Articles - Material Culture Studies in America: - Notes Toward a Historical Perspective


Material Culture Studies in America:

Notes Toward a Historical Perspective

Thomas J. Schlereth

1 The material culture studies movement, as it has developed in the United States since the end of the Second World War, might be compared to a gigantic Barnum and Bailey circus tent under which a variety of acts takes place simultaneously. The endeavour has often been identified by several, roughly synonymous labels: "artifact studies," "physical history," "museum studies," "pots-and-pans history," "aboveground archaeology," and "hardware history."1 Increasingly, the rubric "material culture" is used as the most generic name for describing the research, writing, teaching, and publication done by individuals who endeavour to interpret past human activity largely through extant physical evidence.2

2 Two American journals, for example, now carry this title on their mastheads. Pioneer America, a quarterly that publishes the research of scholars and amateurs alike, has assumed (1978) the subtitle. The Journal of Historic American Material Culture3 The Winterthur Portfolio, begun in 1964 as a clothbound annual devoted primarily to the specialized research of professionals in the American decorative arts, has now (1979) become a scholarly quarterly emphasizing research of several disciplines that seek "to integrate artifacts into their cultural context."4 Significantly, the Portfolio has also acquired a subtitle: A Journal of American Material Culture. In the United States the term "material culture" now frequently appears as the disciplinary specialty of scholars,5 in the titles of monographs and scholarly papers,6 and as the subject of college and university courses.7 At Yale University a Center for the Study of American Arts and Material Culture has been established (1977) in conjunction with that institution's American Studies Program.8 (To my knowledge, there has not yet been in the United States a full-scale, international conference devoted to the theory and practice of material history, but, hopefully, we will soon follow Canada's example.)9

3 The assorted activities I will call "American material culture studies" are only a part of a larger whole that might be labeled "the American material culture movement," a movement that stretches back well into the nineteenth century.10 By this more comprehensive rubric I simply mean the multiplicity of individuals and institutions that have been involved, in various ways, with historical artifacts. Thus, for example, the material culture movement encompasses the development of historical societies, museums, and popular exhibitions such as world's fairs; it has offshoots in the entertainment, recreational, and publishing industries; it also nourishes and is nurtured by a multitude of hobbyists, collectors, archivists, regionalists, antique dealers, craftsmen, artists, civil servants, and festival promoters.

4 American material culture studies, in addition to being a part of this larger picture, can be defined as a multidisciplinary field of knowledge in which individuals have sought to document and interpret past human life in all its diversity primarily through physical remains, whether apart from or in conjunction with written records. In the past the formal study of American material culture was largely the province of the single investigator, professional or amateur, who considered himself an art historian, an archaeologist, an anthropologist, or a historian. Only recently have individuals specifically defined themselves as material culturists.11

5 To date there is a paucity of historiography on either the American material culture movement in general12 or American material culture studies in particular.13 Obviously, both have had a continual reciprocal impact one upon the other, thereby making it exceedingly difficult to sort out direct causal influences. For the purposes of this essay, however, principal attention will be devoted to but a segment of the story. What follows is an attenuated intellectual and social history concentrating primarily on the material culture studies movement in the United States, 1948-78.

6 Such a task cannot be accomplished, however, without acknowledging at the outset the development of current, allied trends characteristic of the overall American material culture movement. In summary these trends are: (a) three decades of expansion (in number and type) of American museums; (b) the tremendous growth of historic preservation activities; (c) the democratization of antique collecting; and (d) a renewed interest in local history and community heritage. All of the above shared, and continue to share, a common concern regarding the identification or preservation of American artifacts as a source of information, insight, or enjoyment.


