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

Pennsylvania’s Historic Places
by Ruth Hoover Seitz
Good Books, 1989 (176 pages, cloth, $29.95)

Engaging narrative by Ruth Hoover Seitz and stunning photographs by Blair Seitz – always memorable, often haunting – hallmark Pennsyl­vania’s Historic Places as “a window on the past.” Show­casing attractions throughout the Commonwealth that recall the people, places and events which have shaped both state and national history, the lav­ishly illustrated volume por­trays the twenty-seven historic sites and museums adminis­tered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission (PHMC) and four sites – Valley Forge National His­torical Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Gettys­burg National Military Park and Independence National Historic Park – operated by the National Park Service. The popularly styled book intro­duces readers to the diverse array of historic sites and mu­seums which, in commemorat­ing Pennsylvania’s rich heritage, chronicle the nation’s social, religious, industrial, political, economic and mili­tary history. Opening with an overview of the Common­wealth’s history, the introduc­tion by Harold L. Myers, a historian for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission who authored the original Windows on our Past twenty-five years ago, places each historic site and museum in context and provides a fasci­nating overview of Pennsylva­nia’s – and its citizens’ – role which have characterized it as the Keystone of a Nation. Published in cooperation with the PHMC, Pennsylvania’s Historic Places is the first book of its kind to present, in-depth and in breath-taking color, the historic sites, buildings, struc­tures, battlefields, even entire villages, which document more than three centuries of the Commonwealth’s history, culture and art. Each sensi­tively written essay conveys more than just the historical significance of the historic site or museum to which it is de­voted; it imparts a feeling for the men and women who lived there, or toiled there or wor­shipped there. The photo­graphs convey more than the charm usually associated with venerable and time-honored historic places – they convey a moodiness reflective of the drama acted out each day at each site by Pennsylvania’s leaders and followers. Pennsyl­vania’s Historic Places concludes with an extensive list of read­ing resources and a map locat­ing the historic properties.


The Shadow of the Mills
by S. J. Kleinberg
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989 (414 pages, cloth, $49.95)

Subtitled Working-Class Families in Pittsburgh, 1870-1907, this book – acclaimed by scholars as one of the “strong­est” books on social history in the United States – focuses on the private side of industrial­ization, on how the mills actu­ally structured the everyday existence of the men, women and even children who lived in their shadows. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century and throughout most of the first decade of this cen­tury, the steel mills of Pitts­burgh presented an extreme example of the intolerable working conditions, such as the twelve hour work day and working every other Sunday. Family relationships were profoundly affected by indus­trialization, with the resulting separation of home and work­place and the longer working day and working week. An important contribution to the literature on the working-class family, The Shadow of the Mills explores the impact of indus­trialization on the individuals it affected, and analyzes the solutions they found to the problems of low wages, poor housing, inadequate sanitation and high mortality rates. Through the imaginative use of census data, the records of municipal, charitable and fraternal organizations, and the voices of the workers themselves in local newspa­pers, the author builds a detailed picture of the working-class life cycle: the interaction between parents and their children; the life chances of the young, their children, employment pros­pects, marital relationships; and the lives of the elderly. The book essentially illustrates how urbanization and indus­trialization in Pittsburgh shaped the lives, living condi­tions, work, and family and gender relationships of the city’s working-class family.


A Philadelphia Family
by David R. Contosta
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988 (207 pages, cloth, $19.95)

Three generations of the Houston-Woodward family – one of the wealthiest and most influential in Philadelphia – have been leaders in politics, diplomacy, suburban plan­ning, housing reform, land conservation and historic preservation. In A Philadelphia Family: The Houstons and Wood­wards of Chestnut Hill, the author analyzes the impact the Houstons and the Woodwards have had economically, politi­cally and demographically on Philadelphia, a city well known for its reserved and private leading families. The story of this highly visible family’s continuing public service offers a unique per­spective on Philadelphia his­tory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Family founder Henry Howard Houston (1820-1895) was one of the country’s greatest post­-Civil War entrepreneurs, a top executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as a leading speculator in oil, mining and other railroad ventures. Houston created a unique, planned suburb in Chestnut Hill, which his son Samuel and son-in-law George Wood­ward maintained and ex­panded in the twentieth century. Woodward, in partic­ular, became an energetic crusader for housing reform. Other family members distin­guished themselves in govern­ment service. Stanley Woodward served in the ad­ministrations of Franklin Del­ano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, George Woodward was a state senator for thirty years, and Lawrence M.C. Smith was founder and owner of a prominent classical music station in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia Family: The Houstons and Woodwards of Chestnut Hill will be of interest to scholars and students of Philadelphia history in particu­lar, as well as to sociologists, social historians and, to some degree, urban planners. The book shows how, although the allied families have shared certain characteristics of “Phil­adelphia First Families,” they have been unusually civic­-minded and their contribu­tions have helped mold not only the city but, too, the nation.


