Alexis McCrossen is a professor of history at Southern Methodist University, where she has taught since 1995. She is a cultural historian of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with research interests in the history of timekeeping, religion, technology, cities, and business. McCrossen is the author of Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday (2000) and Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (2013). She is also the editor of and a contributor to Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States-Mexico Borderlands (2009). She is currently working on a book entitled "Time's Touchstone: The New Year in American Life" which will examine the White House's annual New Year's Day reception, New York's Times Square extravaganza, and Watch Night services, among other observances. This research is supported by a 2016-2017 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This illustrated lecture considers a range of interpretive approaches to the FSA-OWI Photography Collection (1936-43) of about 180,000 negatives. In doing so, it is a lecture that is at once about the 1930s and 1940s and about the practice of doing history.