7 In narrating the recent history of American material culture studies, one can only mention a few highlights prior to 1948. Early collecting and writing by Alice Morse Earle, Luke Vincent Lockwood, Henry Mercer, Fiske Kimball, and Wallace Nutting typify the scholarship of the first decades of the twentieth century.14 The major historical restorations of the 1920s at Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) and Greenfield Village (Michigan) were supported by the type of private philanthropy (John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford) that would characterize the establishment of so many American outdoor history museums in successive postwar eras.15 Also important was the beginning of the journal Antiques in 1922, followed by the opening of the American Wing of the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art.16

8 The Federal Arts Project's Index of American Design, begun in Depression America under the direction of Constance Rourke, employed artists to render over 20,000 examples of native objects — furniture, textiles, pottery, glassware, and other utilitarian crafts.17 The Index was but one of the manifestations of American democratic nationalism that has periodically influenced the material culture movement in the U.S. The Federal Writers' Project prepared state, regional, and city guides containing valuable geographical, historical, and, often, artifactual data. The National Park Service initiated a Historic Sites Survey in 1937, began the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) shortly thereafter, and also undertook a number of historical renovations, restorations, and reconstructions of the various properties (Historic National Parks, Historic Sites, and National Monuments) over which it had jurisdiction.18 With the exception of the early underwriting of the Smithsonian Institution, these New Deal activities and agencies marked the U.S. government's first major involvement in the material culture movement.

9 In the immediate years after the Second World War the movement boomed on all fronts. The National Council for Historic Sites and Buildings, organized in 1947, evolved into the National Trust for Historic Preservation two years later. The Trust, a private agency charted by Act of Congress, became a strong force in architectural and decorative arts preservation. Its current membership now numbers over 100,000 individuals and institutions concerned in various ways with American material culture, particularly the built environment.

10 In 1949 Colonial Williamsburg and Antiques magazine joined together to present the first Williamsburg Antiques Forum. Gathering together distinguished speakers from around the country, this week-long forum has become an annual event for both connoisseurs and general collectors.19 Other American museums (for example, Henry Ford, Cooperstown, Old Sturbridge Village) took to sponsoring antique forums, seminars, and weekends as the collecting of American objects grew from being the antiquarian hobby of an elite few to include a widespread, almost populist, band of enthusiasts who frequent the innumerable flea markets, study groups, and garage sales that occur every weekend in the U.S. One sociologist has described this intriguing phenomenon as "the democratization of the antique."20

11 An unprecedented expansion of history museums in the postwar era contributed to this wider awareness of extant American material culture — a fact recognized by Laurence Vail Coleman in his The Museum in America: A Critical Study published by the American Association of Museums in 1938. Several new outdoor historical villages, some in the planning stages in the 1930s because of the personal interest and financial largesse of a single underwriter, came into reality21 in the late 1940s: Old Sturbridge Village (Massachusetts), largely the creation of Albert and Cheney Wells, opened in 1946; Plimoth Plantation (Massachusetts), the dream of businessman and amateur archaeologist Henry Hornblower, was incorporated in 1947; in that same year Electra Havemeyer Webb, a long-time collector of American furniture, toys, china, and quilts, along with her husband James Watson Webb, an avid devotee of early American buildings, established the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Earlier in the decade Stephen C. Clark, wealthy heir to part of the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, presented his private collection of American artifacts to the public as the Cooperstown Farmer's Museum in 1942. Ten years later, largely at Henry H. Flynt's urging, Historic Deerfield (Massachusetts) came into existence; also in 1952 Henry Francis du Pont opened his private collection of American decorative arts to the public as the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.22

12 Practically all of these new history museums developed a research component where material culture study would be institutionalized. Begun in 1952 the Winterthur programme, an interinstitutional (i.e., jointly sponsored by the Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware), interdepartmental (i.e., comprising the departments of art, history, and English), and interdisciplinary (i.e., art history, social-cultural history, intellectual history) programme, served as the prototype for many of the other museum-university-related programmes that followed.23

13 Initially called "The Winterthur Program in American Decorative Arts and Cultural History" (changed in 1955 to "Early American Culture"), the curriculum was a pioneering endeavour on three fronts: (a) as an early example of university-museum collaboration at the graduate level; (b) as an effort to offer graduate preparation for scholar-curators seeking careers in museums emphasizing the "work of the artist and artisan"; and (c) as an educational experiment directly allied with the new (1936) discipline of American Studies.

14 In addition to museum-university programmes such as Winterthur, American material culture studies underwent an initial institutionalization in several other ways: (a) the founding of new professional associations; (b) the establishment of new journals and newsletters; and (c) the publication of the first "classics" by individuals who would later be heralded as being among the founders of material culture study in postwar America.

