Brides and Booze: The Alcoholic Wife in Mid-Century Pulp Fiction

“How should he handle his alcoholic wife,” asks the lurid cover of the 1960 novel Alcoholic Wife by G.G. Revelle. “Beat her? Cater to her inflamed desires? Overlook her drunken intimacies with other men? Desert her for his seductive mistress?” With a retail price of 35 cents, the volume helpfully included a list of otherContinue reading “Brides and Booze: The Alcoholic Wife in Mid-Century Pulp Fiction”

A Genealogy of Disclosure: Alcoholism, Celebrity, Feminism

Lately I have been investigating what I call a genealogy of disclosure, asking how the tightly controlled personal narrative of Marty Mann, which she offered in service of a public health mission as she launched the organization that is now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, morphed into our own cultural moment, whereinContinue reading “A Genealogy of Disclosure: Alcoholism, Celebrity, Feminism”

The Little Saloon on the Prairie

With interests in heritage tourism and addiction history, I am always looking for intersections between the two. I found one unexpectedly last summer in Alaska, visiting several brothel museums that celebrated the madams’ business acumen and bootlegging success. I learned recently that Kentucky has a Bourbon Trail with the tagline “Where the Spirit Leads You,”Continue reading “The Little Saloon on the Prairie”

Dr. Bob’s Home, Part III: Creating a Fellowship of Historians

Last fall I described the process through which a team of graduate students from the University of Michigan researched and wrote the nomination for Dr. Bob’s Home, the residence of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Dr. Bob Smith and his wife Anne, to be a National Historic Landmark (NHL).  This week we completed the next step inContinue reading “Dr. Bob’s Home, Part III: Creating a Fellowship of Historians”

“They Call Them Camisoles”: The Short Life and Tragic Death of Wilma Wilson

They Call Them Camisoles is a tantalizing document– Wilma Wilson’s first-person account of her 1939 commitment for alcoholism to the Camarillo State Hospital in California. Published in 1940, the book had recently been out of print.  I learned of it myself a few years ago, and discovered only yesterday that it has been republished in aContinue reading ““They Call Them Camisoles”: The Short Life and Tragic Death of Wilma Wilson”

Drug Exhibitionism: Alcohol and Drug History in a Local Museum

As part of a semester-long series of events related to addiction here at the University of Michigan, a group of students researched and designed an exhibit called “Bad Habits: Drinks, Drags, and Drugs in Washtenaw County History” for a local museum. Co-sponsored by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and by the UniversityContinue reading “Drug Exhibitionism: Alcohol and Drug History in a Local Museum”

Welcome Home, Part II: Dr. Bob’s Home & “Addiction History Exceptionalism”

In a recent post, I described a trip to Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, Ohio, with a group of graduate students in history from the University of Michigan.  The students have spent much of this fall semester writing the nomination for Dr. Bob’s Home to be designated a National Historic Landmark, a process I describedContinue reading “Welcome Home, Part II: Dr. Bob’s Home & “Addiction History Exceptionalism””

Welcome Home: A Journey to Dr. Bob’s House

“Welcome home,” said the man who greeted us as we stood on the sidewalk in front of the Craftsman-style house.  After a long and rainy drive that had begun early that morning, I was grateful to hear those kind words.  Along with a group of graduate students from the University of Michigan, I had drivenContinue reading “Welcome Home: A Journey to Dr. Bob’s House”

“Drunken Orgy” and the Perils of Social Climbing, 1909 Style

So there I was in the back room of a small local history museum in North Dakota, watching the frail-looking director heft large bound volumes of early-twentieth-century newspapers on and off the shelf.  My friend and I were on the trail of a confusing 1909 event in a tiny community on the Great Plains thatContinue reading ““Drunken Orgy” and the Perils of Social Climbing, 1909 Style”

Teaching Points: “Hooked: Addiction in American Culture”: Commentary on the Class

In the second half of her post to the “Teaching Points” series, Contributing Editor Michelle McClellan reflects on how interdisciplinarity works–and doesn’t– in the undergraduate classroom. “So how many of these drugs have you done?”  It was the first day of class, and the question came from a student who was clearly much hipper thanContinue reading “Teaching Points: “Hooked: Addiction in American Culture”: Commentary on the Class”

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