Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Bit More on Mildred Deason's 1952 Oldsmobile 98

Hi folks -- just talked to Grandma today about the previous entry photo of her with her 1952 Oldsmobile 98. She told me that her husband, Jim Golden, went to town saying he was going to buy a new suit. They had just moved to Aiken, S.C. from Prattville, AL, as Jim was working at the Du Pont Savannah River Plant. Instead of coming home with a suit, he came home with that car, which Mildred (Mickey) says her two girls (then age 4 and 3) loved very much.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Automobile as a Background for the Family Photograph

Mildred Deason, my wife's mother, with a snazzy looking hardtop from the early 1950s. Maybe a Mercury?
James Golden ( my wife's father) with brother Ted
You can barely see a 1930s car behind the slew of folks, including Franklin E. Golden.

Franklin E. Golden with a VW, 1961. A tall man from Alabama with a 1961 VW? Taht tells you something about the appeal of the VW at that time!Franklin E. Golden with a VW, 1961. A tall man from Alabama with a 1961 VW? Taht tells you something about the appeal of the VW at that time!

Young Ted Golden. A mid-1930s Chevy?

hi folks -- all of these photos are a part of a fabulous collection that depict the complex relationships connecting together my wife's family. These folks were rooted in central Alabama (Prattville, Clanton). The number of photographs of cars in the background tell us much about values and status and ambitions of everyday Americans over the course of several generations.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hitler's Wheels -- a Mercedes 11/40

1923-5 Benz 11/40

Thanks to Ed Garten for this inforamtion!!!

this just appeared in the November issue of Harper's Magazine:


From a September 13, 1924, letter to Jakob Werlin, a Mercedes-Benz car salesman, from Adolf Hitler. At the time of the letter, Hitler was writing Mein Kampf while serving a thirteen-month sentence in Landsberg Prison for his involvement in the Beer Hall Pusch. In July 2010 this letter and several others that Hitler had written from prison were sold at auction in Furth, Germany, for $33,400. Translated from the German by Natascha Hoffmeyer.
Dear Mr. Werlin!

After reflecting upon our conversation today, I would like to ask you, dear Mr. Werlin, to perhaps intercede for me in two ways. Generally, I am convinced that an 11/40 would suit my present needs. The only thing that is perhaps influencing me is the fact that it runs 300 rotations faster than the 16/50. I would be grateful if you could let me know in your next letter whether you think an rpm of 2250 isn't so high that a car might suffer in the short run.

As I said, this is the only thing that makes me cautious about the 11/40, because I will not be able to afford a new car in two or three years and I cannot take the time every few years to find better, more lucrative work. However, I would like to ask you to perhaps also inquire into what kind of a rebate I would get with either a 16/50 or a 11/40. Also whether there is an 11/40 available in gray with wire-spoke wheels.

The difficulty for me, of course, is that -- even in the case of my release on October 1 -- larger revenues from my book will not be available until mid-December, so I am forced to ask for an advance or loan. It goes without saying that several thousand marks make a difference, as I also have to pay my court and legal costs immediately, which are already making my hair stand on end. Thus, I sincerely ask that you put in a good word for me, since my chance of a purchase genrally depends on it.

In any event, I would like to ask you to reserve the gray car you in have in Munich until I have clarity regarding my fate (probation?). I will le tyou know immediately whether I will be released in October and whether I will be able to buy a car.

Yours most respectfully,

Adolf Hitler

1915 Franklin: Mother-In-Law Seats: from Jay Leno's Garage

1911 Model T Ford
1915 Franklin

I always learn from my students. In this case, Tony Porreci called my attention to a recent video clip on "Jay Leno's Garage" in which Jay describers a mother-in-law seat that was installed on a 1915 Franklin. Personally, if it were my mother-in-law, I would like that seat to have a very loose set of hold-down bolts!
This connects well with a section in my book "The Automobile and American Life" that deals with how courtship changed because of the coming of the automobile. here it is: (and please buy the book!)

