Past Event

For America's Traveling Salesman It Has Been a Laughing Matter

A Road Scholar Program by Ronald Solberg

America’s traveling salesman humor is a genre unto itself, in that it is both utilitarian and entertaining, filling literally dozens of turn-of-the-century pamphlets and books. The jokes and the news he carried were a way for the salesman to ingratiate himself to the customer. Salesmen jokes tell us a lot about these knights (and ladies) of the road, as well as a lot about ourselves and changing mores. This 200 years-worth of humor has been gathered from the stacks of the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and Chicago’s Newberry Library.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Julie Mastny, 815.734.4927.