The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

170 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
who have experienced the lack of privacy and stifling conformity of such places,
this history will tell them nothing unusual. Wharton's final comments about the
fate of various characters in the history during the 1990os indicate that a new
chapter with new people is about to be written. Indeed, his portrayal of McDade
applies largely to Wharton's time-like a snapshot.
This raises a question-why should someone like Wharton spend a decade of
his career on a small town and its squabbles? Would it not be better to focus
upon places that influence much larger numbers of people, like Austin, Dallas,
San Antonio, or Houston? The answer, I think, lies in his confirmation about the
constancy of human character traits-good and ill-and perhaps, about the
influence of urban size. Most of us have experienced both the privacy and the
loneliness of a large city. Is it better in McDade?
Colorado State University DAVID G. MCCoMB
Texas Houses Built by the Book: The Use of Published Designs, 1850-1925. By
Margaret Culbertson. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp.
xv+129. Illustrations, acknowledgments, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-
89o96-863-2. $39.95, cloth.)
As Texans' economic condition rose following admission to the Union, the
demand for suitable dwellings expressing new wealth and a higher station in
society outstripped the pool of local talent in residential design. The first house
built in Texas from a published illustration was erected only a decade after the
Mexican-American War.
The need to express the sophistication and fashion of the day was met by
depending on published designs first appearing in the 184os in such maga-
zines as Godey's Lady's Book. Pattern books intended specifically as design
guides began to be published after the Civil War. At the turn of the century,
architects such as Gustav Stickley broadcast new innovations. In the 191os and
twenties, ready-cut homes were advertised by Sears, other national companies,
and Texas firms for shipment in crates to the construction site. Local and
regional lumber companies, answering this unsettling trend, offered cata-
logues of home design much as fabric stores offer dress patterns to create
demand for fabric.
As in many other parts of the country, the influence of a few centers of archi-
tectural design, initially the Atlantic East, spread itself across Texas. Without pat-
tern books and the standardized architecture of the ready-cuts to direct the way,
the residential architecture of Texas, distant from centers of prevalent architec-
tural style, might have taken an interesting turn of expression. The local genius
of design, suppressed by the emulation of an imported style, necessarily spoke
with a more muted voice.
Margaret Culbertson, architecture and art librarian at the University of
Houston, gives us a breadth across seventy-five years of how published design
influenced local architecture. Culbertson follows the changing national taste in
residential design as expressed in Texas. She very effectively demonstrates the

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 19, 2015.