Previously, “calling” was the traditional means by which couples were brought together. “Calling” was a courtship custom, and it involved three central tenets of middle class American life: the family, respectability, and privacy. Calling admitted the male into the young woman’s private home, where boys engage in conversation with the girl under the watchful eyes of her mother. Tea was often served, and perhaps the girl would display her musical talents and play the piano as light entertainment. All of this took place in the parlor. Mothers, the guardians of respectability and morals, decided who could call on their daughters and who could not. Daughters could request a certain male visitor, but the mothers made the final decision as to his acceptability. Family honor and name, along with class boundaries, were to be respected.
The calling ritual as practiced resulted in giving middle class mothers and daughters a measure of control. How much of this was real and actually practiced is certainly open to question, particularly since horse-drawn carriages, the woods, and the haystack were also options for young couples. But community controls and prevailing rituals and beliefs certainly have power. Yet it is undeniable that the emergence of the automobile and dating caused the loss of some of that control as power shifted from women to men. Under the calling system the woman asked the man; but in dating, the male had the car and invited the female out beyond the sphere of the parental domain. Cars took young couples off porch swings, outside of home parlors, and far away from concerned mothers and irritating brothers and sisters.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"The Last Cruise-In" -- Across from the Greene, October 22, 2020

1961 Jag MK II
A modified Triumph TR-6 engine -- 200 hp!
Dash from a 1952 Lincoln Capri
Hi folks-- it has been a slow couple of months on the blog. Too much to do at school and, as I was occupied with travel and grant application preparation, my schedule has kept me away from my blogging tasks. Last night, however, was a glorious Friday evening here in Southwest Ohio, and I took the opportunity to go to what may well be the last cruise-in of the season at in Kettering, located across from the Greene. It was sparsely attended, but I caught a few nice cars. Speaking to an old by who was sitting in front of his vehicle, he expressed sadness that winter was around the corner and that our "endless summer" was coming to an end. For me this is all tempered somewhat by my moving on to San Diego next term. Hope has replaced despair and the prospect of a dark winter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The History of Auto Theft: A Bibliography

Archival Sources
Record Group 60, National Archives, Records of the Department of Justice (General Records of the Department of Justice. Class 26, Dyer Act – Automobile Theft); Litigation Case Files, Compiled 1919-1960).
Record Group 129, NA, Records of the Bureau of Prisons, Notorious Offender Files, Gabriel Vigoretti Files.
Vertical File, Theft Protection, National Automotive History Collection, Detroit
University of Toledo Archives. Auto Theft Records, City of Toledo, 1923-1929.
Government Documents
Harlow, Caroline Wolf. Motor Vehicle Theft. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of justice Statistics, 1988.
Klaus, Patsy A. Carjacking, 1993-2002. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2004. Electronic Resource.

Mexico—providing for the recovery and return of stolen or embezzled motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, or the component parts of any of them: message from the President of the United States transmitting a convention between the United States of America and the United Mexican States for the recovery and return of stolen or embezzled motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, or the component parts of any of them, signed at Mexico City on October 6, 1936. Washington: G.P.O., 1937.
National Association of Attorneys General. Committee on the Office of Attorney General. Organized Auto Theft. Raleigh, NC, 1979.
National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal justice, U.S. Department of Justice. Preliminary Study on the Effectiveness of Auto Anti-theft Devices. Washington: G.P.O., 1975.
Treaty with Honduras for Return of Stolen, Robbed, and Embezzled Vehicles…Signed at Tegucigalpa on November 23, 2001. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 2002.
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, 69th Congress 1st Session. Amendment of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. January 18, 1926. Washington, D.C. G.P.O., 1926.
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act: Joint hearing before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Washington: G.P.O., 1980
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act of 1980: Report Together with Additional and Dissenting Views. Washington: G.P.O., 1980.
United Staes. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Treaties with Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Panama…. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 2000.
United States. 1937, Convention with Mexico providing for the recovery and return of stolen or embezzled motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, or the component parts of any of them: report (to accompany Executive A, 75th Cong., 1st sess.). Washington: U.S. G.P.O.

Secondary Sources and Methodology
Blanke, David. Hell on Wheels: the Promise and Peril of America’s Car Culture, 1900-1940. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2007.
Borg, Kevin. Auto Mechanics: Technology and Expertise in Twentieth-Century America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Brilliant, Ashleigh. The Great Car Craze: How Southern California Collided with the Automobile in the 1920s. Santa Barbara, CA: Woodbridge Press, 1989.
Bottles, Scott L. Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of a Modern City. Berkeley: Los Angeles, 1987.

