A Tale of Two Markets: the People and Culture of American Flea Markets
Type of Degreethesis
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This thesis explores the people and culture of American flea markets from roughly the 1880s through the present day. American flea markets started in the late nineteenth century by newly arrived immigrants who utilized them for economic and social opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. Flea markets catered toward middle- and upper-class desires emerged in the 1950s and grew in popularity from the 1960s to the present. This thesis traces the history of both types of markets by examining the ways in which people used them, public reactions toward them, and how the popular media presented them.