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

Taking Pictures: William R. Zwikl
by Kurt D. Zwikl
Hugh Moore Histor­ical Park and Museums, 1989 (160 pages, cloth, $28.00)

A chronicle graphically portraying the career of Wil­liam R. Zwikl, Taking Pictures is a rich assortment of black and white images made while the Allentown photographer was on assignment to Hess’s De­partment Store and The Morn­ing Call, as well as during his travels as a freelance and mili­tary lensman. The book fea­tures poignant photographs taken by Zwikl during his award-winning career, span­ning from 1939 until his death in 1986. The book, however, is more than a compilation of nostalgic pictures or a senti­mental photo-essay of life in the Lehigh Valley during a half century of great change and optimism. Taking Pictures incor­porates art, popular culture and public history in a gentle portrait of the people and events that touched not only the photographer and his clients, but the thousands of people who happened upon them. His depictions of every­day life in the Lehigh Valley­ – spring storms, the Allentown Fair, harvest time, Halloween and Christmas – are contrasted with sophisticated fashion stills for Hess’s Department Store and candid shots of famous visitors to Allentown, including Gen. Douglas Mac­Arthur (1951), Pres. and Mrs. Harry S Truman (1948), Sen. Richard Nixon (1952), George Reeves (1950s), Troy Donahue (1950s), Rock Hudson (1950s), Barbara Eden (1968) and Bar­bara Walters (1971.). His portfo­lio also includes portraits of local artists Harry Bertoia, Walter Emerson Baum and Jack Eagle among others. The second half of Taking Pictures is devoted to places the photog­rapher visited, including New York, London, Brazil, Sweden, Paris and Israel. The author, in his sensitive remarks, recounts his father’s love of providing “a portrait of people both known and unknown and a look at places he knew, explored and enjoyed.”


The Annual Exhibition Records of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1914-1968
by Peter Hastings Falk, editor
Sound View Press, 1989 (544 pages, cloth, $89.00)

The final volume of the major three part set document­ing the complete exhibition records of the nation’s oldest art museum includes names of some of the most exciting artists of the twentieth cen­tury, many of them Pennsylva­nians: Ben Solowey (see “Ben Solowey: The Thing Speaks for Itself” in the summer 1990 issue), R. Sloan Bredin, John F. Folins­bee, Walter Emerson Baum, Daniel Garber, Malcolm S. Parcell, Julius T. Bloch, Hob­son Pitman and Francis Speight. Documenting nearly 22,000 artworks – paintings, sculpture, drawings – the final volume covers the continuing flowering of American impres­sionism and the emergence of modernism, concluding with the Pennsylvania Academy’s last annual exhibition in 1968. Artists represented in the exhibitions of this period re­flect the great changes in the art and taste of Philadelphia­ – and Philadelphians – from World War I through the tur­bulent 1960s. In addition to a fascinating account of the yearly exhibitions by Cheryl Leibold, Academy archivist, the book provides an analytic chart of the exhibitions, a listing of the medals (such as the Carol H. Beck and the Temple) and prizes (including the Mary Smith and the George D. Widener), an index of juries by year, and records of both artists and owners. The book also features a num­ber of interesting black and white photographs: views of the 1924, 1941 and 1947 instal­lations, a Bon wit Teller display window advertising the 1943 exhibition and several works of art, including Philadelphia (1917) by Hugh Breckenridge, Thomas Hart Benton’s Aaron (1943) and Letter and His Ecol (1964) by Stuart Davis. With its carefully cross-referenced data, the book is particuJarly helpful to art scholars and students, as well as collectors and historians.


Discoursing Sweet Music
by Kenneth Kreitner
University of Illinois Press, 1990 (205 pages, cloth, $22.50)

Discoursing Sweet Music, a study of five years in the life of community bands in the area surrounding Honesdale, Wayne County, describes the turn-of-the-century brass band movement and analyzes its significance not only to the communities in which the bands were active, but to the band members themselves. Subtitled Brass Bands and Com­munity Life in Turn-of-the­-Century Pennsylvania, this book illustrates the esteem in which the individual musicians were held and how the ensembles played a central role in the lives of their members and the communities of northeastern Pennsylvania they served. By addressing the brass band as a celebrated American icon, the author first examines the vir­tues the image represents, but carefully studies the historical reality it reflects. The author notes that to most Americans, the Victorian period commu­nity band has become an en­during, eloquent symbol of the tranquility and self-sufficiency of the quintessential small American town. However, there are several underlying factors which must be considered in attempting a social history: the number of musi­cians who participated, the socio-economic backgrounds of the participants, and the types of musical programs offered. Discoursing Sweet Music is a case study of the years 1897 through 1901, a period selected because the amateur band was the most conspicuous and influential musical institution in the United States between the Mexican War and World War I. By tightly focusing the years of study, as well as the geograph­ical location, the author offers a fascinating account of the music and the audience’s reac­tions to it. The book includes numerous tables, illustrations and an extensive bibliography.


