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

Almost a Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the 1980 Phillies

by William C. Kashatus
published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008; 382 pages, cloth, $34.95

Professional historian William C. Kashatus, in his introduction to Almost a Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the 1980 Phillies, reveals, “Writing this book has been a labor of love,” adding, “While the research allowed me to connect with my own past, the final product offers a more objective treatment than earlier works on the 1980 Phillies.”

Almost a Dynasty illustrates that being a Philadelphia Phillies fan has never been easy. The team has amassed the most losses of any professional sports franchise in history, as well as the longest losing streak and the most last-place finishes in baseball’s major leagues. The year 1980, however, was redemption for a miserable, century-old legacy of losing. It was also the beginning of the end for a team that could have been among the very best in baseball throughout the decade. Legends such as Tug McGraw, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, and Pete Rose led the collection of homegrown talent, veteran cast-offs, and fair-haired rookies.

The 1981 season was a watershed for both the Phils and baseball. A players’ strike led to a sixty-day work stoppage. The team, which had been in first place before the strike, was unable to regain its winning ways after play resumed. Labor relations between the Major League Baseball Players Association and inflexible owners became more acrimonious than ever. Player salaries skyrocketed. Old loyalties were forgotten. The notion of a homegrown team such as the 1980 Phillies was a thing of the past.

Based on interviews, newspaper accounts, and the keen insight of an avid fan and veteran baseball writer, Almost a Dynasty: the Rise and Fall of the 1980 Phillies convincingly explains why a team that had regularly made the post-season in the mid to late 1970s, only to lose in the playoffs, was finally able to win its first world championship. “Rarely do the Phillies make the post-season,” Kashatus writes, “rarer still do they make it to the World Series. That’s why 1980 will remain a special season. A talented team of homegrown players, competitive veterans from other clubs, and enthusiastic rookies finally met the goal that had eluded the fans for nearly a century — winning a world championship. In the process, the Phillies were embraced by an entire city that learned to believe in itself and its heroes.”

The book also includes appendices for individual statistics for the 1980 team, 1980 National League Championship Series box scores, 1980 World Series box scores, and team standings from 1971 through 1989.

In celebration of Pennsylvania Heritage’s thirty-fifth anniversary, Kashatus — who wrote forty-four full-length feature articles for the magazine since 1987 — sat for an interview with Ted R. Walke, chief of PHMC’s Publications and Sales Division. Read the William Kashatus interview.


A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth-Century Printed Views

by Christopher W. Lane
Published by the Frick Art and Historical Center, 2008; 221 pages, cloth, $39.95, paper, $24.95

Published by the Frick Art and Historical Center to accompany an exhibition by the same title celebrating Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary in 2008, A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth-Century Printed Views is a sumptuous collection of more than 130 views culled from newspapers, maps, and magazines, in addition to bird’s-eye views and sweeping panoramas. The imagery demonstrates the city’s industrial might, civic pride, and business prowess. It also captures momentous events in its history, such as labor disputes and disasters that originally appeared in popular periodicals of the day. The publication — as was the exhibition — is the first systematic study and exploration of early printed views of the Allegheny County seat.

Written by Christopher W. Lane, who served as guest curator for the exhibition, A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth-Century Printed Views is divided into sections entitled “Pittsburgh Before the Great Fire of 1845,” “Views from Books and Magazines,” “Documentary Prints,” “Illustrated Newspapers,” “Frameable Views,” and “Pittsburgh Lithographic Publishers.” Early drawings of Pittsburgh depict the fledgling settlement that grew up around Fort Pitt, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as a popular attraction along the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Pittsburg in 1790, a pen and ink wash, and watercolor by Lewis Brantz (1766–1838) portrays a small group of buildings clustered on the flat bit of land where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. Pittsburg in 1790, by Seth Eastman after Brantz, appeared as a steel engraving in the third volume of Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States by Henry Schoolcraft, published in Philadelphia in 1853.

