The Story Behind Industrial Pioneers
by Patrick Brown
Industrial Pioneers began as my senior history thesis at Georgetown University. While searching for a topic, I was drawn to the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where I have family roots. I stumbled on some basic facts about the growth of Scranton in the nineteenth century that convinced me that the city had a story to tell—it had grown from 100 to 100,000 people in just sixty years, it produced the steel, iron and coal for an industrializing America, and was “the Electric City” when electricity was the most exciting innovation in the world. While a great deal of information about Scranton during the nineteenth century was available, and a great deal had been written about that general period in American history, I realized that no author had written a comprehensive account of Scranton in the nineteenth century. I sensed an opportunity.
The question underlying Industrial Pioneers is how people adapted their worldviews in response to the extraordinary changes that shaped Scranton in the nineteenth century. I began researching online and in the Georgetown library, and quickly realized that I needed more resources. I travelled to Scranton, where I found rare books about the city’s early history at the Albright Memorial Library and the Lackawanna Historical Society. When I returned, I began writing. I decided to divide my book into four chapters, each of which corresponded with a distinct mindset that residents of Scranton held, and worked on them one by one.
I finished the thesis by May of my senior year of college, and began teaching in the Mississippi Delta the next year. During my first year of teaching, I worked with the Lackawanna Historical Society and Tribute Books to get Industrial Pioneers published. To revise my thesis I went through two rounds of edits with two different editors, revised the introduction and conclusion, compiled an index, assembled a timeline, took an author photo, chose a cover image, sought out endorsements, and worked to find media outlets that might be interested in the book. I sent the information to the publisher and waited. The book was released this past summer.
Patrick Brown was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated Magna cum Laude from Georgetown University, where he won the Morris Medal for best senior history honors thesis. He currently teaches high school social studies in the Mississippi Delta through Teach for America.
His latest book is Industrial Pioneers: Scranton, Pennsylvania and the Transformation of America, 1840-1902, a detailed history account of the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
You can visit his website at http://www.industrialpioneers.com.
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