15 Many current professional organizations that deal with a specialized branch of material culture evidence grew out of, or broke away from, a parent society. Take, for instance, the case of architecture. Out of the College Teachers of Art came the American Society of Architectural Historians (established in 1940 and now the Society of Architectural Historians [SAH]) which, in turn, begat a subfield, the SAH Chapter of Decorative Arts (founded in 1972). All three groups issue publications in which current material culture research is reported and reviewed.24 A parallel story occurred in the history of technology. In 1958 the American Society for Engineering spawned the Society for the History of Technology (SHT) which, one year later, launched its quarterly. Technology and Culture, a journal that aspired to be concerned not only with "the history of technological devices and processes, but also with the relations of technology to science, politics, social change, economics and the arts and humanities."25 In the following decade a segment of the SHT, strongly influenced by developments in Great Britain and anxious to claim a particular sector of technology as their own province, formed the Society for Industrial Archaeology.26 In American anthropology/archaeology still another similar evolution took place. Archaeologists within the American Anthropological Association argued for the intrinsic validity of their craft as a distinct scholarly discipline; some of them also insisted on the equal importance of studying artifacts of literate societies as well as the material culture of preliterate or prehistoric societies that archaeologists had traditionally investigated. One outcome of this intramural debate was the formation of the Society for Historical Archaeology as well as the spread of the so-called "new archaeology." A number of interpreters trace this trend in American archaeology's approach to material culture to 1948 and Walter W. Taylor's A Study of Archaeology published that year (American Anthropological Association Memoir Series no. 69, Menasha, Wis.).27

16 In 1948 George Tremaine McDowell, a professor of English at the University of Minnesota, issued a seminal manifesto defining the nature of a relatively new field of enquiry that would usually be called "American Studies," "American Civilization," or "American Thought and Culture" in the over fifty institutions that would come to offer degrees in the discipline. McDowell argued for a multidisciplinary approach to American culture and recognized the role that material culture evidence would play in such study.28 In 1951 he along with other Americanists — Ralph Gabriel, Willard Thorp, Roy Nichols, F.O. Matthiessen, John Kouwenhoven, Kenneth Murdock, Robert Spiller — formed the American Studies Association (ASA). By 1954 the ASA had an official journal, the American Quarterly, which, even in its early years, published an occasional essay dealing with artifacts as indices to American culture. As a maverick discipline, American Studies programmes became, with a few exceptions, the most hospitable of academic homes for scholars who wished to pursue serious teaching and research in material culture studies in U.S. colleges and universities.29

17 In the late 1940s, despite the assorted research that had been done, no established bibliographical canon and few interdisciplinary models of material culture scholarship existed. Hence, in retrospect, the year 1948 now looms as something of a milestone to later scholars. That year, for example, John Kouwenhoven brought out the enormously influential book Made in America.30 Dealing with artifacts that ranged from clipper ships to balloon-frame houses, from jazz to skyscrapers, Kouwenhoven argued the case for a distinctive American vernacular aesthetic in the nation's material culture. Later in a seminal essay, American Studies: Words or Things, he pressed the case for material culture studies in American Studies teaching.31 The same year that Kouwenhoven published his book, Siegfried Giedion, a European art historian working at Yale, brought out Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955). Giedion's monumental survey, in addition to predating any American interest in so-called "anonymous" or "new social history," dealt extensively with American artifacts such as the assembly line and the Pullman sleeping car. It should also be noted that 1948 brought the publication of Jean Lipman's American Folk Art in Wood, Metal and Stone (New York: Pantheon), a work that began one major bibliographic tradition in the study of American folk art.32 Another tradition in American architectural history — that of the descriptive catalogue — continued with the 1948 publication of Henry Chandlee Forman's The Architecture of the Old South (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), and a new tradition began in American urban history with Constance M. Green's History of Naugatuck Connecticut.33

18 A year before all this highly significant publishing activity had come the completion (1947) of Thomas J. Wertenbaker's The Founding of American Civilization series, a trilogy, begun in 1938, that demonstrated an impressive knowledge of Anglo-American artifacts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To document his research Wertenbaker was the first established university historian to make extensive use of the HABS records, the Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture at the Library of Congress, and the research reports being prepared at Colonial Williamsburg.34