Although Pittsburgh was founded in the eighteenth century, no printed views of it were published before 1800. The book includes the first printed view of the city — a vignette engraved by Peter Maverick on an invoice dated 1815 for Bakewell, Page and Bakewell — to a lithographed letter-sheet, circa 1900, of the Western Pennsylvania Exposition Society. The prints capture the gradual transformation of Pittsburgh from a small settlement on the Point, with only a few rising smokestacks, through a robust adolescence documented by R. E. McGowin’s hand-colored wall map published in 1852, and ending with an industrial powerhouse stretching along the three rivers well above and below their confluence. The changing cityscape and the steady encroachment of urban development are documented in these prints. The rich and varied body of Pittsburgh images provides a chronicle of nineteenth-century American views as well as of the city itself.

As Pittsburgh grew and local commerce developed, so did the city’s printing industry and artistic community. The city also attracted itinerant artists, many of whom traveled throughout the nation creating printed views for subscribers. Traveling artist Edwin Whitefield (1816–1892) created View of Pittsburg, Pa., in 1849, the first large-scale frameable perspective of Pittsburgh for subscribers at the price of five dollars each (the equivalent of $118.50 today). The book also illustrates the various types of prints published during the period, including copper etchings, steel engravings, lithographs, woodcuts, and chromolithographs.

A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth-Century Printed Views is a visual tour-de-force that deftly ties diverse prints into a thematic chronology and includes a list of Pittsburgh printers and a list of the more than four hundred historic views documented by the author, known to television viewers as an appraiser on the popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow.


Changing Images: The Art and Artists of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School

By Linda F. Witmer
Published by the Cumberland County Historical Society, 2008; 192 pages, cloth, $39.95

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School has been celebrated for its famous athletes, football great Jim Thorpe (1888–1953) and long-distance runner Louis Tewanima (1888–1969), both Olympians, and its legendary coach Glenn “Pop” Warner (1871–1954). The school has also been recognized for its remarkable social purpose as a pioneering school established by General Richard Henry Pratt (1840–1924). Pratt, superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from its founding in 1879 to 1904, profoundly shaped education for Native Americans and federal policies affecting them.

In Changing Images: The Art and Artists of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Linda F. Witmer tells a new story as she recounts the evolution of works of art by students at the institution from 1879 through 1890. In examining the artistic legacy of its students, she shows how their evocative drawings, sketches, watercolors, and crafts mirrored the school’s changing image of itself and the evolving role of Native American culture in the country. Her scholarly assessment will serve as a baseline for understanding the culture and attitude during this period in history.

Completed by male students averaging fourteen years of age, these artworks are more important for their documentary evidence than they are for their artistic merit. Many were children “of important chiefs or leaders whose families were experiencing a vanishing way of life and an undesirable existence forced upon them by a dominant culture.” The pieces reflect the Plains tradition, and nearly all are signed and many are titled, adding an extraordinary genealogical value to the collection, which is held by the Cumberland County Historical Society. Changing Images gives equal attention to the students and their creations.

The book is organized in three sections: the early drawings made from 1879 to 1890, works executed as the students were exposed to formal art instruction in the classroom, and pieces completed during the early twentieth century. During this period, Angel De Cora (1871–1919), a noted Native American artist and illustrator, was hired to head the arts program at Carlisle.

Changing Images: The Art & Artists of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School features several dozen images, reproduced in striking color, and includes historic photographs of classroom instruction, teachers, and students.


These Just In . . .

A number of new and recent books about Pennsylvania history have been received by Pennsylvania Heritage’s editorial staff, which has not yet had the opportunity to review them, but wishes to share news of their availability with readers.

Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies, 1905–1929, by Michael Aronson, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008; 300 pages, cloth, $35.95.

A is for Art Museum, by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker, published by Temple University Press, 2008; cloth, 64 pages, $16.95.

Images of America: Lake Carey, by Walter Broughton, published by Arcadia Publishing, 2008; 128 pages, paper, $19.99.

Bodies of Work: Civic Display and Labor in Industrial Pittsburgh, by Edward Slavishak, published by Duke University Press, 354 pages, cloth, $89.95, paper, $24.95.

Bethlehem Steel: Builder and Arsenal of America, by Kenneth Warren, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008; 322 pages, cloth, $45.00.