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Ideal Citizens, Better Workers: National Cash Register Company’s Garden Programmes and Factory Tourism (1897–1913)

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Ideal Citizens, Better Workers: National Cash Register Company’s Garden Programmes and Factory Tourism (1897–1913)

England, Sara Nicole (2018) Ideal Citizens, Better Workers: National Cash Register Company’s Garden Programmes and Factory Tourism (1897–1913). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Public concerns about the degrading effects of industrial labour on workers' moral and physical development in the 1880s led some American factories to institute garden programmes for their workers. Companies undertaking various forms of welfare work, including the provision of gardens and recreational spaces for employees, initiated factory tours for a curious, mostly middle-class, public to witness the “human side” of industrial relations.

National Cash Register Company (NCR) in Dayton, Ohio was among the first to form a large-scale tourist programme to showcase its most recognized form of welfare work: the comprehensive garden programmes for employees, nearby residents, and children. NCR’s factory tour and garden programmes (organized into three components: landscape gardening, children’s gardens, specifically the Boys’ Gardens, and the civic garden campaign) form the subject of this thesis. Employing the concept of the “exhibitionary complex” to factory tourism, the author contextualizes NCR’s factory tour within a broader cultural practice of exposition visits in which the middle class exercised their cultural and moral authority by regulating the working class.

This thesis argues NCR’s garden programmes were prescribed to working-class subjects to raise more productive and loyal workers and valued citizens while, at the same time, imparting middle-class virtues about the “respectable family” and suburban home. Gardens and tourism, together, formed a managerial strategy for controlling workers and residents. By focusing on the civic gardening campaign and the children’s gardens on the factory’s grounds, the author examines the gendered involvement of women and boys in NCR’s garden programmes.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:England, Sara Nicole
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:September 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Potvin, John
Keywords:National Cash Register Company, factory tourism, working-class identity, labour history, industrial gardens, American suburbs, gardening programmes
ID Code:984165
Deposited By: Sara England
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:03
Last Modified:08 Jan 2019 20:00
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