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

Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation

By Kenneth Warren
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 (405 pages, cloth, $32.00)

At its formation a century ago, in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was the world’s largest industrial organization. Within its first year, the company was producing two-thirds of America’s raw steel, and soon supported the manufacturing su­perstructure of practically every other industry in the country. US Steel created and sustained the economies of many industrial communities, especially Pittsburgh and Gary, Indiana, providing jobs for more than one million individuals during the twentieth century. The corporation’s sheer size was supposed to confer many commercial advantages: economies in administration and sales, opportunities for plant specialization, and reduced cross­hauling in making deliveries, just to name a few. US Steel was expected to hire the best talent and to dominate trade world­wide. Yet in practice, many of these advantages proved illusory, a possibility anticipated by none other than Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who had pointed out that large corporations were often no match for tightly organized companies. Nevertheless, the United States Steel Corporation dominated the industry for decades. In the 1950s, it operated fifteen fully integrated iron and steel works, and turned out up to thirty-five million tons of steel. By the year 2000, it ran only three integrated works and its employees had dropped from more than three hundred thousand to less than twenty thousand. Yet it still produced one-third as much steel as it had at mid-century. Once seen as a somewhat bloated behemoth, the US Steel Group of USX is now consid­ered one of the most efficient steel producers in the world. Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation ex­amines the inner workings of the company at the center of so much of the nation’s twentieth-century industrial life. The book’s analysis of internal decision-making demonstrates how the corporation’s sheer size and clumsy hierarchical structure made it uniquely difficult to direct and manage. It profiles the chairmen who grappled with this “lumbering giant,” paying particular attention to those who long ago formed its enduring corporate culture – Charles M. Schwab, Elbert H. Gary, and Myron C. Taylor. Big Steel explores the ways that labor relations affected company management and strategy, and illustrates how US Steel gradually declined as it paradoxically made huge profits while failing to keep pace with innovations in the indus­try. The book ultimately reveals how the drastic pruning undertaken in the last two decades finally led to the corpora­tion’s emergence as a leader in steel-making efficiency.


Making and Remaking Pennsylvania’s Civil War

Edited by William Blair and William Pencak
Penn State University Press, 2001 (332 pages, cloth, $35.00)

For many people, the Keystone State’s contribution to the Civil War goes little beyond the Battle of Gettysburg. The North in general has received far less attention than the Confederacy in the historiography of the Civil War – a weakness in the litera­ture that this book helps to redress. The ten essays that make up Making and Remaking Pennsylvania’s Civil War suggest a few ways for readers, historians, and Civil War buffs to reconsider the war’s impact on Pennsylvania and the way its memory re­mains alive even to this day. This collection also contains a wealth of new information about the Commonwealth during the war years. As many as two thousand Pennsylvanians, for instance, defected to the Confederacy to fight for the Southern cause. During the advance of General Robert E. Lee’s army in 1863, residents of the Gettysburg area of Adams County gained a reputation throughout both the North and South as a stingy people who wanted to make money from the war, rather than sacrifice for the Union. The Commonwealth, however, did dis­play loyalty and commitment to the cause of freedom. Pittsburgh served as the site for one of the first monuments in the country dedicated to African Americans. Pennsylvania’s women also contributed mightily by organizing sanitary fairs and helping in ways that belied their roles as keepers of the domestic world. Letters written by an African American soldier illustrate how blacks helped win their own liberation. As a whole, the essays selected for this volume discuss courage on the battlefield but also reflect the current trend toward under­standing the motivations of soldiers and the impact of war on civilians, rather than focusing solely on battles and leaders. These essays also employ interdisciplinary techniques, as well as raise gender and racial issues. They incorporate a more expan­sive time frame than the four years of the conflict by looking at not only the making of the war-but also its remaking-and how a public visits the past to suit contemporary needs.


Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy

Edited by Katharine Martinez and Page Talbott
Temple University Press, 2000 (211 pages, cloth, $49.50)

Their work can be seen in Fairmount Park, on the campus on Bryn Mawr College, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They were heads of what is now the Moore College of Art and Design for many years, becoming leaders in the field of women’s art education. They founded, supported, and led art communities throughout the Philadel­phia area and in New York. They were the Sartains of Philadelphia, and their accomplishments are recounted in Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy. In their day, from 1830 to 1930, members of the Sartain family were widely admired as printmakers, painters, educators, and art administrators. Since that era of greatest influence, however, the achievements of three generations of Sartains – John, chil­dren Samuel, Henry, Emily, and John, and granddaughter Harriett – have become obscure. The family’s patriarch, John W. Sartain (1808-1897), immigrated to Philadelphia from England in 1830 seeking success as a mezzotint engraver. Mezzotint was a sophisticated means of popularizing the work of well-known painters, and as a London-trained engraver Sartain was in great demand. He became influential, not just as a pictorial engraver, but as a painter, publisher, and administrator. He even de­signed monuments and furniture and passed on his skills and learning to his children. One of his daughters and three of his sons went on to become equally celebrated. Emily (1841-1927), with her friend Mary Cassatt, became a well-known painter and principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, precursor of the Moore College of Art and Design. As an art ed­ucator, she spearheaded the women’s art movement, traveling widely as a speaker and delegate. Her brothers Samuel (1830- 1906) and Henry (1833-1894) worked with their father as engravers and printmakers and were early enthusiasts of pho­tography. William (1843-1924) moved to New York, where he became an associate of the National Academy of Design, a founder of the Society of American Artists, and president of the Art Club of New York. Henry’s daughter Harriett followed her aunt Emily as head of the School of Design, where she advo­cated broad popular access to art appreciation and training. The Sartains, as Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape illustrates, were im­portant not just for who they were, but also for whom they knew and influenced. They were in the vanguard of the move­ment to democratize art and art education. Among their acquaintances were poet Edgar Allan Poe, painter Thomas Eakins, and industrialist and collector Joseph Harrison Jr. Gen­erously illustrated with more than one hundred images, Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy is a fascinating look at a century in which the production and pro­mulgation of art was seen as everybody’s business, and at a family that epitomized that spirit.


A Walk on the Downhill Side of the Log: The Life of Maurice K. God­dard

By Ernest Morrison
Pennsylvania Forestry Association, 2000 (376 pages, cloth, $24.95)

Maurice K. Goddard (1912-1995), an anomaly in state gov­ernment, served five Pennsylvania governors during a quarter-century, from 1955 to 1979-first as Secretary of Forests and Waters and then as head of the state Department of Envi­ronmental Resources (DER). Under Goddard’s leadership, the Commonwealth’s forest resources and state parks enjoyed un­precedented growth, while at the same time significant strides were made in the areas of flood control and the reduction of wildfires. Young Goddard lived through the deprivations of the Great Depression and later, as a soldier, witnessed the horrors of World War II. He returned to a nation insatiably consumed with a desire for growth and progress that threatened to change the very face of the land. Having experienced such shattering events of deprivation and war, Goddard became a dedicated, passionate servant of the environment. Moreover, he had a touch of the mythic about him. Stories of his exploits abound­ – often humorous, frequently poignant, sometimes impulsive, on occasion outrageous, but always insightful and meaningful. A Walk on the Downhill Side of the Log: The Life of Maurice K. God­dard is a telling biography that captures the man, his accomplishments, and the tall tales surrounding this twentieth­-century legend. With great care and much detail, the book describes its subject’s boyhood years in Kansas, his military ca­reer with the staff of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, his teaching association with the Pennsylvania State University, and his five extraordinary cabinet administrations serving the people of the Keystone State.