19 The work of T.J. Wertenbaker deserves mention not only because he was practically alone among American historians35 in recognizing the value of material culture as resource material for American history, but also because his professional odyssey is almost archetypical of the careers of what might be called the first generation of material culture scholars in the United States. This small but diversified cadre — represented by men such as Anthony Garvan, James Marston Fitch, Charles Montgomery, Fred Kniffen, John Kouwenhoven, Carl Sauer, Charles Petersen, Malcolm Watkins, and John Cotter — did much of their most creative work in the first two decades of post-Second World War America. They shared several common characteristics. Almost all had come to material culture research by some other discipline or vocational route. Few, with the exception of those with anthropological training (such as Kniffen) or those with a familial interest in antiques (such as Garvan), were specifically trained in interpreting the artifactual record of a literate society. If a common denominator existed as to their formal academic training, it would have to be art and architectural history. Hence, the first generation of material culture scholars was largely self-taught, usually through research in the history museum collections with which many of them came to be affiliated and, of course, by means of their own extensive fieldwork. Their published research resulted in a significant corpus of scholarship that, in turn, became the textbooks of the next generation of material culture researchers.


20 In the 1950s and 1960s the multifaceted material culture movement in the United States expanded on all of its many levels. Some historians see the folksong revival of the early 1960s as one popular manifestation of an expanded interest in folklore and folk art; 36 others have taken note of a "New Romanticism" in the counterculture's fascination with a more simple, rural existence where rugged, individualistic artisans pursue crafts such as leatherworking or basketweaving.37

21 Historic preservation widened its impact on America beyond that of saving the mansions of "Great White American men" by wealthy, socialite matrons.38 Preservationists in the 1960s, for example, sought the restoration of factories, slave quarters, and even entire areas of cities as important artifacts of the American past. This was done by a broad-based, increasingly middle-class, network of volunteers and paid staff that operated on the local, state, regional, and national levels in their quest for the preservation of extant American building types. Widespread interest in practically the entire built environment indirectly pressured a shift in architectural history which, heretofore in the United States, had been largely concentrated on the classic structures of antiquity and of Europe up to the Renaissance, with an occasional nod to the American Georgian and possibly the classical revivals of the early nineteenth century.39 (It was, for example, only in 1948 that the first major historical scholarship on the skyscraper, a building type indigenous to America, was published.40)

22 The expanded teaching and research in American architectural history (like that in American art history) was bolstered by the enormous strides made in the postwar technology of graphic reproduction. Artifactual evidence could now be reproduced more easily, and in colour, in 35 mm slides, in books, and in magazines. No doubt in the near future some student of American material culture of the mid twentieth century will research the full implications of this "graphics revolution," without which the now ubiquitous slide-lecture on any material culture topic would not be possible. We would also be without publications such as American Heritage (first published in 1949), the numerous, lavishly illustrated museum catalogues describing all manner of American artifacts, and the Carnegie Study of the Arts which, when completed in 1960, made available to students a textbook of essays and slide transparencies of some 2,500 objects in eighteen categories of American material culture.41

23 Tourism assuredly has nurtured the expansion of the material culture movement in the past decades. The greatest exodus to American historical sites, trails, museums, and parks in recent times took place during the nation's Bicentennial year.42 Here lies a book-length study for the scholar who is willing to interpret the surfeit of material culture evidence produced by this anniversary. Practically every major historical museum across the country mounted a special exhibition of some sort, not to mention the twelve railroad cars of artifacts that traversed the country in the Freedom Train.43 Moreover, the Bicentennial generated an unexpected interest in the material culture of the 1876 Centennial.44

24 The late Charles Montgomery argued that the major Bicentennial exhibitions of 1976 were "a culmination of increased professionalism and a higher level of scholarship" in material culture studies over the past twenty years.45 Montgomery rightly pointed to several other factors which help explain the increased interest in American artifacts. For instance, since the early 1960s the federal government has played a fairly active role. The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities,46 the Smithsonian Institution programmes,47 as well as specific federal legislation (for example, the National Arts and Cultural Development Act of 1964 and the National Museum Act of 1966)48 have supported scholarship and exhibitions that interpret and publicize American material culture.

