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American Work-Sports

PDF For more than a century the American farm, factory and frontier provided opportunities for physical workers to display their skill, win a bet, brag or perhaps just have some fun. Competitions that emphasized useful skills, like plowing, corn-husking, rock drilling, typesetting, and tree cutting, were common in the antebellum and post-Civil War periods, often drawing large crowds and the attention of sporting journals. For many years conventional American sports occurred in the workplace. This may help explain why the nicknames of so many prominent collegiate or professional sporting teams—Cornhuskers, Lumberjacks, Miners, Cowboys, Packers and Boilermakers—are also the occupations of 19th century worker-athletes. By examining the American experience with competitions among workers, this book provides a new understanding of the interrelated nature of occupation and leisure.

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