Papa Raker’s Dream
by Dick Cowen
The Good Shepherd Home, 1988 (318 pages, cloth, $15.00)

Papa Raker’s Dream chroni­cles the history of the Allen­town, Lehigh County, institution which grew, since its creation in 1908, from its beginnings with one crippled child to the vast rehabilitation complex it has become today. John H. Raker (1863-1941), co­founder of The Good Shep­herd Home, was the P.T. Barnum of the Lutheran Church, a learned, feisty and zany champion for what he called “The Cause,” and that cause was the handicapped and orphaned children and destitute elderly in his care. Without apology and reserva­tion, he did everything he could to proclaim their needs, from personally handing out copies of the The Good Shep­herd Home’s magazine, Sweet Charity, to strangers on trains, to dropping leaflets by air­plane over Allentown. His son and successor, Connie Raker, brought quieter, more tradi­tional ways to the operation of the facility, but he followed Papa Raker’s fervent belief in advertising – right from the start by enlisting well-known newscaster Lowell Thomas to narrate a film on The Good Shepherd Home, Because Some­body Cares, which made its debut in Allentown on March 5, 1942. Papa Raker’s Dream is more than a history of an outstanding social ministry institution, however; by reveal­ing intimate “behind-the­-scenes” vignettes, the author involves hundreds of partici­pants in a triumphant drama spanning eight decades, whose dreams and sacrifices made a difference to those who entrusted themselves to the care of The Good Shep­herd Home. Throughout the saga, the contributions – whether financial, spiritual or humanitarian – of many indi­viduals are interwoven not only to provide a glimpse at the milieu in which the insti­tution was founded, but to convey the impact of the irre­pressible Papa Raker on the entire community. Papa Raker’s Dream is an institutional his­tory, as well as the story of an individual who inspired count­less individuals to carry out his mission.


Decorative Arts of the Amish of Lancaster County
by Daniel and Kathryn McCauley
Good Books, 1988 (160 pages, paper, $19.95)

The decorative arts of the Amish embody its culture, and Decorative Arts of the Amish of Lancaster County showcases the sect’s textiles, graphics and furniture – all of which reflect the community’s values. In examining the work of Amish artisans in southeastern Penn­sylvania during a particularly distinctive period, from 1860 to 1940, the book features anno­tated color photographs of nearly one hundred and fifty artifacts, in addition to a de­tailed introductory essay, endnotes, a bibliography and biographies of nine Amish folk artists. The authors point out that the Amish were among the earliest settlers in Pennsyl­vania’s Susquehanna Valley, emigrating from Germany, Switzerland and the Alsace in the early eighteenth century. Although members of the sect had been creating decorative art since its founding in 1693, it was not until the mid­-nineteenth century that they began evidencing a distinctive style of their own. Throughout the following ninety years or so, Amish art flourished. Unique patterns and uses of colors appeared and what is now recognized as the “Amish look” emerged in samplers, door towels, quilts, fraktur, rugs, clothing, drawing, furni­ture and various household objects. Eagerly sought by avid private and institutional collectors, these ordinary, everyday objects have been elevated – and not merely because of their record­-breaking auction prices – to a form of art work, which has also inspired the nation’s rabid obsession with (albeit diluted) “The Country Look.” In an essay entitled “The Amish and Their Decorative Culture,” the authors discuss the back­ground and beliefs of the Amish, the cultivation of Amish community life, the adherence to simplicity, the development of the decorative art of the Amish, the roots of the Amish church, and fea­tures of the Amish arts.


by Joanne B. Moore, et al.
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988 (100 pages, paper, $22.50)

This exhibition catalogue, subtitled The Pittsburgh Home of Henry Clay Frick, Art and Furnishings, is not merely a tribute to the first house the Pittsburgh industrialist ever owned, nor is it a litany-like inventory of the vast store­house of exquisite china and porcelain, glass, silver, fine and decorative arts, linens and textiles Henry Clay Frick and his family acquired. Instead, it is a record of an era during which the nation’s basic indus­tries and the individuals who spawned them were just reaching their stride. Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), the influential founder of the H.C. Frick Coke Company, and his wife, Adelaide Howard Childs of Pittsburgh, purchased Clayton, then called Homewood, in 1882. Located far from the smoke-belching steel mills and bus­tling center-city, and adjacent to undeveloped woodlands and rolling hills, the residence offered Frick easy access to his office. Despite the daily de­mands of business, Henry Clay Frick was as adventurous in the field of collecting art as he was in acquiring capital for his industrial conglomerate. Nothing seemed out of reach. His beloved Clayton was, of course, the home of a man who formed an art collection remarkable not only for its sumptuousness but, more importantly, for its consistently high standard of quality. Even his early purchases as a thirty­-one year old bachelor in 1881 – a Tiffany & Co. mantle garniture and Landscape with River by George Hetzel – attest to the sure touch of a discerning young buyer, albeit one whose artistic preferences were not yet fixed. Clayton explores Henry Clay Frick and his passion for collecting art during his entire life; it probes – through the objects – the commitment to the acquisition of beauty long before his means allowed works of art to confer status upon him and long after his houses were furnished and his position as an art patron assured.