Building An American Identity / Edition 1

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Overview

Queen Anne or Victorian, these beautiful houses have become nostalgic sites in our historical memory. Linda Smeins explores the development of pattern-book houses, considered the new "modern suburban home" of the late 19th century. Through a discussion of pattern-book designs and plans and pattern-book-inspired houses, Smeins traces the evolution of this architectural style and explores the meanings embodied in the notion of home and community. Building an American Identity is an excellent resource for architectural historians, historic preservations, educators and anyone interested in the social history behind the building of America's Victorian homes.
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Editorial Reviews

American Studies International
Smein's book affords a meticulous account of residential development patterns, the drive to home ownership, the strata of professional involvement and conflicts, the tactics of pattern book production, the changing moods of architectural design, and many other facets of the subject. Along the way, she underscores how important this episode was in giving definition and character not just to the American landscape, but also to the presence and outlook of the American middle class. Smein draws from a range of recent scholarship and mines an abundance of period sources. Her narrative is engaging and articulate. Building an American Identity is a valuable source for all those interested in American domestic culture and community of the period.
— Richard Longstreth, The George Washington University
Vernacular Architecture Newsletter
Linda Smeins greatly furthers our insight into the field of late-nineteenth century pattern book architecture in her first book....The most ambitious work published to date on pattern book architecture....Smeins' book is the most important contribution to the study of pattern book architecture and building in recent years and will most likely remain so in the future.
— Christopher VerPlanck, Page & Turnbull, Architects
CHOICE
Through a rich, well-organized text peppered with reprinted pattern book illustrations, Smeins examines this unique architectural feature as an untapped component of a larger study: Late 19th-century home, family, and society....She covers the vocal professionals who opposed pattern books for their designs of sham decoration on meanly constructed buildings.
— L.B. Sickels-Taves
Choice
Through a rich, well-organized text peppered with reprinted pattern book illustrations, Smeins examines this unique architectural feature as an untapped component of a larger study: Late 19th-century home, family, and society....She covers the vocal professionals who opposed pattern books for their designs of sham decoration on meanly constructed buildings.
— L.B. Sickels-Taves, Eastern Michigan University
American Studies International - Richard Longstreth
Smein's book affords a meticulous account of residential development patterns, the drive to home ownership, the strata of professional involvement and conflicts, the tactics of pattern book production, the changing moods of architectural design, and many other facets of the subject. Along the way, she underscores how important this episode was in giving definition and character not just to the American landscape, but also to the presence and outlook of the American middle class. Smein draws from a range of recent scholarship and mines an abundance of period sources. Her narrative is engaging and articulate. Building an American Identity is a valuable source for all those interested in American domestic culture and community of the period.
Vernacular Architecture Newsletter - Christopher VerPlanck
Linda Smeins greatly furthers our insight into the field of late-nineteenth century pattern book architecture in her first book....The most ambitious work published to date on pattern book architecture....Smeins' book is the most important contribution to the study of pattern book architecture and building in recent years and will most likely remain so in the future.
American Historical Review, December 2002 - Alexander von Hoffman
Historians of American culture will find that the great value of this book is its close description of nineteenth-century architectural pattern books. It illuminates the complex historical process by which cultural ideals influence and are influenced by large-scale modern commerce and technology.
CHOICE - L.B. Sickels-Taves
Through a rich, well-organized text peppered with reprinted pattern book illustrations, Smeins examines this unique architectural feature as an untapped component of a larger study: Late 19th-century home, family, and society....She covers the vocal professionals who opposed pattern books for their designs of sham decoration on meanly constructed buildings.
Booknews
Explores the development of Queen Anne or Victorian houses that were considered the new, modern suburban homes of the late 19th century. Through discussion and illustration of pattern book designs and the houses they inspired, the author traces the evolution of this architectural style and the advance of American suburban development. She considers the meanings embodied in the notion of home and community and American identity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761989639
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Western Washington University
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Table of Contents

chapter 1 List of Figures chapter 2 Acknowledgments chapter 3 Introductions chapter 4 1 National Identity and an American Style of Architecture chapter 5 2 A House in Civilized Nature chapter 6 3 Building America with Pattern Books Houses chapter 7 4 True Americans Own Homes chapter 8 5 The American Architect and Categories in the Profession chapter 9 6 Defining the Modern House: Seeds of Disagreement, 1876-1881 chapter 10 7 The Modern Suburban House Holds Its Own chapter 11 Epilogue chapter 12 Bibliography chapter 13 Index chapter 14 About the Author
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