25 A committed, well-trained network of museum personnel (curators, exhibit designers, researchers, administrators) has sought increased professionalization and organization through the national meetings, journals, and special conferences of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History.49 Local history in particular has undergone a dramatic renaissance in the past decade and, in turn, has sparked the collection, classification, and study of the artifactual record of many local American communities at the neighbourhood and small-town level.50

26 Simultaneously with the growing professionalism among scholars in museums came an awareness among a few universities of the possibilities of interinstitutional, interdepartmental, and interdisciplinary programmes such as those pioneered by the Winterthur Museum and The University of Delaware in 1952. Two years later the Hagley Museum - University of Delaware programme opened. The second half of the 1960s, however, witnessed a proliferation of institutions where one could pursue material culture studies: The Cooperstown Graduate Programs (New York State Historical Association - New York State University at Oneonta, 1964), Shelburne Museum - University of Vermont (1965), University of Michigan - Henry Ford Museum (1967), Old Sturbridge Village - University of Connecticut (1970), and Boston University -Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (1970). In addition to complete degree programmes in material culture studies, single course offerings in the field were to be found in art departments, architecture departments, and American Studies departments.51 Few, however, were in history departments.

27 By the 1960s a second generation of material culture researchers had come into their scholarly majority. As with the first generation most of this second group had not been formally trained in anything called "material culture studies" but rather in one of the three academic enterprises that had struggled for identity and independence throughout the 1950s: the history of American decorative arts, the history of American technology, or American historical archaeology. As before there were exceptions, such as E. McClung Fleming and Wilcomb Washburn who were initially trained as political historians but later became important figures in the teaching of American material culture.52

28 A rapid survey of this second generation's representative scholars and their pertinent work would include Brook H indie (Technology in Early America and Science in Revolutionary America); James Deetz (Invitation to Archaeology and In Small Things Forgotten: The Archaeology of Early American Life); Charles Hummel (With Hammer in Hand: The Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton, New York); John Brinckerhoff Jackson (American Space: The Centennial Years); Carl Condit (American Building and The Chicago School of Architecture); Charles F. Montgomery (American Furniture: The Federal Period); George Kubler (The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things); Ivor Noël Hume, (A Guide to the Artifacts of Colonial America and Historical Archaeology); Alan Gowans (Images of American Living: Four Centuries of Architecture and Furniture as Cultural Expression); and Don Yoder (American Folklife).53

29 This corpus of work provided the material culture studies movement with its second bookshelf of scholarly literature. These seminal books, mostly written and published in the 1960s, served as stimuli to further research, as methodological models for subsequent scholars to imitate or challenge, and, as before, as the textbooks for the next generation of students who would take up material culture study. This third generation, the first to be specifically trained for their varied careers in material culture research (for example, university teaching, museum curatorship, historic preservation, etc.), has begun, in turn, to publish its own research in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of American artifacts.54


30 What can be expected of this third generation?55 Where might American material culture studies go next? One direction will be the continuation and possibly the intensification of the current quest for appropriate methodologies or paradigms in artifact research. Already American scholars are realizing that they must find techniques for the interpretation of material culture that go beyond the simplistic assertion that artifacts are important and are somehow related to the people who produced them.56 For the most part, however, this methodological literature is only beginning to appear.

31 E. McClung Fleming, Craig Gilborn, Henry Glassie, and Anthony Garvan have offered models for artifact analysis.57 The examples to which they apply their proposed modes of analysis—a seventeenth-century American court cupboard, an eighteenth-century silver porringer, and a twentieth-century Coca Cola bottle — suggest something of the wide parameters of current American interest in material culture. Although time does not permit even a summary of these methodologies, it should be noted that each is indebted to cultural anthropology, a discipline that has strongly influenced much artifact research in the United States.58 Methodological issues are also more frequently explored now in material culture conferences and book reviews.59

