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A Manufactured WildernessSummer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890-1960$
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Abigail A. Van Slyck

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780816648764

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816648764.001.0001

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Putting Campers in Their Place

Putting Campers in Their Place

Camp Landscapes and Changing Ideas of Childhood

(p.xxxviii) (p.1) Chapter 1 Putting Campers in Their Place
A Manufactured Wilderness

Abigail A. van Slyck

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the cultural meaning of the camp landscape. Camps played a key role in the wholesale transformation of the rural landscape that took place as North Americans began to value the wilderness at least as highly as cultivated land. While parks were the result of well-organized and state-sanctioned efforts to preserve the wilderness, children’s summer camps were part of a widespread but largely uncoordinated process by which private enterprise reclaimed large tracts of productive land, transforming them into a version of the wilderness and redirecting them to recreational use. In fact, summer camps were embedded in a landscape in which recreational, industrial, agricultural, and public lands were often in close proximity.

Keywords:   camp landscape, camps, rural landscape, cultivated land, wilderness, summer camps, public lands

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