Dr Lou Martin

Dr. Lou Martin is an associate professor of history at Chatham University, a cofounder of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, and a member of the advisory council of the Ohio River Valley Institute

His first paycheck: I was a busboy at a thoroughbred racetrack near my hometown. My coworkers convinced me to place a bet on one of the races, but not being 21, I had to ask the hostess to do it for me. I asked her to put $5 on Over the Moon to win, but she gave me a concerned look and shook her head in disapproval. I waited for a lecture on the evils of gambling, but then she said, “Okay. But that jockey hasn’t had a win in months. There’s no way Over the Moon is coming in first.”

Latest articles

Ithaca Hours and time-based currencies 

An experiment in 1990s New York was a fairly recent example of a centuries-old idea: local currency projects based on labor.

Issue 12: Resilience
The history of the weekend

Thank goodness it’s Friday? Although we take it for granted, the working week as we know it faced strong resistance.

Issue 12: Resilience
Labor actions in the ancient world

Strikes, a symptom of broken trust between worker and employer, date back to Ancient Egypt and Rome.

Issue 10: Trust
The long road to ban child labor 

Industrialization led to an increased focus on banning child labor, but the efforts continue in the modern day.

Issue 9: Back to School
How will tech advances affect the skilled vs. unskilled pay gap?

Two experts debate the changing wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers.

Issue 7: Equality
The origins of white collar vs. blue collar

The collared divide of occupations emerged in the 1930s, following more than a century of changes in the nature of work and clothing.

Issue 7: Equality
How time-tracking clocks shaped the working world

Despite being thoroughly embedded in today’s professional life, “clocking in” is a relatively modern invention.

Issue 5: Out of Office
Coal company scrip paid to miners often left them deep in debt

The tokens paid in lieu of cash were abundant in remote areas of the U.S. until the mid-20th century, explains history professor Lou Martin.

Issue 3: Place