The Gilded Age | Alexander Street
The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age

Immigration and migration, racism and civil rights, labor and industry, women and universal suffrage, American Indians, and the environment are just a few of the issues that came to the fore during the Gilded Age.

With this collection, Alexander Street brings together 53,000 pages of full text, photographs, songs for listening online, and other primary materials, along with video interviews and twenty-five critical documentary essays. Each documentary essay poses an interpretive question and then illuminates it with dozens of annotated primary documents, introductions, and essays. The critical documentary essays have been created by leading scholars in the field, including Samuel Thomas of Michigan State University, Christopher Reed of Roosevelt University, Kim Warren of the University of Kansas, and Daniel Thorp of Virginia Tech. The result is a highly visual, annotated record of this critical period in American history.  

Building on the award-winning work and Web site created by Drew VandeCreek at Northern Illinois University, Alexander Street’s The Gilded Age is organized around more than ten historical themes, with associated document projects. Examples include:

Race and Ethnicity

  • Reconstruction politics and race
  • Native Americans’ education for citizenship
  • The Chinese exclusion movement

Economics, Labor, and Commerce

  • The Knights of Labor
  • Currency and the Greenback movement
  • Gilded Age railroads

Government, Politics, and Law

  • The election of 1884
  • Populism and the People’s Party
  • Political reform in New York City


  • Women’s voting in the West
  • The Women’s Christian Temperance Union
  • Women and lynching

Arts and Culture

  • The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition
  • Gilded Age music
  • Mark Twain and the Mississippi River

Social Progress and Reform

  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s anti-lynching campaign
  • The Chautauqua Movement
  • The Grange and cooperative farming organizations

War and Military Life

  • The Battle of Little Bighorn
  • The Spanish-American War
  • American colonialism following the Spanish-American War

Researchers will find especially useful an extensive bibliography, exclusive to The Gilded Age, and video interviews of leading historians such as Maureen Flanagan (Michigan State University), Michael Kazin (Georgetown University), and James Gilbert (University of Maryland). The Gilded Age also brings together primary materials from libraries, museums, and archives including the Newberry Library, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Illinois State Library. 

The collection has been developed under the oversight of an editorial board of scholarly advisors, including Erika Lee of the University of Minnesota, Julie Roy Jeffrey of Goucher College, and Richard Schneirov of Indiana State University.


The content here is very good; much of it will be of great use to American history scholars.

Library Journal