Greenberg exhibits that they have been really combined social teams: retailers and dealing males, immigrants and native-born--all stumbled on a standard id as firemen. Cause for Alarm offers a brand new imaginative and prescient of city tradition, one outlined no longer through type yet by means of gender. Volunteer firefighting united males in a shared masculine occasion of power and bravado, ability and visual appeal. In an in a different way alienating atmosphere, hearth businesses supplied males from all walks of existence with prestige, neighborhood, and an outlet for pageant, which occasionally even resulted in complicated brawls.
While this tradition was once totally revered within the early 19th century, altering social norms finally demonized the firemen's imaginative and prescient of masculinity. Greenberg assesses the legitimacy of accusations of violence and political corruption opposed to the firemen in every one urban, and locations the municipalization of firefighting within the context of city social switch, new beliefs of citizenship, the quick unfold of fireplace assurance, and new firefighting technologies.
Originally released in 1998.
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Additional info for Cause for Alarm: The Volunteer Fire Department in the Nineteenth-Century City
77 Here the protected pay tribute to the warriors, to the servants of both soci ety and God. The ministers' wives commend the firemen for their philan thropy, but more so for their "arduous duties" in the ongoing battle with the Great Foe—the Devouring Element. They even promise that God himself will be forthcoming with further tribute. Although this Bible was offered by gift givers more enamored of religious terminology than other tribute-making groups, the form of the tribute and the respect shown by these women to the firefighters was not unusual.
The decline of tribute, and decline of the firemen, became mutually rein forcing. A Louisville fireman, writing to his San Francisco brethren, warned them of the necessity of maintaining their tribute. " In Louisville, they had not been so successful, and the results were sobering. "The fire department here is but a shadow of its former self, caused, in part, by a want of the proper feeling on the part of some of those of our citizens," he wrote in 1855. "84 As firemen fell in the estimation of the public, some firemen blamed the collapse of this tribute relationship.
In Europe, over the Fire King, we have seen highly disciplined bodies of men achieve great triumphs: we have watched them at their work—cool, systematic, aye, and daring too—in short, in the steady calmness of doing their duty. But here, where the fireman's work is a labor of love how different! 13 The tribute to the firemen of San Fran cisco, quoted above, was not occasioned by any particular display of universal chivalric spirit. It was not offered after a valiant effort at a fire. Newspapers across the country praised firemen on every possible occasion, or, as in this case, on no special occasion at all.