Cover for RYAN: Love, Wages, Slavery: The Literature of Servitude in the United States. Click for larger image

Love, Wages, Slavery

The Literature of Servitude in the United States

Understanding the nature of "free" servitude in a time of slavery

As slavery tore at the nation in the nineteenth century, the role of servants and slaves within the family became a heated topic, and publishers produced a steady stream of literature instructing households how to hire, treat, and discipline servants. In this book, Barbara Ryan surveys an expansive collection of these published materials from both before and after Emancipation to chart shifts in thinking about what made a good servant and how servants felt about serving non-kin, as well as changing ideas about gender, free and unfree labor, status, race, domesticity, and family life.

Paying particular attention to women servants, Ryan traces the "servant problem" as it was represented in magazines like the Atlantic Monthly, Godey's Lady's Book, and Harper's Bazar. Her wide-ranging probe also culls commentary from advice literature, letters and diaries, pro- and anti-slavery propaganda, sentimental fiction, and memoirs of communitarian reform to reveal the fundamental uncertainty about what it meant for some servants to be "free" while others remained fettered to their posts.


"Love, Wages, Slavery is a welcome addition to the scholarship on the literature of service in the United States. Demonstrating the interconnection among thoughts on race, ethnicity, various kinds of work, and our concept of home, Ryan's wide-ranging survey of materials reminds us of the complexity of the 'servant problem' and the various attempts to address it."--The New England Quarterly

"Barbara Ryan's impressive study charts shifting conceptions of 'free,' co-residential, non-kin labor in the antebellum and postbellum United States."--Legacy

"At the heart of Barbara Ryan's book is a series of crucial observations about the assumptions of the nineteenth-century world. . . . Ryan identifies meaningful links between slavery and 'free' service from the antebellum period to the Gilded Age. . . . A pleasure to read. . . . An enormously useful [text] for a scholar in the field of servitude and slavery in the nineteenth century."--American Historical Review


Barbara Ryan is an associate professor in the University Scholars Programme at the National University of Singapore.

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/58etp6kr9780252030710.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
The Labor Board Crew - Cover
The Labor Board Crew

Remaking Worker-Employer Relations from Pearl Harbor to the Reagan Era

Ronald W. Schatz

Burning Valley - Cover
Burning Valley

Phillip Bonosky

Rivington Street - Cover
Rivington Street

A Novel

Meredith Tax

Workers in Hard Times - Cover
Workers in Hard Times

A Long View of Economic Crises

Edited by Leon Fink, Joseph A. McCartin, and Joan Sangster

Union Renegades - Cover
Union Renegades

Miners, Capitalism, and Organizing in the Gilded Age

Dana M. Caldemeyer

Labor’s Mind - Cover
Labor’s Mind

A History of Working-Class Intellectual Life

Tobias Higbie

Slumming in New York - Cover
Slumming in New York

From the Waterfront to Mythic Harlem

Robert M. Dowling

Black Flag Boricuas - Cover
Black Flag Boricuas

Anarchism, Antiauthoritarianism, and the Left in Puerto Rico, 1897-1921

Kirwin R. Shaffer

Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland - Cover
Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland

Changing Social Landscapes in Middle America

Edited by Linda Allegro and Andrew Grant Wood

The World in a City - Cover
The World in a City

Multiethnic Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles

David M. Struthers

Upon the Altar of Work - Cover
Upon the Altar of Work

Child Labor and the Rise of a New American Sectionalism

Betsy Wood

American Unemployment - Cover
American Unemployment

Past, Present, and Future

Frank Stricker

Hamlin Garland, Prairie Radical - Cover
Hamlin Garland, Prairie Radical

Writings from the 1890s

Hamlin Garland

Workers against the City - Cover
Workers against the City

The Fight for Free Speech in Hague v. CIO

Donald W. Rogers