The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980 Page: 88
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Jr., is a valuable contribution to the literature of American architecture.
While the author's effort is substantial and complete in itself, the book
joins the series of publications under the general title of American
Buildings and Their Architects, as the first part of Volume II of the
As stated in the prefatory remarks, the author has no intention of
writing a definitive study of architecture. Rather, he guides the reader
through an in depth study, kept within well-defined parameters. During
an era when objective architectural criticism is too often badly presented,
this work is an exception. Not only does the author carefully define
terms before using them in his discussion, but he handles, in a meaning-
ful way, such intangibles as "romanticism," the "spirit behind clas-
sicism," the nature of the "picturesque."
Although it was not necessarily intended for that purpose, Pierson's
book could well become a prototype for the truly objective discussion of
the nature of architecture. The author deals with architectural space,
spatial systems, and those elusive subjects, architectural scale and pro-
portion. Design principles are revealed within his pages-universals
necessary for the real understanding of architecture. These are subjects
too often not well handled in publications concerned with architectural
Illustrations are important in a work concerned with a visual subject.
In this particular case, the collection of drawings and prints from the
periods discussed are well selected to reinforce the text. Recent photo-
graphs from other sources are excellent and well presented. Many of the
best photographs were made by the author himself. Footnotes, refer-
ences, and a glossary reinforce the presentation.
The book contains an introductory chapter entitled, "Romanticism,
Technology and the Picturesque." Discussion of the three cultural move-
ments prepares the reader for the subsequent analyses.
Having established his fundamental categories, the author next ex-
amines architectural roots which predated the industrial development
in the United States. Thus, he helps the reader to understand the his-
toric foundations underlying American industry and its buildings.
Then, having set the scene for the introduction of Gothic Revival
architecture in the United States, the author focuses upon the contribu-
tions of Richard Upjohn, James Renwick, Alexander Jackson Davis,
and Andrew Jackson Downing. A concluding discussion concerns the
architectural impact of the board and batten wall in conjunction with
the Gothic Revival church. The author's skill as an architectural pho-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980, periodical, 1979/1980; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/m1/108/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.