2018 Last Minute Holiday Gifts For The Preservationist On Your List

It’s that time of year again. If you’re like me you haven’t got any of your shopping started yet, or you might just be stumped about what to get the Preservationist in your life.   Here are a few book ideas.

Keeping Time : The history and theory of preservation in America
Author: William J. Murtagh
Publisher: New York u.a. : Preservation Press u.a., 1997.

Keeping Time was my introduction to the nuts and bolts of historic preservation. It is a must-have on the bookshelf of any preservationist. Earlier this year the book’s author and first Keeper of the National Register William Murtagh passed away.  https://misspreservation.com/2018/11/09/in-memoriam-william-murtagh-first-keeper-of-the-national-register/

The Gas Station in America
Authors: John A Jakle; Keith A Sculle
Publisher: Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, ©1994.
Series: Creating the North American landscape.

If you’ve enjoyed the Friday is a Gas series here on MissPres, this is a book you might enjoy also. I picked up a copy for myself earlier this year and hope to have more entries into the series for 2019 based on information from information presented in this book.

Architectural Graphic Standards
Authors: Andy Pressman; American Institute of Architects.; Smith Maran Architects.
Publisher: Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, ©2007.

A reprint of the first edition of Architectural Graphic Standards was printed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 1932 standards. If you like seeing how something was put together with the methods and materials available in the 1930s this is a great book to have.  This book series has become an indispensable resource for the design and construction industry.

American Homes : The landmark illustrated encyclopedia of domestic architecture
Authors: Les Walker; Charles Moore
Publisher: New York, NY : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2014. ©1996

Looking over previous years lists I was surprised to see this book has never been included before in our holiday gift guide.  While the book is west-coast centrist, highlighting some styles only found on the west coast, all eras of Mississippi residential buildings are investigated.  This also includes more recent and often overlooked history of trailer homes and mobile housing.  While the text is useful enough to the advanced preservationist, the line drawings that depict each style or type of home are interesting enough to enthrall the youngest of kids.  Reprinted in 2015, I am uncertain if there were any updates from the 1996 edition.

Our own W. White has several suggestions in the comments from last years MissPres gift guide post.  You can read the full list of suggestions here, and I’ve included the Mississippi specific texts below.

Mississippi has several architectural histories focusing on various aspects of the state’s architecture, mostly by Mary Carol Miller (Lost MansionsLost Landmarks, and the more photographic based Great Housesas well as Sherry Pace’s Victorian Houses photobook and Richard Cawthon’s Lost Churches), but no complete overarching history of the state’s architecture. Historic Architecture in Mississippi by Mary Wallace Crocker (University of Mississippi Press, 1974) is the closest thing to one for Mississippi, but it only focuses on antebellum architecture. Still no Mississippi preservationist’s bookshelf should be without it.

For a more pointed view of Mississippi’s antebellum architecture, I would recommend Architecture of the Old South: Mississippi-Alabama by Mills Lane (Abbeville Press, 1989, though later Beehive Press printings are also available), along with the rest of his Architecture of the Old South series. Lane argues that antebellum Southern architecture in Mississippi is more a Northern product than a Southern one. Although he slightly cherry-picks examples to prove his argument, he very convincingly (in my view) shows that antebellum Mississippi’s high-style architecture was largely the product of Northern architectural styles, designed by Northern architects, built by Northern craftsmen, with some Southern modifications. For another example of how an antebellum architectural history of Mississippi could be arranged, look to Antebellum Architecture of Kentucky by Clay Lancaster (University Press of Kentucky, 1991).

These are just a few of the books I’ve read or referenced this year. Do you have a book suggestion for other MissPresers?



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4 replies

  1. I am honored to have my books included on this list. Thanks for everyone’s interest in Mississippi’s historic architecture and best wishes for a preservation-minded New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. not to push my own ‘agenda'(since i am not financially benefiting), but, at the moment, there are two used(but in good condition, apparently) copies of my pb, ‘architecture in claiborne county, mississippi’ available through amazon in the $14 range, including shipping. if anyone on mp decides to purchase one of these , be in touch with me and i will be happy to send you an inscribed card to paste into the volume.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As I said last year, Thomas, combine your list of books on terminology and styles with my suggestions about city, state, and regional architectural histories and you have enough reading to last several years. I thought about doing that this year, but I have been very busy, so I am glad you are back in typing form.

    I do have a few more books to add to this year’s list as essential for every Preservation in Mississippi reader.

    I cannot believe that neither one of us has suggested Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery by the esteemed scholar John Michael Vlach (University of North Carolina Press, 1993). I do not believe there are any Mississippi buildings in that book due to the paucity of HABS photographs from the Magnolia State, but thankfully neighboring Alabama and Louisiana make up for it. Still, for learning about and understanding the real Mississippi plantation landscape, I do not think another book surpasses it.

    Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South by James R. Cothran (University of South Carolina Press, 2003) is another book about the antebellum landscape. Although well-illustrated with current and historic photographs, it is not a pretty picture book; it is a comprehensive scholarly history. That does not mean it is boring, though. Mississippi’s representation lags behind South Carolina and Louisiana’s but there are five pages of antebellum travel accounts of Mississippi gardens and landscapes as well as other references to Mississippi properties (all or almost all in Natchez).

    Finally, there is a historic preservation book that more preservationists should read (and that I should have bought a long time before this year), Buying Time for Heritage: How to Save an Endangered Historic Property by J. Myrick Howard (Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., 2007). Preservation North Carolina is the envy of all other historic preservation organizations in the South—the gold standard. Howard shows how the organization has accomplished that, particularly their strategy of buying (or being donated), preserving, and selling historic real estate. If Preservation North Carolina’s tactics were in action in Mississippi, Beckrome would be under restoration now, not being replaced by something new and presumably cheap, trendy, and tacky. The Delmas Houses in Pascagoula would have people sitting on the porches catching those Gulf breezes. The list can run and run. There would still be preservation losses of buildings too expensive or with owners too intransigent, but there would be a lot more buildings saved than are being saved now. Maybe a Preservation in Mississippi reader will read Buying Time for Heritage and figure out how to apply its lessons to Mississippi.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. interesting—the amazon copies of my claiborne county book are no longer available! a merry christmas to all—sending you some of our snow from a definitely white christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

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