The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994

Book Reviews

citizens of the United States. With the growth of communication and trade net-
works in the second half of the century, most Texans had access to the products
of the shops and factories of the United States. Whatever local sources that
might have served in the first half of the century were overwhelmed by the na-
tional market. Although there are some differences, reflecting important local
symbols such as the Confederacy, the Lone Star, and the cattle business as well
as the exigencies of climate, the similarities to the main stream are of far greater
significance. The book demonstrates that, although materials and sophistication
of craftsmanship might vary with socioeconomic class, ethnic group, or geo-
graphic location, the basic aesthetic traditions were shared values. Because this is
one of the first regional studies written about the historic interiors of the turn of
the century era, the volume is a major addition to the literature.
The book is also an important step toward a more effective model for dealing
with the complexity of the material culture of the era when a variety of aesthetics
competed for a place in the home. By grouping the photographs in a sociocul-
tural framework according to the topics of occupation, family, ethnicity, social
group, region, refinement (meaning aesthetic sophistication), class, and style,
the author forces the reader to consider the complex character of the room as a
document. She recognizes that most rooms contain a multiplicity of messages
and, in a series of concluding chapters, integrates the separate topics into a dis-
cussion of the meaning of the interior as a whole. The Staiti House, now re-
stored and on exhibit at the Harris County Heritage Society in Sam Houston
Park, is the primary vehicle for this discussion.
While the book is successful, the reader may have some difficulty in following
the model because of the layout. Too often, one must change pages to review
the discussion and the images. The narrative structure used in this book is not as
successful as the long-caption format used in Peter Thornton's Authentic Decor:
The Domestic Interior, 1620-1920 (1984), which combines short narrative discus-
sions with long captions. The difficulty points to the importance of careful de-
sign for books which rely on images as evidence.
In all, this is a successful and important book which is a welcome addition to
the literature on Texas. The years of research and thought by the author have
resulted in a major achievement which should be on the book shelf of anyone
who uses material culture in the study of history.
The Moody Mansion and Museum, Galveston PATRICK H. BUTLER III
Regional Studies: The Interplay of Land and People. By Glen Lich. (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1992. Pp. xiii+181. Preface, acknowledgments,
maps, tables. $32.50.)
All of us come from some place, and regional specialist Glen Lich's edited
three-part volume endeavors to tell us where that place is and why it is important
to people as community and nation. An outgrowth of a symposium at Baylor
University in 1987, this slender book, to which a dozen artists and social scien-
tists have contributed, tackles definitions, applications, and new directions for

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/. Accessed November 26, 2014.