“A Place Among Original Investigators:” Walter Wyckoff, Alfred Pierce, and Me

My research is on the Princeton sociologist Walter Augustus Wyckoff. Readers may recall that Wycoff gained a fair amount of fame at the turn of the 20th century through the publication of his two-volume investigation, The Workers: The East and The Workers: The West (1897, 1898). My dissertation traces the connections between Wyckoff’s work and that of authors like Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair.  It is also the first biography of Wyckoff. I show that Wyckoff’s motivation to investigate the working class came from the influence of his “Third-Culture Kid” (TCK) upbringing, as the son of missionaries in India.

On Nippers, Nipper-Napping, and the New York Public Library

In the weeks that followed, Nipper and I worked together—I poring over phonograph industry periodicals and he at projecting his trademark canine bemusement. I occasionally glanced up from my copies of Phonoscope or Voice of the Victor to meditate on my colleague’s recent brush with disaster. How had the statue come to be in the lobby of the Library? And how had it accrued value (or agency?) such that someone would risk their safety and good name to steal it? This business of Nipper-napping, I determined, was a strange enterprise indeed, and one worth trying to understand.