Read PDF In Hock: Pawning in America from Independence through the Great Depression

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E-mail deze pagina. Auteur: Wendy A. Samenvatting The definitive history of pawnbroking in the United States from the nation's founding through the Great Depression, In Hock demonstrates that the pawnshop was essential to the rise of capitalism. The class of working poor created by this economic tide could make ends meet only, Wendy A. Woloson argues, by regularly pawning household objects to supplement inadequate wages. Nonetheless, businessmen, reformers, and cultural critics claimed that pawnshops promoted vice, and employed anti-Semitic stereotypes to cast their proprietors as greedy and cold-hearted.

Using personal correspondence, business records, and other rich archival sources to uncover the truth behind the rhetoric, Woloson brings to life a diverse cast of characters and shows that pawnbrokers were in fact shrewd businessmen, often from humble origins, who possessed sophisticated knowledge of a wide range of goods in various resale markets.

A much-needed new look at a misunderstood institution, In Hock is both a first-rate academic study of a largely ignored facet of the capitalist economy and a resonant portrait of the economic struggles of generations of Americans.

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Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s Wendy Woloson incisively probes the boundaries of American capitalism--how to distinguish 'marginal' markets from pivotal ones; what separates legitimate and illicit economic activities, both in the eyes of the law and according to the norms of ordinary citizens; which groups of Americans embraced consumer culture and its vision of alienable property rights, right down to the rings on one's fingers and the bells on one's toes; and which groups lambasted pawnbroking as an affront to Victorian sentimentalism and evangelical morality.

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In Woloson's artfully interwoven account, the culture of pawning becomes not just an assessment of the ready cash value that many nineteenth-century urbanites attached to their possessions, but a site of creative commerce; at least sometimes, a terrain of neighborly exchange; and always, a social and political battleground. Well written and accessible to a wide and diverse audience. Highly recommended --Choice This excellent study of a specialized small business is filled with insights about the economic behavior of the poor throughout history, up to today's 'Great Recession. With her keen ear for the stories and anecdotes that make the milieus of the working poor come alive, Wendy Woloson captures the vivid and untold history of pawnbroking from the late eighteenth century through the Great Depression, and writes with panache on the many changes this period heralded.

By combining economic, social, and cultural history in order to work in the new and mysterious terrain of the buyers, sellers, and lenders thriving at the edge of our 'legitimate' society, In Hock fulfills its promise to do what no other book has done. Wendy Woloson challenges the many myths associated with pawnbrokers: criminal accomplices, traffickers in stolen goods, immoral usurers, and predatory Shylocks.

This original and insightful analysis of the informal and marginal economy explains how poor, working-class, and sometimes wealthy Americans adapted to economic hardship and temporary setback. In Hock reveals the forgotten evolution and hidden contradictions of the emerging consumer economy in modern America. Gilfoyle, Loyola University--Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Loyola University. Betrokkenen Auteur Wendy A.

In Hock : Pawning in America from Independence Through the Great Depression

Reviews Schrijf een review. Kies je bindwijze. A customer walks into a pawnshop and asks for a loan. He hands over a possession for example, a television to serve as collateral. If the customer fails to pay within a month, the TV becomes the property of the pawnbroker. Usually, the teen has been smoking too much weed, sassing his parents, or failing in school.

He talks in a brisk blue-collar New England accent. Still, he comes across as neither a crook nor an asshole. One busy afternoon, his mother stopped by. She wore magenta nail polish, a Bluetooth earpiece, and a diamond Rolex a gift from her son. Criscio was on the landline in the cramped back hallway, rocking back and forth and fiddling with a wooden sword. He hung up to greet his mother, dodging her kiss like a teenager, then surveyed the scene around him. A woman in a hijab with a baby across her chest stood in line to pick up a money order.

A construction worker in a bright yellow vest waited to buy a lottery ticket. A firefighter cashed a paycheck.


Half a dozen customers waited at the pawn window, their voices getting louder as they competed to be heard by the employees behind the glass. Criscio lifted both hands in surrender. The front door of the pawnshop opened. In walked a huge guy with a scrunched face and a shaved head. Clad in a baggy white and gray tracksuit, his shoulder muscles bulging near his ears, he looked like a giant bulldog.

Fitzgerald has immense respect for the Criscio family. Drug dealers and prostitutes were everywhere, he says.

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The Criscios cleaned the block up. Raised by second-generation Italians in North Branford, Connecticut, Criscio spent his spare time as a kid mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, and growing vegetables to sell to his elementary school teachers. In college, Criscio got gigs as a construction worker, a foreman in a local labor union, and a truck driver delivering donuts to grocery stores in the middle of the night.

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After dropping out of school to play football for the Tampa Bay Bandits and the Montreal Alouettes, he began seeking jobs with higher risks and higher rewards: bail bondsman, police officer, prison guard, bounty hunter. One day in , while Criscio was working as a guard at the New Haven Correctional Center, a fight broke out among 84 inmates. Criscio got caught in the middle, and he ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, a herniated disk, and a torn ACL. After settling with the state for worker compensation benefits, he retired at age Later that year, Criscio and a friend bought space in a commercial building on Howe Street and opened Pawn Palace.

Within a week, the store had hundreds of daily customers.

Mike Criscio Sr. If it works, he gets millions. In , Criscio took a shot at managing the career of Chad Dawson, a promising young boxer from New Haven. Dawson lost another big fight in October. According to one theory, the gold balls represent three coin-filled purses given by Saint Nicholas to a man on the verge of selling his daughters into prostitution. Nick, were there to save the poor from disaster. But history has not been kind to hock shops. The pawnshop, however, is thriving. Until recently, the majority of both European and American pawnshop owners were Jews, and widespread prejudice against them contributed to the stigma.

In reality, they make far more from interest than they do from reselling abandoned pawns. And so on. In September, in a lawsuit against a Stratford pawnbroker, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of a customer who had been charged 20 percent monthly interest on an assortment of watches, bracelets, and rings. But Criscio says pawnshops can tack on storage fees, insurance and other expenses. According to historian Wendy Woloson, most pawnshop customers have no other options. Factory workers with insufficient wages began using their personal possessions as collateral on small cash loans to get them through the week.

Stories from the Great Depression

Pawnshop loans were so essential to the working class that by there was one item in pawn for every New York City resident. She argues that pawnshops provided—and continue to provide—a unique and necessary service to millions of Americans. Or worse. While many people think that pawnshops encourage crime, Stokes thinks they prevent it.

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Pawning nonetheless takes an undeniable toll on its customers. Failure to pay can mean losing precious belongings, and continued renewal can cost hundreds—or thousands—of dollars. It has been broken for Penny, a mentally ill cancer survivor who has a habit of forgetting her weed bag on the pawn counter. It was cold out, but they needed money.

At a. A huge man in a cream-colored polyester suit wheeled a bicycle to the pawn counter, its broken lock hanging around his neck. He was followed by a short guy who had one hand in his pocket and the other hand raised to his lips. Shhh , he mouthed to Stokes, who was working in the back. A state law passed in requires Connecticut pawnshops to register transactions so that local authorities can track stolen items. Every Monday, Criscio sends police a list of items he bought the previous week so police can check it against their theft reports.

But a few years ago, Pop explained, when police stopped reimbursing pawnshops for confiscated goods, pawnbrokers started telling customers not to count on police to recover their belongings.