Colonial Architecture Reading List

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:11pm -- baglio

On Saturday, June 10, The Redwood Library with host our Fourth Annual History Seminar titled Colonial Classics: The Redwood Library & American Architecture in the 18th Century. This year will see experts in colonial architecture discuss a wide range of topics that will include the Redwood Library as ‘Temple of the American Enlightenment,’ the anxiety of influence in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello,  Giambattista Piranesi’s heroic vision of ancient Rome as an inspiration for American architecture, and the contingent influences of British public architecture on the built environment of colonial American cities. Even if you are unable to attend the event be sure to come into the Redwood and check out some of the fantastic works on architecture and preservation below on our display table and in the Pell-Chafee Architecture collection.

Thomas Jefferson's Architectural Drawings : Compiled and with Commentary and a Check list

By Thomas Jefferson 

This is a collection of the architectural drawings of American President, Thomas Jefferson.The sketches demonstrate how the imaginative and mathematical mind of Jefferson took shape.

The Architectural Heritage of Newport, Rhode Island : 1640-1915

By Antoinette Downing and Vincent J Scully Jr.

As a showcase of American Architecture, Newport, Rhode Island, is without peer or parallel. It is one of the great seaports of the colonial era, and it is unique in that seven of its early and important public buildings have survived - the Quaker Meeting House from the seventeenth century, Trinity Church, the Sabbatarian Meeting House, Colony House, Redwood Library, Brick Market, and the Touro Synagogue from the periods 1726 to 1763. To this day, there stand in Newport over 400 houses that were built before 1840, and of these almost 300 are pre-Revolutionary. In addition, there still exists an opulence of late-nineteenth-century resort buildings that is unequaled anywhere in America - flamboyant, exotic, and spectacular. This book originally financed by generous foundation grants and long unavailable, is a comprehensive survey of what remains to be seen in this extraordinary town. It is being republished in revised form for those who want better to understand this rich heritage. The volume's impressive scholarship and numerous photographs make it a feast of detail and history.

 American Colonial Architecture : Its Origin and Development 

By Joseph Jackson

In an effort to show the origin of this style and the circumstances under which it was developed not by trained and talented architects, but by hard-working carpenters this book was written. It is in brief a rapid survey of the manners of the Colonists, rather than a work on architectural designing, and was intended to show the causes whichled to the adoption of what we call the Colonial Style.

America's Castles. The Colonial Era [videorecording]

They were American royalty at a time when the country was still struggling to assert its independence from the British crown. In their world-famous homes, a vital piece of our national heritage is preserved. This special edition of America's Castles visits two homes that are perhaps more worthy of that title than any other—George Washington's Mt. Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. In these exquisite buildings, countless priceless artifacts are preserved, providing a glimpse of the early years of the nation and the private lives of these presidents. See Jefferson's own drawings for his mansion, visit the Map Room at Monticello, off-limits to visitors, and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Mt. Vernon from the director of the site. It's a remarkable glimpse at two of the most important sites in America.

By John Fitzhugh Millar

Perhaps the most important architect ever to have worked in America, Peter Harrison's renown suffers from the destruction of most of his papers when he died in 1775. He was born in Yorkshire, England in 1716 and trained to be an architect as a teenager. He also became a ship captain, and soon sailed to ports in America, where he began designing some of the most iconic buildings of the continent. In a clandestine operation, he procured the plans for the French Canadian fortress of Louisbourg, enabling Massachusetts Governor William Shirley to capture it in 1745. This setback forced the French to halt their operation to capture all of British America and to give up British territory they had captured in India. As a result, he was rewarded with commissions to design important buildings in Britain and in nearly all British colonies around the world, and he became the first person ever to have designed buildings on six continents. He designed mostly in a neo-Palladian style, and invented a way of building wooden structures so as to look like carved stone--"wooden rustication." He also designed some of America's most valuable furniture, including inventing the coveted "block-front," and introducing the bombe motif. In America, he lived in Newport, Rhode Island, and in New Haven, Connecticut, where he died at the beginning of the War of Independence.

By Desmond Guiness
A historical review of the great homes in the Newport, RI area with plentiful photographs of the homes and their surroundings.

By David Watkin
 A look at King George III's life-long interest in architectural design and the connection it made between Britain at the time and old world Euorpe.

By James D Kornwold
Incorporating more than 3,000 illustrations, Kornwolf's massive work conveys the full range of the colonial encounter with the continent's geography, from the high forms of architecture through formal landscape design and town planning. From these pages emerge the fine arts of environmental design, an understanding of the political and economic events that helped to determine settlement in North America, an appreciation of the various architectural and landscape forms that the settlers created, and an awareness of the diversity of the continent's geography and its peoples. Considering the humblest buildings along with the mansions of the wealthy and powerful, public buildings, forts, and churches, Kornwolf captures the true dynamism and diversity of colonial communities―their rivalries and frictions, their outlooks and attitudes―as they extended their hold on the land. His work conveys for the first time the full scale, from intimate to grand, of their enduring transformation of the natural landscape of North America.