City at the Point: Essays on the Social History of Pittsburgh
by Samuel P. Hays, editor
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990 (473 pages, cloth, $29.95)

In this pioneering volume in the field of urban history, thirteen historians concentrate on a single case study of Pitts­burgh and provide a perspec­tive on the city itself and on the general process of urban­ization. Throughout the coun­try’s history, fundamental and historically rapid changes have taken place in science and technology, the organization of production and distribution, levels of consumption, educa­tion, personal values, the role of women, and in the diverse cultures, religions and races. Cities were at the center of this complicated and complex process, bringing these vari­ous elements together in par­ticular places. The emerging network of cities, in turn, gave rise to a new national society and culture that transformed America; as a result, cities are one of the keys to understand­ing processes of change within the entire nation. The essays in City at the Point explore many aspects of Pittsburgh’s cultural and institutional life, including race, class, gender, politics, occupation and infra­structure. They also encourage readers fascinated by the city’s history to look beyond the celebration of its past and consider its continuing proc­esses of development. Essays include “Women and Class in Pittsburgh, 1850-1920,” by Maurine Weiner Greenwald, “Double Burden: The Black Experience in Pittsburgh” by Laurence Glasco, “Steel City Aristocrats” by John N. Ingham, “Government, Parties and Voters in Pittsburgh” by Paul Kleppner, and “Pitts­burgh and the Uses of Social Welfare History” by Roy Lu­bove. A final essay compares the evolution of Pittsburgh to similar European cities.


Amish Roots
by John A. Hostetler
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989 (319 pages, cloth, $29.95)

A very different – and even intimate – view of life in the closed world of the Amish, Amish Roots: A Treasury of History, Wisdom, and Lore is a delightful anthology of more than 150 rare and unusual letters and journal entries, poems and stories, riddles, legends and bits of family lore, which offer a uniquely authen­tic view of the Amish from the colonial period to the present. It is not the way of the Amish to write about themselves, but in this book they do just that: this is the story as told by the Amish themselves, by their friends and neighbors, and by others who understand their distinctive ways. For example, Hans Nussbaum, a nineteenth century Swiss immigrant, writes to friends of the difficult ocean crossing and a hard life in the United States, suggest­ing that his “sleepy and lazy” cousins stay home in Europe; Virgil Detweiler tells of an ancestor’s arrival at the port of colonial Philadelphia with personal baggage that in­cluded 5 copper stills, 30 stoves, 596 scythes and 8 flutes (all of which he lost to King George’s alert customs offi­cials); and an anonymous Amish teenager recounts life in a Pennsylvania prison after refusing, on grounds of con­science, military service during World War II. Many brief com­mentaries offer insightful, often humorous vignettes about education, legends, home and family and agricul­ture and everyday life. How­ever, Amish Roots is more than an entertaining compilation of the sect’s history. Through this book, men and women speak out clearly on their life in the United States, offering three centuries of perspective on various issues and freedoms. The book also features 25 full color plates of artwork by Pennsylvania’s Amish, such as Barbara Zook (1839-1920) and Veronica Lapp of Mifflin County, Heinrich Augsburger of Berks County, and Barbara Ebersol (1846-1922), David C. Hoke, Benjamin Beiler and Henry Lapp (1862-1904) of Lancaster County. Amish Roots concludes with an extensive bibliography and biographical notes on more than sixty contributors.


Writing About Eakins
by Kathleen A Foster and Cheryl Leibold
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990 (411 pages, cloth, $29.95)

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) was one of America’s foremost painters and a highly re­spected sculptor and painter (see “And who is Eakins?” in the fall 1989 issue of Pennsylva­nia Heritage), and Writing About Eakins: The Manuscripts in Charles Bregler’s Thomas Eakins Collection is the guide to more than one thousand documents relating to the artist, his wife Susan Macdowell Eakins, and his student and ardent ad­mirer Charles Bregler. Based on a major cache of Eakins material assembled by Bregler – which many art histo­rians consider the preeminent “unknown” collection devoted to an American artist of com­parable stature – and recently acquired by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, this volume is the first systematic publication of the landmark collection. The discovery of pertinent correspondence sheds light on his resignation from the Academy in 1886, on his censure by the Philadel­phia Sketch Club that year, and on the scandals arising from his use of nude models. Writing About Eakins also fea­tures annotated lists of all the manuscripts, critical essays on the principals, full transcrip­tions of selected letters, bio­graphical summaries, chronologies, genealogical charts and a selection of fifty photographs (most of which are published for the first time!). Bregler’s collection of Eakins’ manuscript material demanded a new approach, and the authors created a new type of publication, befitting the start of a new era in the biographical and critical analy­sis of one of the country’s greatest painters. The resulting work is much more than an overview; it is an indispensa­ble guide to Eakins’ writings as a whole, as well as a useful tool in research on his life. Writing About Eakins essentially serves as a digest of the most important material in the col­lection, which is presented thoughtfully and with much consideration of the needs of readers.