Swimming pools, civic life, and social capital

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the history of swimming pools in the United States during the twentieth century, focusing on what the changing patterns of social interaction at pools reveal about civic life in America. It briefly looks at the early twentieth century, when blacks and whites swam together but men and women and rich and poor did not. The chapter examines the social transformation that occurred in pool use during the 1920s and 1930s, when pools became integrated along class and gender lines but segregated along racial lines. It interprets the splintering of pool use that occurred after World War II, when millions of Americans abandoned municipal pools and chose to swim instead at private clubs or in their own backyards..

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Sport
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118325261
ISBN (Print)9781405191609
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013


  • American society
  • Civic life
  • Social transformation
  • Swimming pools
  • World War


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