Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory and the Genesis of American Industry
Collaborative for Educational Services in partnership with the U.Mass Amherst Department of History and Westfield State University
Dates: July 7-12 or July 21-26.
Graduate Credit: Optional 3 graduate credits in History from Westfield State University. Some additional writing and $325 for the three credits for those who choose.
Written work: Teachers will create inquiry-based lessons on topics of their choice arising from the workshop. Time to work on final projects will be integrated through the week, facilitated by veteran educators. Building on the background knowledge gained from completing the workshop readings, teachers will identify a topic of interest for the lesson plan. Teachers will research and include primary sources for their lessons from the robust archives of participating museums and from the Library of Congress and other national collections. Examples of lessons from prior years (edited for sharing) can be found here in our resource library.
Read all assignments prior to the workshop! Speakers will assume you have this background knowledge.
Articles and resources are in suggested order, mainly chronological.
See the Extended Bibliography below. Copies of most sources will be on hand at the workshop for browsing.
For a great introduction to the history covered by the workshop, read the first article.
Article – Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History.
Pages 15 (map), 61-65, and 90-94.
In his book, Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History (1991), Guy McLain describes the impact of the Armory on Civil War production. In “The New Century,” he describes some of the many ways that the Armory impacted and even created other industries in the Precision Corridor of the Connecticut River Valley.
- What were Springfield’s contributions to the Union war effort?
- What were the impacts on Springfield?
Article – How Students Learn: History in the Classroom
Donovan and Bransford present the research that underlies the best of thinking about teaching historical thinking.
- In what ways could the ideas in this article impact your teaching?
Article – The Roots of Rural Capitalism
Pages 31-33, 34-36, 41, 53-54, 93-95, and 100-105.
Chris Clark makes a thorough study of the economy of Western Massachusetts starting in the Colonial Era and carrying into the early Industrial Revolution. Because it is an economic study, and because you are getting only a few pages (to keep total assigned reading manageable), you may find this a difficult read. Bear with it. Consider it as context rather than try to absorb all the details.
- What economic classes can you identify?
- How would you characterize relations between participants in the local economy? In the larger economy?
- What factors make this region ready for industrial development?
Article – Town into City
Michael Frisch eloquently tells the story of Springfield’s development throughout the period we are considering. This selection describes Springfield’s initial launch into industry.
- Why did Springfield in particular end up as the hub of 19th Century industrial development?
- In “Background,” read the “Essay on the Steamboat Barnet.”
- On the “Sources” page, browse the primary sources under “Railroad Maps and Charts.”
- Browse the site, including the “Interactive Transport Map,” for comparative impact of transportation modes, and examine the products and impacts of expanded markets.
Website – Forge of Innovation – Springfield Armory National Historic Site
- Study and view the entire section on Springfield 1812-1865. http://www.forgeofinnovation.org/Springfield_Armory_1812-1865/Themes/Technological_Development/index.html
- Central Question: HOW did the Springfield Armory take the leap to become the world’s central hub of innovation and precision production?
Article – Rosie’s Mom: Forgotten Women Workers of the First World War
Carrie Brown portrays factory life at the turn of the 20th Century as she examines the life of women in war production at the start of World War I. Though it’s Bridgeport, Connecticut, not Springfield, the experience if not necessarily the scale is similar.
- How did factory labor impact workers lives?
- What were the costs and benefits to women of factory work?
Article – From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932
David Hounshell places the Springfield Armory in context of modern industrial production.
- What was the relative importance of the Springfield Armory in the creation of the modern industrial system?
- What does Hounshell mean by “Industrial Policy”? What difference would he say that it made?
Websites – Holyoke
- “Holyoke.” History of the Connecticut Valley, Volume II. 1879. Pages 915-938.http://www.holyokemass.com/hcv_1879/toc.html
- Examine the map of Ireland Parish in 1827.
- Read “The Water Power” and “The Holyoke Water Power Company,” and browse some of the manufacturing interests.
- “Bird’s eye view of Holyoke, Mass.: 1877. http://www.loc.gov/item/84695720/
- Browse the exhibits of Creating Holyoke. http://creatingholyoke.org/exhibits
- Wistariahurst Museum. http://wistariahurst.org/experience-history/online-history-exhibits/
- Explore “Good Silk is Always Good Property”
- Explore “Skinner Servants”
- How did the unique development of Holyoke as an industrial center differ from the Springfield Armory and from Springfield generally?
- How did wealth created by industrialization influence the culture of the owners, their workers, and their servants?
Website – Radical Equality – Northampton Association of Education and Industry (NAEI) – Utopian Vision of Industry (1842-1846) http://emergingamerica.org/exhibits/radical-equality
- Read “Background on Industry” – And other background topics as you desire.: http://emergingamerica.org/exhibits/radical-equality/background/industry
- Explore the map of the “Florence Walking Tour,” and optionally watch the video clips. http://emergingamerica.org/exhibits/radical-equality/video-tour
- Browse the “Cast of Characters” – Click the thumbnails for mini-biographies. http://emergingamerica.org/exhibits/radical-equality/cast-characters
- Examine the 1843 NAEI Constitution. http://emergingamerica.org/exhibits/radical-equality/background/sources/northampton-association-records-constitution-and-laws
- In what ways was the vision of labor and industry of the NAEI utopians different from the visions of the other models of industrial development that you have considered?
Article – “Staggering Job Loss, a Shrinking Revenue Base, and Grinding Decline: Springfield, Massachusetts in a Globalized Economy” .
Article – ”Too Many Bends in the River: The Post-World War II Decline of the Connecticut River Valley Machine Tool Industry.”
