At first glance, the only common thread weaving through Holly George’s Show Town: Theater and Culture in the Pacific Northwest, 1890–1920, Sarah E. Chinn’s Spectacular Men: Race, Gender, and Nation on the Early American Stage, and Jacob Gallagher-Ross’s Theaters of the Everyday: Aesthetic Democracy on the American Stage is the premise that theater, drama, and performance archive important information about US history and culture. But a closer look reveals that, despite their differing objectives, methodologies, and source materials, all three books demonstrate that we can better understand the experience of everyday life during a particular historical moment when we incorporate theater into the story. These authors approach this task in distinctive ways—through local history (George), close readings of literature (Chinn), and the comparative analysis of works with similar themes (Gallagher-Ross). But together, these monographs suggest that by examining theater and...

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