Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



At the turn of the twentieth century, Americans feared commercially canned foods. From the Spanish American War until well into the 1920’s, canned foods received a barrage of media attacks and accusations of unhealthiness, lack of cleanliness, and a lack of transparency and regulation in processing. Moreover, as gastrointestinal distress was quite prevalent among American society, many Americans feared that it was commercial foods that were making them sick. By the time Americans were coming home from World War II, the climate of opinion concerning commercially canned foods had changed, and this was in large part due to the unyielding fight from commercial canners to refashion their own image and create a lasting consumer market for their products. At the same time, the story of canned foods’ rise from menace to staple of American diets is also a story of how science became embedded in American culture and how Americans became more trusting of experts and professionals. More than a history of an industry, this study attempts to place canned foods in a much larger discussion of the legitimizing power of science, the authority of experts, and American society’s attempts to deal with modernity and a rapidly changing world.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Shindo, Charles



Included in

History Commons