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Credit, capital and community: informal banking in turn-of-the-century immigrant communities in the United States, 1880-1924

By the 1990s, the social and cultural history of banking has become one of the more active and exciting areas of research within the general field of business history. No recent study has captured the intellectual possibilities of this topic better than Lendol Calder's Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, which traces the development of the small loan business, usury law, and changing public attitudes toward consumption-based debt within the day-to-day experiences of average Americans. It widens the historical lens to encompass not only institutional studies -- long the meat and potatoes of banking history -- but to include ethnic and cultural attitudes as well, long the staples of social history.

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