Pets in America: A History

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9780156031769: Pets in America: A History

When did America become so obsessed with its pets? It wasn’t as recently as you might think. In fact, as Katherine C. Grier shows us in this lively social history, Americans have a long and abiding fascination with their furry, feathery, and sometimes scaly friends.

Pets in America is the first comprehensive, thoroughly entertaining account of our long history of animal keeping. From White House gerbils to Mrs. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s many cats, from drug-sniffing dogs to celebrity horses, from pet food to training to birdcages to art to cemeteries—no aspect of pet culture is left unexplored.

Peppered with the warmth and humor of anecdotes from period diaries, letters, catalogs, and newspapers, Pets in America is also packed with more than one hundred whimsical pieces of pet Americana—illustrations and photographs of all of man’s best friends. Pets in America is fun social history for a popular audience and pet lovers everywhere.

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Book Description:

" Pets in America is a labor of love and a delight to read. Writing with great clarity and enthusiasm, Grier uses the history of pet keeping to expose the very heart and soul of middle-class America."--James A. Serpell, University of Pennsylvania

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In this portrait of Americans' relationships with the cats, dogs, birds, fishes, rodents, and other animals we call our own, Grier shows how the history of pets has evolved alongside changing ideas about human nature, child development, and community life. She focuses particularly on the period between 1840 and 1940, when the emotional, behavioral, and commercial characteristics of contemporary pet keeping were established. Includes 100 illustrations.

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