Challinger, Dennis. "Car Security Hardware -- How GoodIs It?" In Car Theft: Putting on the Brakes, Proceedings of Seminar on Car Theft, May 21, 1987. Sydney: National Roads and Motorists' Association, 1987.

Chaplin, Healther. Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin, 2005.

Clarke, Ronald V. and Patricia M. Harris. “Auto Theft and Prevention. “ Crime and Justice, 16 (1992), 1-54.
Corman, Hope, and Naci Mocan, “Carrots, Sticks, and Broken Windows.” Journal of Law and Economics, 48 (April, 2005), 235-66.
Dubber, Markus D. and Lindsay Farmer. Modern Histories of Crime and Punishment. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.
Emsely, Clive and Louis A. Knafla. Crime History and Histories of Crime: Studies in the Historiography of Crime and Criminal Justice in Modern History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.
Flink, James J. The Automobile Age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988.
Godfrey, Barry, Chris A. Williams, and Paul Lawrence. History & Crime. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2008.
Gould, Leroy C. “The Changing Structure of Property Crime in an Affluent Society.” Social Forces, 48 (September, 1969), 50-59.
Hall, Jerome. “Theft, Law, and Society.” American Bar Association Journal, 54 (October, 1968), 960-7.
Harris, Patricia M. and Ronald V. Clarke. "Car Chopping, Parts Marking and the Motor Vehicle Theft Enforcement Act of 1984." Sociology and Social Research, 75 (1991), 228-238.
Heitmann, John. The Automobile and American Life. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland, 2009.
Hibbert, Christopher. The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978.
Hidy, Logan A. “A Study of Automobile Theft and of the Juvenile Involved.” M.A. Thesis, Ohio University, 1951.
Karmen, Andrew A. "Auto Theft and Corporate Irresponsibility." Contemporary Crises, 5 (1981), 63-81.
Lamm, Michael. “Are Car Keys Obsolete,” American Heritage Invention & Technology 23 (Summer 2008): 7 ff.
Rick Linden, etal. “Research, Policy Development, and Progress: Antisocial Behavior and the Automobile,” Canadian Public Policy, 36 (March, 2010), S83-S93.
Miller, Kiri. “Grove Street Grimm: Grand Theft Auto and Digital Folklore,” Journal of American Folklore, 121 (Summer, 2008), 255-285.
McGurrin, Lisa. "The Lowdown on Lo-Jack." New England Business, 10 (1988), 48-53.
Norton, Peter D. Fighting Traffic: the Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

O'Connell, Sean. The Car and British Society: Class, Gender and Motoring, 1896-1939. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1998.

Outerbridge, William R, et. al. “The Dyer Act Violators: A Typology of Federal Car Thieves.” University of California: January 1967.

Rae, John B. The American Automobile. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965.

Ratledge, Marcus Wayne. Hot Cars! An inside Look at the Auto Theft industry. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1982.

Seiler, Cotton. Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press,2008.

Turnbull, Linda S., Elaine Hallesey Hendrix, Borden D. Dent. Atlas of Crime: Mapping the Criminal Landscape. Phoenix, AZ, Oryx press, 2000.
Wolcott, David. “The Cop Will Get You”: The Police and Discretionary Juvenile Justice, 1890-1940. The Journal of Social History, 35, (Winter 2001): 349-371.

Primary Source Ephemera, Articles and Books

Baughman, Austin E. “Protective Measures for the Automobile and Its Owner.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: The Automobile Its Province and Its Problems, 116, (Nov., 1924): 194-198.

Brennan, John. “Automobile Thefts.” The American City, December 1917.

Bulger, James E. “Automobile Thefts.” Journal of Law and Criminology, 23, (Jan. - Feb., 1933): 806-810.

“Catching Auto Thieves.” The American City. October 1936.

Chapman Industries Corporation. Chapman Security Systems. Elk Grove Village, IL: Chapman Industries, 1979.

___________________________. How to Steal a Car (its easy!). Elk Grove Village, IL: Chapman Industries, 1987.

“Checking Automobile Thefts as Massachusetts Does It.” The Literary Digest. October 9, 1920.

Chamberlain, Henry Barrett. “The Proposed Illinois Bureau of Criminal Records and Statistics.” Journal of the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, 12 (Feb., 1922): 518-528.

Cline, C. Frank. Investigation of Auto theft with Particular Reference to Various Modus Operandi. N.P.: n.p., 1940.

