In producing this study, I have accumulated many debts of gratitude and been reminded many times that writing history is a collaborative activity, no matter how many hours we spend alone with our computers. I wish to gratefully acknowledge Tera Hunter at Princeton University, and Steve Schlossman and Lisa Tetrault at Carnegie Mellon University, all scholars I admire and whose tremendous work has influenced my way of thinking. I am very grateful to Jean Ferguson Carr and the Women’s Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh for the institutional support and affiliation as a Visiting Scholar during a crucial writing period. A New Faculty Fellows award from the American Council of Learned Societies, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, assisted the final completion of the book.
Also at Carnegie Mellon I thank Caroline Acker, Jay Aronson, Paul Eiss, Kate Lynch, David Miller, Scott Sandage, Judith Schachter, John Soluri, and Joe Trotter. I especially thank Peter Stearns, now at George Mason University, for his inspiration early in my career and continuing encouragement. A number of other scholars have earned my everlasting appreciation for their engagement with this project: Kyle Ciani, Linda Gordon, Rob Hudson, Michael Katz, Alice Kessler-Harris, Nelson Lichtenstein, Kriste Lindenmeyer, and Lara Putnam. In addition, I extend my gratitude to Laurie Matheson and the staff at the University of Illinois Press.
Librarians are historians’ favorite people, and this project could not have happened without the wonderful staff at Carnegie Mellon’s Hunt Library as well as in the Pennsylvania Room at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and David Grinnell at the Library and Archives division of the Senator John Heinz History Center. I applaud the efforts of the board and staff at Three Rivers Youth, under the leadership of Executive Director Peggy Harris, for celebrating and preserving their own unique history. My enormous gratitude (p.xii) also goes to the board of directors and staff of the Mars Home for Youth, now under Executive Director Martin Harris, for the use of their invaluable collections. This project would not have been possible without their generosity in allowing me to occupy their boardroom for weeks at a time poring over documents, and in extending me full photocopier privileges.
A number of Carnegie Mellon colleagues have been special friends and mentors to me for two decades. The late, great Barbara Lazarus defined what it means to be a mentor and demonstrated an unfailing belief in my scholarly potential; working under her wing daily for eight years was the best education anyone could hope for. I have also been the lucky beneficiary of countless hours of warm guidance and insightful wisdom from Indira Nair and Stephanie Wallach, extraordinary women and role models all.
I thank Kate Chilton and Brian Robick, who read every word of the manuscript several times in its earliest drafts, and Becky Kluchin for her ongoing enthusiasm for this project and her cheerleading. A merry band of historians and friends has kept me laughing at our weekly STD (Salon of Thursday Dinners): Amy Crosson, Lara Putnam, John Soluri, Lisa Tetrault, John Zimmerman, and all the kids. Dear friends Victor Forberger and Stephanie Schauer helped during a critical week of editing. Fellow women’s historians from Sarah Lawrence College have become an unbelievable source of sustaining friendship: Rihana Azam, Erin Gerber, Shelly Henderson, and Erica Poff. I also thank Priscilla Murolo and Lyde Sizer for assuring me that I could be both a mother and a scholar. I would not have been able to complete this journey without a host of incredible child care providers: Robin in New York, Martha (“Tata”) in Pittsburgh, and all the amazing teachers and staff at the Carriage House Children’s Center. A special thank you to terrific friend and Managing Director at the Carriage House, Sharon Amick.
I extend my biggest thanks of all to my family: Thank you for being there to celebrate the highs and console me during the lows. Most of all, thank you to my parents, Janis and Bob Ramey, for everything from child care and financial assistance to emergency electrical repairs and boundless love and support. I dedicate this work to the memories of my father, and of my grandmother, Gertrude Geisler, whose writing inspired me to take up history and led the way to this study. And to my children, Caldwell and Ian, who have grown up with stories of orphans and orphanages.
John Zimmerman deserves the final note of praise and gratitude. We’ve learned that there is no such thing as “balancing” family and work, but we’ve gotten pretty good at “juggling”; and the clown metaphor is probably more apt for our family, anyhow. Managing and enjoying this three-ring circus would not be possible without him.