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Alexis McCrossen
Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX 75205)
A History of New Year's Observances in the United States, 1800-2000

A book-length study of the history of New Year’s observances in the United States.

I seek a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support the completion of a book-length manuscript about the history of New Year's observances in the United States titled "Resolutions and Revelry." The book moves from the first years of the republic to the millennial events of 2000, highlighting how the turning point in the calendar promised a fresh beginning, the hopes for which were, in turn, aimed at renewing faith in democracy and individual promise. The three parts of the book focus on the White House New Year’s Day reception hosted annually between 1800 and 1932; watch-night services and other celebrations associated with freedom held since December 31, 1862 when African-Americans and abolitionists waited for the stroke of midnight; and the festivities characterizing Times Square since the first ball drop in 1908. Recovering New Year’s celebrations over time is a dramatic way to study the impact of democracy and modernity on American society and culture.

Project fields:
American Studies; Cultural History; U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2016 – 4/30/2017