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

Fountains of Philadelphia: A Guide

By Jim McClelland
Stackpole Books, 2005 (80 pages, paper, $14.95)

Fountains of Philadelphia: A Guide, replete with eighty color photographs, several maps, and a bibliography, celebrates the artistry of the city’s famous – and not-so-famous – fountains, from the monumental Washington Monument on Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the charming Centennial Fountain carved in marble in 1876 by Margaret Foley (1827-1877), installed in Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center (see “A City of Fountains” by Jim McClelland in this issue). Philadelphia is home to dozens of these sculptural masterpieces that lend ambiance and architectural definition to both large urban open spaces and intimate neighborhood parks, and this compact guide offers succinct historical information about them, their creators, and the periods in which they were installed. Fountains of Philadelphia is divided into chapters that explore various sections of the city, such as Fair­mount Park, Rittenhouse Square, and Penn’s Landing. Fairmount Park at one time had numerous drinking fountains, many of which still exist even though they no longer dispense water. As an added bonus, the guide also discusses several fountains nearby, including those at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, and the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania in Chestnut Hill (see “Old World Influences on Pennsylvania Gardens” by Myra K Jacobsohn, Spring 2005). Fountains of Philadelphia: A Guide will interest individuals intrigued by Philadelphia’s artistic, social, and political history, the city’s works of art, and easy-to-locate public memorials and monuments.


Artistry and Innovation in Pittsburgh Glass, 1808-1882: From Bakewell & Ensell to Bakewell, Pears & Co.

By Arlene Palmer
Frick Art and Historical Center, 2005 (206 pages, paper, $19.95)

Published to accompany an exhibition mounted by the Frick Art and Historical Center bearing the same title, Artistry and Innovation in Pittsburgh Glass, 1808-1882: From Bakewell & Ensell to Bakewell, Pears & Co. sumptuously celebrates not only the artistic legacy of Benjamin Bakewell (1767-1844), an individual who explored creative expression in glassware, but also a distinctively American story. ft is a story that encapsulates the history of design and production of fine glass in the United States, beginning early in the nineteenth century, showcasing the marriage of decorative arts and industrial processes. As early as 1853, Bakewell was crowned the “father of the flint glass business” in the United States, even though the venture he joined in 1808 enjoyed less than auspicious beginnings. Edward Ensell (circa 1763-1828), a practical glassmaker, in partnership with George Robinson (circa 1762-1818) began construction of a glassworks along the Monongahela River at Pittsburgh in 1807. Insufficient capitalization caused the factory to languish for a year until New York merchants invested in the establishment and replaced Robinson with Bakewell. The partnership was short-lived, and the author contends Bakewell doubted the business would survive, let alone thrive. However, through nine subsequent partnerships – all involving members of the Bakewell family – the glassworks remained active until 1882. In fact, it was the longest-lasting flint glassworks in continuous operation up to that time. As leaders in the country’s glass industry, Benjamin Bakewell, his partner and successors, played a fundamental role in establishing Pittsburgh as a major center of American glassmaking in the nineteenth century. The legacy of the enterprise is especially significant because many glassworkers and manufacturers began their careers at the Pittsburgh factory. The saga of Bakewell glass is inextricably intertwined with that of the Pears family. Thomas Pears (1785-1812), initially employed by Benjamin Bakewell in his New York mercantile business and nephew of Bakewell’s wife, Anne White Bakewell (1764-1827), became an integral member of the glassmaking endeavor, but his son John Palmer Pears (1809-1874), rose from employee to partner and helped guide the firm, at the time known as Bakewell, Pears & Co., through periods of critical change in the industry. John Palmer Pears’s sons and Benjamin Bakewell’s grandsons oversaw the final years of the company. During its existence of nearly three-quarters of a century, the enterprise turned out a variety of objects – blown, cut, molded, engraved, or colored – including decanters, fruit stands, tumblers, flasks, candlesticks, vases, cologne bottles, cruets, mantle ornaments, bowls, compotes, even furniture knobs. Coveted and highly collectible, examples of this Pittsburgh glassworks are held by a number of prestigious collections, among them the Carnegie Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Winterthur Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the White House. Artistry and Innovation in Pittsburgh Glass, 1808-1882, bears witness to poet John Keats’s immortal words: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” Preparation of this handsomely designed and copiously illustrated catalogue was funded, in part, by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


A Capitol Journey: Reflections on the Press, Politics, and the Making of Public Policy in Pennsylvania

By Vincent P. Carocci
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005 (298 pages, cloth, $39.95)

