Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Addlestone Library is open to the College of Charleston community and affiliates via card access. Visitors may access Addlestone Library Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, and must present a government issued ID and sign in upon entry.
Search CofC Libraries Discovery Service
Search for books, articles, and more.
Addlestone Library Research Videos
Search for and evaluate books, articles, and media to help with your assignments.
Start your Research
Sites Unseen: Architecture, Race, and American Literature
Sites Unseen examines the complex intertwining of race and architecture in nineteenth and early-twentieth century American culture, the period not only in which American architecture came of age professionally in the U.S. but also in which ideas about architecture became a prominent part of broader conversations about American culture, history, politics, and—although we have not yet understood this clearly—race relations. This rich and copiously illustrated interdisciplinary study explores the ways that American writing between roughly 1850 and 1930 concerned itself, often intensely, with the racial implications of architectural space primarily, but not exclusively, through domestic architecture. In addition to identifying an archive of provocative primary materials, Sites Unseen draws significantly on important recent scholarship in multiple fields ranging from literature, history, and material culture to architecture, cultural geography, and urban planning. Together the chapters interrogate a variety of expressive American vernacular forms, including the dialect tale, the novel of empire, letters, and pulp stories, along with the plantation cabin, the West Indian cottage, the Latin American plaza, and the "Oriental" parlor. These are some of the overlooked plots and structures that can and should inform a more comprehensive consideration of the literary and cultural meanings of American architecture. Making sense of the relations between architecture, race, and American writing of the long nineteenth century—in their regional, national, and hemispheric contexts—Sites Unseen provides a clearer view not only of this catalytic era but also more broadly of what architectural historian Dell Upton has aptly termed the social experience of the built environment.
The Philadelphia Country House
Colonial Americans, if they could afford it, liked to emulate the fashions of London and the style and manners of English country society while at the same time thinking of themselves as distinctly American. The houses they built reflected this ongoing cultural tension. By the mid-eighteenth century, Americans had developed their own version of the bourgeois English countryseat, a class of estate equally distinct in social function and form from townhouses, rural plantations, and farms. The metropolis of Philadelphia was surrounded by a particularly extraordinary collection of country houses and landscapes. Taken together, these estates make up one of the most significant groups of homes in colonial America. In this masterly volume, Mark Reinberger, a senior architectural historian, and Elizabeth McLean, an accomplished scholar of landscape history, examine the country houses that the urban gentry built on the outskirts of Philadelphia in response to both local and international economic forces, social imperatives, and fashion. What do these structures and their gardens say about the taste of the people who conceived and executed them? How did their evolving forms demonstrate the persistence of European templates while embodying the spirit of American adaptation? The Philadelphia Country House explores the myriad ways in which these estates--which were located in the country but responded to the ideas and manners of the city--straddled the cultural divide between urban and rural. Moving from general trends and building principles to architectural interiors and landscape design, Reinberger and McLean take readers on an intimate tour of the fine, fashionable elements found in upstairs parlors and formal gardens. They also reveal the intricate working world of servants, cellars, and kitchen gardens. Highlighting an important aspect of American historic architecture, this handsome volume is illustrated with nearly 150 photographs, more than 60 line drawings, and two color galleries.
College Quick Links