The Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Explore America’s transformative age of industrialisation, expanding wealth, inequality and social change.

This resource sheds light on this transformative period in American history, through the records of some of its most famous luminaries of industry, culture and politics.

A richly varied range of archival sources charts the contradictions of the age. The resource includes the personal and business papers of key industrialists; records of rail, steel and oil corporations; material on labour disputes, politics and progressivism; and rich visual content on fashion, material culture and architecture.

This is the most expansive and diverse digital collection of primary sources available for the study of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, allowing for fresh perspectives to be drawn on a much-discussed period in American history.

Key Data

Highlights

  • John D. Rockefeller Sr’s personal papers including business records, personal correspondence and photographs
  • The Astor Family papers from the New York Historical Society
  • Diaries, scrapbooks and ephemera from the Newport Historical Society, documenting the opulent mansions and lavish social scene of this elite summer resort
  • Edith Wharton’s personal correspondence and holograph manuscripts of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth
  • Records and drawings from renowned Gilded Age architecture firm, McKim, Mead and White
  • Political satire and cartoon collections including original illustrations by Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler
  • Industry, labour and business records from the Hagley Museum and Library, covering railway and steel corporations

Key Themes

  • Architecture
  • Culture and society
  • Finance and economic growth
  • Industrialisation
  • Labour movements
  • Philanthropy and charity
  • Politics, corruption and reform
  • Progressivism, activism and social justice
  • Urbanisation and the rise of the modern city

Source Archives

  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Library of Congress
  • New-York Historical Society
  • Newberry Library
  • Newport Historical Society
  • Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Winterthur Library

Editorial Board

  • Sven Beckert, Harvard University
  • Christopher McKnight Nichols, Oregon State
  • Clayton Ruminski, Clemson University
  • Nancy Unger, Santa Clara University