Bookshelf provides descriptions and notices of recent publications on Pennsylvania subjects.

Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans
by Scott T. Swank, et al.
The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1983 (309 pages, cloth, $39.95)

This handsomely designed and illustrated book might well be considered the finest compilation to date on the material culture of one of the most studied subcultures in American history – the Penn­sylvania Germans. The com­bined effort of a number of experts in the field of Penn­sylvania “Dutch” arts, most of whom are currently on the staff of the Winterthur Mu­seum, this attractive volume combines aesthetics with uncompromising scholarship. Beginning with a brief over­view of the history of German immigration and settlement in Pennsylvania during the eighteenth century, the narra­tive traces the development of German craftsmanship and its interaction with English culture starting in the colo­nial period. The remainder of the book devotes itself to a comprehensive visual and textual examination of the vari­ety of uniquely Pennsylvania­German arts which have re­sulted from that cultural hybrid. Included in the fascinating presentation are sections on architecture, earthenware, furniture, glass, metalwork, household textiles and fraktur. The authors also trace the emergence of interest in the collection and preservation of these artifacts and the build­ing of the incredible collection by Henry Francis du Pont, many of whose acquisitions are reproduced throughout the book. Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans is a wonderful state­ment for both the distinctive cultural legacy of this im­portant group and the re­awakened interest in the his­torical significance of material culture.


Fossil Collecting in Pennsylvania
by Donald M. Hoskins, Jon D. Inners and John A. Harper
3rd ed. Pennsylvania Geological Sur­vey, 1983 (215 pages, paper, $2.70)

A valuable guidebook for professional paleontologist and amateur adventurer alike, this book compiled by several staff members of the Penn­sylvania Geological Survey is a surprisingly comprehensive and thoroughly practical intro­duction to the rewards of fos­sil collecting in the Keystone State. Beginning with a broad preface to the signifi­cance of paleontology (study of fossils), the authors present a plethora of well-organized information of practical concern to any would-be fossil col­lector. The authoritative narra­tive includes hints on col­lecting and preparing fossil specimens, and a convenient breakdown of fossil charac­teristics – of particular use in identifying and classifying these geological treasures. The final section, to which most of the book is devoted, offers the interested reader a de­tailed reference guide to over fifty major fossil collecting sites located throughout Penn­sylvania, each entry docu­menting the area’s geographic location and the kinds of fossils one might expect to find there. For individuals allured by the relics to be discovered in the state’s richly endowed geological past, Fossil Collect­ing in Pennsylvania is an in­dispensable “how to” resource book.


Blacks in Pennsylvania History: Research and Educational Perspectives
by David McBride, editor
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1983 (129 pages, paper, $7.50)

The outgrowth of the Black History in Pennsylvania Confer­ence held in Pittsburgh in 1979 and sponsored by the PHMC, this collection of es­says offers an interesting and comprehensive summary of the often obscured black experience within the context of the state’s history. Revolv­ing around the conference’s central theme of black commu­nity life and its social and economic characteristics, the articles presented reveal a broad array of provocative top­ics dealing in such areas as education, labor, and histori­ography and genealogy. The variety in topical content is matched by the diversity of backgrounds, and thus per­spectives, of the authors them­selves – not just scholars, but elementary and secondary school educators, public his­torians and members of the “lay public” as well. It is hoped, according to editor David Mc­Bride, that this “public his­tory” will not be mistaken for a definitive statement but rather considered as an open invi­tation for further studies and reflections on black history and its unique interplay with the social, cultural and eco­nomic environment of Pennsyl­vania’s past.