In Philanthropy, Patronage, and Civil Society, Thomas Adam has assembled a comparative set of case studies that challenge long-held and little-studied assumptions about the modern development of philanthropy. Histories of philanthropy have often neglected European patterns of giving and the importance of financial patronage to the emergence of modern industrialized societies. It has long been assumed, for example, that Germany never developed civic traditions of philanthropy as in the United States. In truth, however, 19th-century German museums, art galleries, and social housing projects were not only privately founded and supported, they were also blueprints for the creation of similar public institutions in North America. The comparative method of the essays also reveals the extent to which the wealthy classes on both sides of the Atlantic defined themselves through their philanthropic activities.
Contributors are Thomas Adam, Maria Benjamin Baader, Karsten Borgmann, Tobias Brinkmann, Brett Fairbairn, Eckhardt Fuchs, David C. Hammack, Dieter Hoffmann, Simone Lässig, Margaret Eleanor Menninger, and Susannah Morris.