History books, particularly reference volumes of this sort, are not written in "splendid isolation." They are the product of a veritable army of anonymous researchers, librarians, editors, and proofreaders. The members of my writing troop on this volume must begin with a salute to "the usual suspects," who have stuck with me and provided essential support services going on four years: Lois Biege and Peggy Selcer (Nelson). They do it out of love because it sure is not for the fame or the glory.
After them, I am indebted to the historian-teacher Pete Vermi-lyea, who signed on at the beginning as a researcher for a pittance and then proceeded to do first-rate research for the chapters on population; popular culture; and climate, natural history, and historical geography. Also doing invaluable work as research assistants were Claude Armstrong (architecture and design; science and technology; and disasters, natural and human-made), and Dr. Jim King (Religion).
Thanks to Professor Tom Buckley of the University of Minnesota for pointing me in the right direction on the topics transportation and science and technology.
Thanks to Anne Hobart-Lang for help in selecting and assembling pictures to supplement the text. Anne gets the award for patience while I dragged this thing out far longer than anyone anticipated. Thanks also to Leslie Fields of the Gilder-Lehrman Photograph Collection at New York's Pierpont Morgan Library for similar help in locating pictures.
Thanks to Axl Grauman at the National Climactic Data Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce for invaluable help assembling weather data for the 19th century when everyone else said the kind of stuff I wanted did not exist.
Thanks to Ms. Lynn Frazier and other staff members at the Southwest Regional Library in Fort Worth for answering endless requests to do "just a quick search" for some obscure bibliographic information. All librarians should be as knowledgeable and helpful as Lynn!
Thanks to Jerry Parker of Fort Worth for crunching numbers for me to create data tables that make sense. Every historian needs a good accountant who is just a phone call away.
Thanks to Deborah Evans at the Library of Congress (LC) Photo Duplication Department, who was able to cut through procedures while correcting several mistakes in photo orders I placed with the LC—and after only a phone call or two.
Thanks to the staffs of the Mississippi,Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Maryland, and Tennessee Historical Societies for their kind help when I arrived on hit-and-run research trips.
Thanks to Harold Holzer at the NewYork Metropolitan Museum of Art, who graciously took my phone calls and patiently answered this philistine's questions about art matters.
And last, but far from least, thanks to Rick Balkin, who brought this project to me in the first place and applied the carrot and stick (liberally in both cases!) over the four years it took to get it completed. Rick went from being an editor to being a friend-mentor-adviser.
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