Theses Doctoral

Empire’s Stores: The Architecture of Conveyance and Corporate Imperialism in America, 1890–1930

Sturtevant, Elliott

This dissertation examines how American businesses’ focus on transportation and trade came to be key agents of US imperialism at the turn of the twentieth century. Extending our understanding of the architecture and urbanism of US industry and commerce, “Empire’s Stores” turns to the design, construction, and maintenance of transnational and transimperial supply chains and the physical infrastructure that made them possible—what I call the architecture of conveyance.

Divided into four chapters, the project examines the built environment created by a set of firms and related industries selected geographically: to the West, the “Big Five” sugar factors and their predecessors operating in the Hawaiian Islands; to the North, the Niagara Falls Power Company and related hydroelectric concerns located along the Niagara Frontier; to the South, the United Fruit Company’s operations, including both tourism and trade, anchored in the Port of New Orleans; and, to the East, the storage, handling, and shipment of freight at the Bush Terminal Company in Brooklyn, New York. Through these case studies I show how American corporations produced and profited from imperial formations and, in doing so, reshaped territorial, geographic, and economic borders.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Martin, Reinhold I.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 15, 2023