Cochran, Wallace C.D. “The Auto Thief Stopper: A pamphlet Addressed to Capital, and Pointing the Way to the Establishment of a Gigantic New Business Enterprise, VIZ : -- Wholesale Automobile Theft Insurance, with the Risk Eliminated.” 1922. Vertical File, Theft Protection, National Automotive History Collection.

Courtney, Thomas J. “Hot Shorts.” Saturday Evening Post, November 30, 1935.

Crossman, Edward C. “How Your Automobile May Be Stolen.” Illustrated World, March 1917.

Davis, William J. “Stolen Automobile Investigations.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 28, (Jan. - Feb., 1938): 720-738.

Deloach, E.R. “SCR Auto Burglar Alarm.” Electronics World, 76 (August, 1966), 64-5.

Foiling the Auto Thief: the Fedco System of Automobile Theft Prevention and Detection. New York: Fedco Number Plate Corporation, 1927.

Gatlin, Dana. “In Case of Theft.” Collier’s, January 8, 1916.

Gleason, Sterling. “Auto-Stealing Racket Smashed by New Methods.” Popular Science Monthly, August 1934.
Gutknecht. The Chicago Boys’ Court in 1933. A Report on its Organization, Procedure and Results – An Analysis of its Wrecking and the Responsibility of the Chicago Crime Commission – A Discussion of its Relations to Auto Thefts and Auto Fences – A Program for Reconstruction – A Challenge to the Citizens of Chicago. N.P., n.p., 1935?

Hall, Jerome. “Federal Anti-Theft Legislation.” Law and Contemporary Problems: Extending Federal Powers over Crime, 1,(Oct., 1934): 424-434.

Hepbron, James M. “The Baltimore Crime Commission.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Crime: Its Prevention and Punishment, 125, (May 1926): 103-106.

Hoover, J. Edgar. “Bla-Bla, Black Man.” American Magazine, September 1936.

Hoover, J. Edgar. "Auto Theft is Big Business." Motor Trend, 4(December, 1952), 17-19.

“How Safe Is Your Automobile?” Popular Mechanics Magazine. October 1924.

“Joe Newell recovered 630 stolen automobiles last year.” American Magazine. February 1925.

Johnston, Alexander. “Stop Thief!” Country Life, June 1919.

“Let the Auto Thief Beware.” Illustrated World. August 1919.

Lewis, Roy. “Watch Your Car.” Outing, May 1917.

Mandel, Arch. “The Automobile and the Police.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: The Automobile Its Province and Its Problems, 116, (Nov., 1924): 191-194.

Mead, Bennet. “Police Statistics.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: The Police and the Crime Problem, 146, (Nov., 1929): 74-95.

“More than a quarter of a million cars stolen each year.” Travel. October 1925.

“My Car Has No Title.” Popular Science, 166 (February, 1955), 132-135.

O’Connor, Liam. “Last Night My Car Was Stolen.” Popular Science, 162 (May 1953), 116-119.

Ogle, Alfred G. Automobile Insurance Against fire, Theft, Explosion, and Transportation Risks. Brooklyn, NY: the company, 1910.

Perry, Harry Wilkin. “Anti-Joy Ride Devices,” Scientific American (January 15, 1910), 51,

“Preventing Auto Theft.” Popular Science Monthly. March 1926.

Potter, Ellen C. “Spectacular Aspects of Crime in Relation to the Crime Wars.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Crime: Its Prevention and Punishment, 125, (May 1926): 1-19.
“Radatron Auto Sentry Educational Burglar Alarm Kit,” Radio-Electronics, 44 (March, 1973), 26.

Rubin, Edward. “A Statistical Study of Federal Crime Prosecutions.” Law and Contemporary Problems, 1, (Oct., 1934): 494-508.

Rules, Rates and Premiums Governing the Insuring of Automobiles Against the Hazards of Fire and Transportation, theft, Comprehensive, Collision and Miscellaneous Coverages. Chicago: Branham, 1932.

Sandler, J. “Build PM’s undercover Auto Cop.” Popular Mechanics, 157 (march, 1982), 24.
“Science Fights Crime With New Inventions,” Science News Letter (March 16, 1935): 164.
Shepherd, William G. “I wonder who’s driving her now. Colliers, July 23, 1927.