In historical accounts, little is more exciting or intriguing than eyewitness accounts-especially if the writer is, so to speak, a member of the story’s inner circle. The author of A Capitol Journey: Reflections on the Press, Politics, and the Making of Public Policy in Pennsylvania, not only witnessed critical moments in the Keystone State’s twentieth-century political history, but he also played a part. In his ringside seat as a member of the press corps covering the State Capitol-his first job on “the Hill” was with the United Press International’s Harrisburg bureau – he worked alongside tireless and highly competitive reporters, some of whom he describes as real characters, “often crotchety, crusty – even cranky.” He worked briefly for the Associated Press, the public information office of his alma mater, the Pennsylvania State University, and the Harrisburg bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer, before joining the Senate Democratic majority caucus as press secretary in 1971. ‘If you happened to be a Democrat with an interest in public service, public policymaking, and politics, Pennsylvania was a good place for you to be in 1971,” he recalls. From there, the au­thor served as chief of staff for State Senator H. Craig Lewis, the ran.king Democratic member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, director of government relations for the state system of higher education, and a member of Governor Robert P. Casey’s administration from 1987 to 1995, first as deputy leg­islative secretary, then as secretary for government operations and, lastly, as press secretary. During his fast-paced career in a heady era of politics-which eventually took him from the newsroom to the governor’s office – the author met the movers and shakers of his day-the good, the bad, and the ugly. He writes candidly about them and his relationship to them. He re­calls the fortunes, foibles, and fates of state senators, among them Franklin L. Kury, Joseph S. Ammerman, Henry C. Messinger, Eugene F. Scanlon, Edward P. Zemprelli, and Henry “Buddy” Cianfrani. Individuals interested in Pennsylvania’s chief executives will appreciate his frank impressions of six governors: David L. Lawrence (D), “the last of the old time pols to reach the governor’s mansion in Pennsylvania”; William Warren Scranton II (R), “a class act from start to finish” who “served his Commonwealth and his nation with great skill and distinction”; Raymond P. Shafer (R), who “lived in the shadow of William Warren Scranton from the first day he took office” and “never quite emerged in his own right”; Milton J. Shapp (D), “an outsider in state Democratic politics from the day he began his pursuit of public office in Pennsylvania”; Richard L. Thornburgh (R), “a paradox: a man with impressive, yea impeccable public service credentials, yet a man whose private actions often belied the public image he presented”; and Casey (D), an individual who remained “true to his commitment to the forgotten communities of Pennsylvania and the people who called them home.” A Capitol Journey also explores the ways in which they interacted with both insiders and outsiders during times of relative peacefulness and crisis. This book overflows with nearly forty years worth of memories, and takes a retrospective look at the non-political types who also occupied center stage at various times, particularly the writers of the capital press corps who made up the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association, the oldest organization of state house reporters in the nation, organized in 1895. Along the way, readers will find themselves accompanying the author to the bottom of a coal mine, the annual Christmas party in the capital newsroom (which he characterizes as “a shakedown of the Pennsylvania political community by the capital press corps”), city halls and county courthouses, hotel rooms for covert meetings with political bosses, prison riots, even to the witness chair before a federal grand jury in Philadelphia. A Capitol Journey: Reflections on the Press, Politics, and the Making of Public Policy in Pennsylvania is a journey to a time that can never be repeated but only recalled by such honest, poignant and, at times, bittersweet, recollections of an eyewitness and participant.


Trees of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide

By Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timo­thy A. Block
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005 (407 pages, cloth, $49.95)

Trees dominate the natural landscape and the natural history of the Keystone State. Although changes have occurred since William Penn’s proprietorship of the vast forests and wood­lands, trees remain a dominant element throughout Pennsylvania (see Myra K. Jacobsohn’s “Sowing A Wealth Un­common,” Spring 2003, and “Old World Influences on Pennsylvania Gardens,” Spring 2005). Trees of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide is a comprehensive (but easy to use) field guide and natural history of all the native and naturalized trees growing in the Commonwealth. It contains descriptions of growth form, leaves, twigs, buds, bark, flowers, and fruit, as well as information about blooming and fruiting periods and autumnal leaf colors. Trees of Pennsylvania discusses pollination, seed dissemination, and wildlife value, including Larval food sources and nectar for moths and butterflies, and ecological relationships and economic importance. Readers will find information in this guide to be fascinating; for instance, Pennsylvania claims 134 native trees and 62 additional species that have escaped cultivation and inserted themselves into the natural landscape. Particularly interesting is an early chapter entitled “Pennsylvania’s Forest Heritage,” in which the authors explore the history of Penn’s Woods, the influence of Native Americans, taming of the wilderness, early lumbering, and the logging boom. This chapter also addresses rare species, such as sweet­bay magnolia and short-leaf pine, and endangered trees, among them balsam poplar, beach plum, and willow oak, as well as forest succession, major forest types, and the impact of pests and diseases. Trees of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide continues with an alphabetized, dictionary-style listing-from alder to witch-hazel-that identifies each in great detail, even providing the location of the largest specimen, or “current champion.” (The largest alder in Pennsylvania, towering ninety-four feet in height, grows in Berks County; the champion witch-hazel stands forty-two-feet tall in Potter County.) In addition to the plethora of details this guide includes, the book features color photographs, maps, identification keys, tree lists, a glossary, extensive index and, not the least, elegant drawings by Anna Anisko, botanical illustrator for the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.