Consumers' Imperium

The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920

By Kristin L. Hoganson

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 51 illus. 1 table, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5793-9
    Published: June 2007
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8888-9
    Published: March 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7734-5
    Published: March 2010

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Histories of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era tend to characterize the United States as an expansionist nation bent on Americanizing the world without being transformed itself. In Consumers’ Imperium, Kristin Hoganson reveals the other half of the story, demonstrating that the years between the Civil War and World War I were marked by heightened consumption of imports and strenuous efforts to appear cosmopolitan.

Hoganson finds evidence of international connections in quintessentially domestic places--American households. She shows that well-to-do white women in this era expressed intense interest in other cultures through imported household objects, fashion, cooking, entertaining, armchair travel clubs, and the immigrant gifts movement. From curtains to clothing, from around-the-world parties to arts and crafts of the homelands exhibits, Hoganson presents a new perspective on the United States in the world by shifting attention from exports to imports, from production to consumption, and from men to women. She makes it clear that globalization did not just happen beyond America’s shores, as a result of American military might and industrial power, but that it happened at home, thanks to imports, immigrants, geographical knowledge, and consumer preferences. Here is an international history that begins at home.

About the Author

Kristin L. Hoganson is associate professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and author of Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars.
For more information about Kristin L. Hoganson, visit the Author Page.


"Escapes our usual parochial categories, and that is one of the highest compliments to give any work."--Journal of American History

"Powerfully argued and deeply researched. . . . Advances the field of American studies further by integrating gender and the global into the story of American nationalism and consumerism."--Journal of Contemporary History

"Offers important additions and qualifications to the prevailing interpretations of turn-of-the-century America. . . . A rich, eloquent, and very useful description of the outward behavior of international shopping."--Journal of Social History

"An insightful narrative. . . . Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"Hoganson has written a rich and academic flavored book that is thought provoking because it pushes one's thinking in both new and old directions."--Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

"[A] gracefully written survey. . . . Hoganson's research is meticulous."--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era