By Kenneth Hafertepe
Since the Renaissance books and drawings have been a primary means of communication among architects and their colleagues and clients. In this volume, twelve historians explore the use of books by architects in America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a period when the profession of architecture was first emerging in the United States." "The essays in this volume range from studies of architectural publications available in the colonies to the appearance of American architectural incunabula to the revolution in architectural publishing that occurred in the 1830s and 1840s. 
By Sarah E. Lawrence
Renowned as one of the finest printmakers of the eighteenth century, Giovanni Battista Piranesi is best known for his etched views of Rome and its antiquities, as well as for his highly influential suite of drawings entitled Carceri, or Imaginary Prisons. Trained as an architect, Piranesi revolutionized architecture and design through his combination of decorative elements and ornamental motifs from the Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman styles; yet his work as the designer of interiors and furnishings has been largely uncelebrated. Published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Smithsonian s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Piranesi as Designer explores the far-reaching impact of Piranesi s modernist style on three centuries of architecture and design.

Carl Bridenbaugh
This illustrated story of America's first architect is based on material from a number of contemporary sources in the colonial period. Harrison's buildings reflect the classical mode, and they fortunately survived the Revolution. His designs include the King's Chapel, Boston; the Synagogue, Newport; and Christ Church, Cambridge.

By Marian Donnely
A comprehensive introduction to early colonial architecture, from Columbus to the American Revolution. Donnelly covers everything from the first European settlers and early housing designs to Swedish and Dutch influences on public buildings and the rise of American Georgian architecture.

By Marcus Whiffen

From the front flap of this 269 page book: "Here for the first time is a thorough architectural study of some of the most significant and influential buildings in colonial America - The Capitol, The Governor's Palace, Bruton Parish Church, The Magazine, The Gaol, The Secretary's Office, The College of William and Mary with the Brafferton building and the President's house. The story is told of the first playhouse in English America; new light is shed upon Thomas Jefferson's plans for the remodeling of the Palace; the building history of America's first mental hospital, designed by Robert Smith of Philadelphia, is given in detail, and a look is taken at both nineteenth-century Williamsburg and Williamsburg restored. Marcus Whiffen's story is concerned with the buildings in the eighteenth century rather than their twentieth-century restoration or reconstruction. In their day, they were the structures that cradled the public life of a vital American community. Within their walls, men who were to become founders of a new nation gathered knowledge, worshipped God, made and administered law, fought, compromised, united, and dedicated themselves to ideals that have become inspirations for generations to follow. With a lively talent for expression that historians are not all heir to, Whiffen tells how and why and through whom the public buildings of Willamsburg came to be what they were. He relates them to the architecture of contemporary England and shows how they influenced the architecture of the rest of Virginia. To round out the tale, he follows their often sad fortunes from the time Williamsburg ceased to be the capital of Virginia, in 1780, until its rebirth through the restoration that began in 1926."


By Emma Hart
Charleston, South Carolina, was the largest city in the American South in the colonial era. From 1700 to 1775 its growth rate was exceeded in the New World only by that of Philadelphia. The first comprehensive study of this crucial colonial center, Building Charleston charts the rise of one of early America's great cities, revealing its importance to the evolution of both South Carolina and the British Atlantic world during the eighteenth century.
In many of the southern colonies, plantation agriculture was the sole source of prosperity, shaping the destiny of nearly all inhabitants, both free and enslaved. The insistence of South Carolina's founders on the creation of towns, however, meant that this colony, unlike its counterparts, was also shaped by the imperatives of urban society. In this respect South Carolina followed developments in the rest of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, where towns were growing rapidly in size and influence. At the vanguard of change, burgeoning urban spaces across the British Atlantic ushered in industrial development, consumerism, social restructuring, and a new era in political life. Charleston proved no less an engine of change for the colonial lowcountry, promoting early industrialization and forging an ambitious middle class, a consumer society, and a vigorous political scene.
Bringing these previously neglected aspects of early South Carolinian society to our attention, Emma Hart challenges the popular image of the prerevolutionary South as a society completely shaped by staple agriculture. Moreover, Building Charleston places the colonial American town, for the first time, at the very heart of a transatlantic process of urban development.


By John Fitzhugh Millar 

John Millar deals solely with colonial architects and the buildings they designed from New Hampshire to South Carolina, and not with the products of carpenters and master builders. Over two hundred line illustrations document their work. Millar accomplishes his aim to present drawings and verbal descriptions of all the buildings built in the colonies by the people who deserved the title of architect.

By Hoke Kimball and Bruce Henson
This comprehensive survey of British colonial governors' houses and buildings used as state houses or capitols in the North American colonies begins with the founding of the Virginia Colony and ends with American independence. In addition to the 13 colonies that became the United States in 1783, the study includes three colonies in present-day Florida and Canada--East Florida, West Florida and the Province of Quebec--obtained by Great Britain after the French and Indian War.