Author

Ian J. Jesse

Date of Award

8-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Advisor

Scott W. See

Second Committee Member

Jacques Ferland

Third Committee Member

Richard W. Judd

Abstract

During the nineteenth century numerous working-class men found it increasingly more difficult to become economically independent, and the men who occupied the Northeast were no different. With limited economic options men from the Maritime provinces of Canada moved into Maine and the rest of New England in search of wages. Many of these men found work in the woods and mills of Maine. When these workers crossed the border they brought with them their cultures and traditions and, for Joe Scott and Larry Gorman, this involved composing songs. These composers shared their songs with the men around them who in turn shared them with other people. The songs of Scott and Gorman were remembered on both sides of the border that separated the United States and the Maritime provinces of Canada and connected the region. Within these songs was a rich discourse of masculinity that gender historians have yet to recognize. Several of Scott's songs outline characteristics that the working-class men of the Northeast valued and provided good examples of men. Such characteristics were prescribed to fictional lumberman to communicate these positive values to a wider audience. Conversely, Gorman's songs critiqued behaviors and defined bad men. His bosses were the subjects of several songs that functioned as an informal means for him to speak out against his employers and claim a degree of authority during a period when men in his situation may have felt they had none at all. By re-evaluating these songs simple notions of gendered identities become complex; rather than prescribe identities that were simply masculine or feminine, these working-class men recognized that there were both positive and negative masculine identities. Furthermore, while these songs created a musical connection that reached across the border, they also created a gendered link which highlights the connected past of the Northeast.

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