Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Alfred Fabian Young  

Pen Name: Alfred F. Young

Genre:

Born:


-- Alfred Fabian Young on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=alfred+fabian+young


Illinois Connection

Alfred Young is a Professor Emeritus of History at Northern Illinois University.

Biographical and Professional Information

In retirement, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago, until 2005. Afterward, he published two biographies: one of Hewes, the other of Deborah Sampson, a woman soldier in the Revolution, as well as a collection of essays; two more books will be published in 2011. Dr. Young has received many prestigious awards, including a Distinguished Service Award from the Organization of American historians.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution
ISBN: 0807054054

Beacon Press. 2000

George Robert Twelves Hewes, a Boston shoemaker who participated in such key events of the American Revolution as the Boston Massacre and the Tea Party, might have been lost to history if not for his longevity and the historical mood of the 1830's. When the Tea Party became a leading symbol of the Revolutionary ear fifty years after the actual event, this 'common man' in his nineties was 'discovered' and celebrated in Boston as a national hero. Young pieces together this extraordinary tale, adding new insights about the role that individual and collective memory play in shaping our understanding of history.

Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier
ISBN: 0679761853

Vintage. 2005

In Masquerade, Alfred F. Young scrapes through layers of fiction and myth to uncover the story of Deborah Sampson, a Massachusetts woman who passed as a man and fought as a soldier for seventeen months toward the end of the American Revolution.

Deborah Sampson was not the only woman to pose as a male and fight in the war, but she was certainly one of the most successful and celebrated. She managed to fight in combat and earn the respect of her officers and peers, and in later years she toured the country lecturing about her experiences and was partially successful in obtaining veterans’ benefits. Her full story, however, was buried underneath exaggeration and myth (some of which she may have created herself), becoming another sort of masquerade. Young takes the reader with him through his painstaking efforts to reveal the real Deborah Sampson in a work of history that is as spellbinding as the best detective fiction.

Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution
ISBN: 0814796850

NYU Press. 2006

With the publication of Liberty Tree, acclaimed historian Alfred F. Young presents a selection of his seminal writing as well as two provocative, never-before-published essays. Together, they take the reader on a journey through the American Revolution, exploring the role played by ordinary women and men (called, at the time, people out of doors) in shaping events during and after the Revolution, their impact on the Founding generation of the new American nation, and finally how this populist side of the Revolution has fared in public memory.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, which include not only written documents but also material items like powder horns, and public rituals like parades and tarring and featherings, Young places ordinary Americans at the center of the Revolution. For example, in one essay he views the Constitution of 1787 as the result of an intentional accommodation by elites with non-elites, while another piece explores the process of ongoing negotiations would-be rulers conducted with the middling sort

women, enslaved African Americans, and Native Americans. Moreover, questions of history and modern memory are engaged by a compelling examination of icons of the Revolution, such as the pamphleteer Thomas Paine and Boston's Freedom Trail.

For over forty years, history lovers, students, and scholars alike have been able to hear the voices and see the actions of ordinary people during the Revolutionary Era, thanks to Young's path-breaking work, which seamlessly blends sophisticated analysis with compelling and accessible prose. From his award-winning work on mechanics, or artisans, in the seaboard cities of the Northeast to the all but forgotten liberty tree, a major popular icon of the Revolution explored in depth for the first time, Young continues to astound readers as he forges new directions in the history of the American Revolution.

We the People: Voices and Images of the New Nation (Critical Perspectives on the Past)
ISBN: 0877229376

Temple Univ Pr. 1993

The history of the American Revolution has been obscured by hero worship and sacred symbols. Using original sources - articles of clothing, crafts, artwork, tools, as well as documents - Alfred F. Young and Terry J. Fife attempt to "rescue from oblivion" the ordinary men and women who played so vital a role in shaping the new nation and whose stories have been eclipsed by the extraordinary leaders of that era.
Based on a permanent exhibition at the Chicago Historical Society, We the People offers an unfamiliar approach to familiar material. It addresses two central questions: What roles did ordinary people play in creating the nation? and, To what extent did they achieve the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? More than two hundred artifacts are analyzed in their historic context to explore the meaning of the revolutionary era. The authors invite readers to evaluate and interpret visual evidence from the past: revered objects such as the original Declaration of Independence and Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre are juxtaposed with objects of everyday life - a slave's shackles, a soldier's powder horn, a letter from a "minuteman" in the the Battle of Lexington.
Blending new social and cultural history with traditional political narrative, Young and Fife redefine and restore the controversies that marked the revolutionary era from the perspective of ordinary people as well as the "founding fathers." George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson figure prominently in this history, as do farmers, artisans, women, African Americans, and American Indians. The book is unique in the way it frames the period, expanding the story of the founding of the Republic by extending it a full generation beyond the Revolution into the early national era and by extending it geographically into the Old Northwest.
With arresting images and authentic voices, We the People captures an American past that will appeal to students, scholars, and general readers who are interested in confronting anew fundamental questions about the founding of America that resonate in our own era.


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