Smith, Ernest M. “Services of the American Automobile Association.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: The Automobile Its Province and Its Problems. 116, (Nov., 1924): 269-274.

Simpson, George E. “The Chicago Crime Commission.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 26, (Sep., 1935): 401-420.

Teale, Edwin. “Auto Stealing Now $50,000,000-a-Year Racket.” Popular Science Monthly, January 1933.

“To Discourage Auto-Thieves Don’t Buy From Them.” The Literary Digest. November 1, 1919.

“Tricks of the Automobile Thief.” Popular Mechanics Magazine. May 1929.

“Two Kinds of Motor Thefts -- Real and Imitation.” The Literary Digest, August 26, 1922.

“U.S. Agents Prepare to Hunt Auto Thieves,” November 22, 1919, clipping, Vertical File, Theft Protection, National Automotive History Collection.

“Undoing Dyer.” Time Magazine March 24, 1930.

Winkleplech , R.L., “Stamp Out Auto theft [Auto Sentinel Alarm].” Popular Electronics, 26 (March, 1967), 59-61.

Works of Fiction
Bolin, M.C. Gone in 60 Seconds: a Novel. New York: Hyperion, 2000.
Boyle, T. Coraghessan. Talk Talk: a novel. New York: Penguin, 2007.
Brewer, Steve. Boost. Denver, CO: Speck Press, 2004.
Dale, William. Outside the Law. New York: Dodge Publishing, 1938.
Evanovich, Janet. Motor Mouth. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.
Gores, Joe. 32 Cadillacs. New York: Mysterious Press, 1992.
Janson, Hank. The Exotic Seductress. Derby, CT: New International Library, 1964.
Klein, Edwin G. The Stolen Automobile. N.P.: the author, 1919.
March, Stephen. Armadillo. Huntsville, TX: Texas Review Press, 2003.
Watts, Timothy. Grand Theft. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2003.
Westlake, Donald E. The Road to Ruin. Thorndike, ME: Center Point Publishing, 2004.
"Gone in Sixty Seconds" (1974), Toby Halicki
"Gone in Sixty Seconds" (2000), Touchstone
Internet Sources
"Motor Vehicle Theft (most recent) by State."… Accessed October 13, 2010.
Barry Webb. Steering Column Locks and Motor Vehicle Theft: Evaluations from Three Countries. Police Research Group, U.K.,1984. Accessed October 15, 2010.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Car Cloning: A New Twist on an Old Crime."… Accessed October 14, 2010.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Lawless Years: 1921-1933,” [Database Online] (Washington DC accessed 17 May 2008) available from http://www.fbi.gvov/libref/ historic/history/lawless.htm.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Brief Review of Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soul Craft; The Philosopher-Mechanic and his Motorcycles

A Brief Review of Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soul Craft.

I'm just beginning to read my students' review of Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soul Craft, and so far the quality of responses has been quite good. Ideally, this book should be read alongside Kevin Borg's Auto Mechanics: the former is a philosophical discourse that nicely overlaps with the far more concrete scholarly analysis of the latter. Most fundamentally, the Crawford book uncovers some of what ails todays' society -- namely the fact that there are a large group of unhappy white collar workers (and students who aspire to join the knowledge economy) -- all of whom are ill-fitted psychologically to spend their lives are organization people confined to the cubical. Thanks in part to the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor and his Principles of Scientific Management (1911), there has been a separation of knowing from doing, and we are the worse for that process. Manual work has been degraded, the trades are to be avoided as careers, and consequently plumbers make $80/hr and will never be replaced by offshore Chinese or Indians.
There is a strong autobiographical strand in this book, and Crawford's personal story is both interesting and at times entertaining. If you have ever worked on your own motorcycle or automobile, the book will certainly resonate with you. But more importantly, this is book to be read by young people as they make those crucial decisions related to career.

Do I buy into all that Crawford says in this fast-read? Not quite. For he looks at the trades through rose colored glasses, forgetting to mention the many plumbers who are unhappy with their lives and their career choice. He also fails to account for the slippery issue of class and vocation, and the matter of self esteem and perceived social ranking. Crawford came for a thoroughly middle class family background; had he experienced blue collar life as a child, he may well have better understood why so many kids from that ladder of society wish to escape it, despite the promise that working with one's hands brings iwith it autonomy, community and self-satisfaction.