Skip to main content

Distributed for University of Scranton Press

The Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Industry, 1860-1902

This is the definitive book on the economic development of the anthracite coal industry from the onset of the American Civil War to the "Great Strike" of 1902. In contrast to previous studies, it situates the industry both within its national and regional contexts.  The restricted extent of the coalfields themselves is contrasted with a widening coal distribution region, stretching from the Eastern Seaboard cities to encompass Chicago and the Great Lakes ports.   Against a background of fluctuating economic circumstances, the book examines the changing relationships between anthracite carrying railroads and mining companies, as the former increasingly assumed control of both coal-bearing lands and the mines and coal breakers themselves.  Extensive analysis of railroad company accounts and correspondence, together with statistical data on many hundreds of mines, is used to evaluate the decision-making and investment behaviour of entrepreneurs and corporate managers, acting individually or "in combination," and to trace in the landscape the intended and unintended consequences of their actions. 

The text is accompanied by a wealth of figures, tables and maps to illustrate the regional and temporal dynamics of the processes involved. A central gallery of high-quality reproductions of rare historic photographs evokes with startling clarity the unique industrial landscapes of the "Coal Regions," dominated as they were by the ubiquitous coal breaker.

The importance of the anthracite coal industry to America’s economic growth in the nineteenth century cannot be overstated, and with this book, Richard G. Healey has deftly and convincingly illuminated this essential period of American history.

650 pages | 20 halftones, 15 maps, 187 tables | 8 1/2 x 11

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies

History: American History

University of Scranton Press image

View all books from University of Scranton Press


"Healey’s sweeping examination of the business of anthracite coal from 1860 to 1902 comprises a very significant contribution to American industrial history as a whole. . . . Stunning period photographs of coal breakers and mine workings add to the book’s richness. Indeed, there are few questions about the business . . . that this volume cannot address, and the space allowed for this review cannot do justice to the comprehensive nature of Healey’s study."

Kenneth C. Wolensky | Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press