The James P. Danky Fellowship

2016 Danky Fellow Mark Hauser

Mark Hauser is a PhD candidate in the History department at Carnegie Mellon University. He is interested in the development of the mass consumer economy in the early twentieth century. His dissertation, tentatively titled “All the Comforts of Hell: Doughboys and American Mass Culture in the First World War,” explores how the American military borrowed from the American consumer economy to develop entertainment and morale programs during World War I in an effort to improve soldiers’ quality of life.

Hauser’s dissertation examines the centralization of men and materials by the United States government, major corporations, and charities during World War I, which played a key role in disseminating and strengthening the grasp of mass culture on American society. The country drafted soldiers from both urban and rural communities, building its armed forces from across racial, ethnic, and class boundaries; while men served in training camps and trenches, thousands of women joined charitable organizations to support them. In order to maintain morale and keep soldiers away from vice, the military and charitable organizations began to incorporate mass-produced entertainment and consumer goods into their morale-building programs. Soldiers and the charity workers who encountered these new forms of mass-produced goods during their leisure time began to develop an identity as soldier-consumers, learning from their wartime experiences about the potential benefits (and drawbacks) of new forms of entertainment (for example movies and spectator sports), new ideas about how to spend leisure time (traveling for vacation), and new forms of personal care (safety razors).

Hauser will use the Wisconsin Historical Society’s extensive collection of training camp, frontline, and veterans’ newspapers as an important part of his research. Articles in these newspapers document the smaller units of the Army that The Stars and Stripes cannot capture in much detail because of its focus on the entire American military. These papers capture a variety of entertainments including card games and music the soldiers produced themselves, as well as the offerings of mass culture such has motion pictures, guided tourist activities at Leave Areas, and major sporting events such as the Inter-Allied Games. Although many of these newspaper collections consist of only a few issues, they outline both the personal and the mass entertainment programs that were a part of soldiers’ daily lives, reactions to that entertainment, and the lessons that veterans brought back to America with them. The Wisconsin Historical Society also contains several photographic collections relating to World War I that consist of hundreds of photographs demonstrating how individual soldier-consumers actually used mass culture, as well as a few collections of personal papers of the performers who traveled to Europe to entertain American soldiers. By examining these sources, Hauser hopes to demonstrate how the development of mass entertainment itself was a complex give and take between performer and audience, analogizing this experience in World War I to include entertainment producers and consumers more generally across the American economy.

Past Danky Fellows


About the Fellowship

In honor of James P. Danky's long service to print culture scholarship, the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Historical Society, is offering an annual short-term research fellowship.

The Danky Fellowship provides $1000 in funds for one individual planning a trip to carry out research using the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society (please see details of the collections at Grant money may be used for travel to the WHS, costs of copying pertinent archival resources, and living expenses while pursuing research here. If in residence during the semester, the recipient will be expected to give a presentation as part of the colloquium series of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture.

Preference will be given to:

  • proposals undertaking research in print culture history
  • research likely to lead to publication 
  • researchers early in their career
  • researchers from outside Madison

We strongly encourage applicants to speak with Lee Grady, Reference Archivist at the WHS ( or 608-264-6459) before applying for a grant. Lee may be able to identify potential collections of which you may not otherwise be aware.

There is no application form.  Applicants must submit:

1)  A cover sheet with name, telephone, permanent address and e-mail, current employer/affiliation, title of project, and proposed dates of residency.

2)  A letter of two single-spaced pages maximum describing the project and its relation to specifically cited collections at the society and to  previous work on the same theme, and describing the projected outcome of the work, including publication plans. If residents of the Madison area are applying, they must explain their financial need for the stipend.

3)  Curriculum vitae.

4) Two confidential letters of reference. Graduate students must include their thesis advisor.

Applications are due on May 1. We are currently accepting applications.

Please email applications to: 

Anna Palmer
Coordinator, Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture


All donations are tax deductible.

Please visit to make a donation to the Danky Fellowship. Leave a message in the Comments box to designate your donation for the Danky Fellowship.

You may also write a check (marked "Danky Fellowship") payable to the Wisconsin Historical Foundation and mail it to: Wisconsin Historical Foundation, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706-1482 (phone: 608-261-9364).

Thank you for your generosity.