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~Wellesley Professor Co-edits American Architects and Their Books to 1848~

For immediate release:
July 18, 2001


Arlie Corday
Public Information
Phone: 781-283-3321

WELLESLEY, Mass. -James F. O'Gorman, Wellesley College's Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art, has co-edited a new book, American Architects and Their Books to 1848. It is the latest volume in the series, Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Boook (University of Massachusetts Press).

Since the Renaissance, books and drawings have been a primary means of communication among architects and their colleagues and clients. In this new volume, 12 historians explore the use of books by American architects in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when the profession of architecture was first emerging in the United States. The essays range from studies of architectural publications available in the colonies to the revolution in architectural publishing in the 1830s and '40s.

As architects separated themselves from amateur and gentlemen designers on the one hand and masons and carpenters on the other, members of the new profession were distinguished by their ability to draw and their possession of a common body of knowledge gleaned from printed sources.

The new book has won accolades, including from Eleanor Thompson of the Winterthur Library, who writes, "The scholarship in American Architects and Their Books is sound and up to date. The contributors are leaders in the field and promising younger historians. Because this is the first full-scale examination of the topic, the book will be welcomed by architectural historians, students of reading and the history of the book, and historians of collecting as well as collectors themselves."

O'Gorman co-edited the book with Kenneth Hafertepe of Waco, Texas, the former director of academic programs at Historic Deerfield Inc. and now assistant professor of museum studies at Baylor University. His books include America's Castle: The Evolution of the Smithsonian Building and Its Institution, 1840-1878.

A resident of Montague, Mass., O'Gorman has written many books including Living Architecture: A Biography of H.H. Richardson; ABC of Architecture and Accomplished in All Departments of Art: Hammatt Billings of Boston, 1818-1874, which is a volume in the Studies in Print Culture series. He is co-author, with two of his Wellesley College colleagues, of The Landscape and Architecture of Wellesley College (Wellesley College, 2001).

Wellesley College, a prominent liberal-arts college, has been a leader in the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students. Wellesley's distinguished alumnae include U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and broadcast journalists Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer and Lynn Sherr.


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  • Date Modified: July 31, 2001
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