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Working at PlayA History of Vacations in the United States$
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Cindy S. Aron

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142341.001.0001

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Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures

Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures

(p.15) 1 Recuperation and Recreation: The Pursuit of Health and Genteel Pleasures
Working at Play

Cindy S. Aron

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the foundation of resorts in the United States, the development of the first American vacationing public, and the debate over leisure that emerged toward the middle decades of the 19th century. It explores how elite Americans sought health and pleasure at springs and seashore and how more middling folks used religious camp meetings as sources of both recreation and spiritual restoration. Significantly, neither of these groups would have used the word “vacation” to characterize their ventures. Only in the mid-century were vacations used to describe such journeys—at roughly the same time that ministers, doctors, and journalists began to devote considerable attention to the problems of leisure and amusement. The debate that ensued echoed persistent and enduring tensions within American culture over whether, how much, and under what conditions men and women might allow themselves time away from work for the purpose of recreation.

Keywords:   United States, resorts, vacationing, leisure, recreation, 19th century, health, pleasure, elite, vacations

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