Bob Forrant, former machinist at the Bosch plant in Springfield, has written extensively about the decline of the precision corridor.
- What is distinctive about Springfield’s experience in the industrial economy?
- What measures–if any–could have prevented Springfield’s decline?
- What are the implications for policy makers and voters in 2015?
Website – Shays Rebellion: From Revolution to Constitution. http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/
- What brought about the tensions that led to Shays Rebellion?
- To what extent were Shays and the Regulators “rebels”? To what extent were they carrying forward the American Revolution?
Extended Bibliography for Forge of Innovation – 2019
NEH Landmarks Workshop of the Collaborative for Educational Services
- Bellamy, Edward and John L. Thomas. Looking backward, 2000-1887. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967. Print.
- Boucher, Norman. “Bends in the River: A Natural History of the Connecticut Valley Metal Trade.” Regional ReviewWinter (1994): 6-12. Print.
- Brown, Carrie. Rosie’s mom: forgotten women workers of the First World War. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 2002. Print.
- Brown, Carrie. “Guns for Billy Yank: The Armory in Windsor Meets the Challenge of the Civil War.” Vermont History, the Journal of the Vermont Historical Society Summer/Fall (2001): 141-161. Print.
- Clark, Christopher. The roots of rural capitalism: western Massachusetts, 1780-1860. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990. Print.
- Clark, Christopher. The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995. Print.
- Clark, Christopher, and Kerry W. Buckley. Letters from an American utopia: the Stetson family and the Northampton Association, 1843-1847. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. Print.
- Cronon, William. Changes in the land: Indians, colonists, and the ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983. Print.
- Cumbler, John. Reasonable use: the people, the environment, and the state, New England 1790-1930. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
- D’Amato, Donald J. Springfield – 350 years: a pictorial history. Norfolk, Va.: Donning Co., 1985. Print.
- Donovan, S., & Bransford, J. (2005). How students learn: history in the classroom. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. pp. 1-27.
- Forrant, Robert. Metal fatigue: American Bosch and the demise of metalworking in the Connecticut River Valley. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood Pub. Co., 2009. Print.
- Forrant, Robert. “Staggering Job Loss, a Shrinking Revenue Base, and Grinding Decline: Springfield, Massachusetts, in a Globalized Economy” in Xiangming Chen and Ahmed Kanna, eds., Rethinking global urbanism: comparative insights from secondary cities. New York, Routledge, 2012. 75-90. Print.
- Frisch, Michael H.. Town into city; Springfield, Massachusetts, and the meaning of community, 1840-1880. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. Print.
- Hartford, William F.. Working people of Holyoke: class and ethnicity in a Massachusetts mill town, 1850-1960. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990. Print.
- Hodnicki, Jill A. “The Literary Landscape: A Delightful Excursion.” A Place Called Paradise. Ed. Kerry W. Buckley. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. 257-300. Print.
- Hoppin, Martha. “Arcadian Values: The Connecticut Valley in Art.” A Place Called Paradise. Ed. Kerry W. Buckley. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. 231-244. Print.
- Hounshell, David A. From the American system to mass production, 1800-1932: the development of manufacturing technology in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Print.
- Howells, William Dean. The Rise of Silas Lapham, 1885. Print.
- Laurie, Bruce. Artisans to Workers: Labor in Nineteenth-Century America. First Illinois paperback, 1997. (First published 1989.)
- Laurie, Bruce. Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005.
- Lumpkin, K.. “Shutdowns in the Connecticut River Valley.” Smith College Studies in History Volume 20 (1934): 1-59. Print.
- McLain, Guy. “The Development of Transportation and Trade in the Valley.” Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 1991. 39-44. Print.
- McLain, Guy. “The Rise of the Industrial Revolution in the Valley.” Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 1991. 45-50. Print.
- McLain, Guy. “The Civil War.” Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 1991. 61-65. Print.
- McLain, Guy. “The New Century.” Pioneer Valley: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 1991. 90-94. Print.
- Painter, Nell Irvin. “Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol.” A Place Called Paradise. Ed. Kerry W. Buckley. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. 343-364. Print.
- Richards, Leonard L. “The Revolution That Failed: Making Sense of Shays’ Rebellion.” A Place Called Paradise. Ed. Kerry W. Buckley. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. 168-196. Print.
- Rosenberg, Nathan. The American System of Manufacturers: the report of the committee on the Machinery of the United States, 1855, and the special reports of George Wallis and Joseph Whitworth, 1854. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 1969. Print.
- Senechal, Marjorie. A Century of Silk. Northampton, MA: City of Northampton, 2004. Print.
- Sharpe, Elizabeth M. In the shadow of the dam: the aftermath of the Mill River flood of 1874. New York: Free Press, 2004. Print.
- Shlakman, Vera. Economic history of a factory town, a study of Chicopee, Massachusetts, 1935.
- Raber, Michael S., Patrick M. Malone, Robert B. Gordon, and Carolyn C. Cooper. Forge of innovation: an industrial history of the Springfield Armory, 1794-1968. Ed. Richard Colton. Springfield Armory National Historic Site, U.S. National Park Service, Eastern National. 2008.
- Stone, Orra Laville. “Springfield: The Industrial Beehive of Massachusetts and the Habitat of Almost Four Hundred Manufacturing Enterprises.” History of Massachusetts industries; their inception, growth, and success;. Boston: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1930. Chapter 26. Print.
- Sweeney, Kevin M. “The River Gods in the Making.” A Place Called Paradise. Ed. Kerry W. Buckley. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004. 75-90. Print.
- Twain, Mark, and Daniel Carter Beard. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1889. Print.