32 Another future development in American material culture studies will be the direction in which many of the self-proclaimed "new" social historians are moving. Strongly influenced by the European research that has been published in the Annales d'histoire économique et sociale (now referred to in American historiography as the Annates school), as well as by two giants of French historical scholarship (Fernard Braudel and Philippe Aries),60 a number of Americans have become increasingly involved in the investigation of the material culture (or the extant documentation thereof) of the poor, the inarticulate, or the disadvantaged. This approach to material culture has been variously described as "history from the bottom up," "grass-roots history," "popular history," "non-elite history," and the "underside of history." In the United States material culture scholars who follow this orientation have been particularly interested in the artifactual remains of workers, slaves, women, children, and ethnic groups.61

33 Understandably, in their search for historical knowledge about large aggregates of a population, researchers have had to seek new tools to classify, compare, store, and retrieve enormous amounts of data. The modern computer, an artifact of post-Second World War America, is consequently becoming a necessary research aid in much material culture research.

34 Demography, political behaviour, and social structure were the historical topics to which quantitative methods were first applied by American historians. Now the techniques developed in these analyses have been employed by material culture scholars investigating the social and economic status of typical colonial men and women in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Sleepy Hollow, New York; Essex County, Massachusetts; St. Mary's, Maryland, and Williamsburg, Virginia. The majority of this research makes extensive use of computerized probate records and household inventories.62

35 The use of computerization techniques is also being attempted in the identification, registration, and storage of the abundant material culture presently housed in American museums and historical societies. The computer might also assist future material culture research in the United States by solving several pressing needs of the emerging profession, for example, the current lack of adequate finding aids to material culture collections in various institutions around the country, the lack of up-to-date material culture bibliographies, and the lack of adequate identification of graduate research as it appears in theses and dissertations.63 Such basic research tools will provide American material culture studies with greater organizational visibility, particularly in the nation's universities where it must still struggle for academic respectability. For this to happen, however, more extensive peer review of published monographs and of museum exhibitions — two major forums whereby material culturists communicate their research — becomes an absolute necessity in the immediate future.64

36 No matter what occurs as to the scholarly apparatus of the field, further specialization seems inevitable for some time to come. At the academic level scholars from the history of art and technology (who once had the field largely to themselves) recently have had to accommodate disciplines that at first glance appeared to have little to do with "physical remains" as evidence. Now various social and behavioural scientists — psychologists, sociologists, theorists of cognition — are studying material culture for what it reveals about the social and psychological realities of the past and present.65 As Kenneth Ames points out, "the diversity of questions being asked and the variety of disciplines generating them indicate that material culture is perceived as a new frontier for scholarship."66 At the popular level of the amateur collector and aficionado, a similar galloping specialization prevails—to cite but one category of evidence, the proliferation of periodicals and newsletters devoted to the sale and study of everything from hatpins to lithophanes, gravestones to barbed wire, netsuke to toothpicks.67

37 Such "balkanization" will undoubtedly continue within societies and organizations devoted to the study of American artifacts. Take, for instance, the new groups that have sprung up recently to study nineteenth-century material culture. The Victoria Society in America had its beginnings in Margot Gayle's Greenwich Village kitchen in 1968. In the decade since then American scholars, collectors, and museums have "discovered" the artifactual record of the nineteenth century with an exuberance and bravado not unlike the era itself.68 Journals (for example, Nineteenth Century, begun in 1975), publishing houses (American Life Foundation), newsletters (American Life Foundation News), and societies devoted to artifacts, primarily ones indigenous to the period (Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture, Society for Historical Photography), are all intensely serious about the collection, documentation, and interpretation of Victorian America.

38 Such a trend bespeaks a further development in current American material culture studies—a change in the definition of what constitutes a historical artifact, first as to its antiquity and second as to its provenance. In the first instance the old prescript coined by dealers, collectors, and the U.S. Customs Office — "one hundred years doth an antique make" — no longer holds among those who now work with American artifacts. Instead there has been a drift from the perennial fascination with the colonial material culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (particularly of Revolutionary America) to artifacts of the recent past. For instance, in addition to the scholarship on the nineteenth century (especially the post-Civil War era), there is great interest in Art Deco/Art Moderne decorative arts and architecture, in documentary photography since 1900, and in the material culture of roadside America (now the Society for Commerical Archaeology studies artifacts of the highway strip).69 Thanks to the fieldwork of the history curators here at Canada's National Museum of Man, we have a model for what we should be gathering of our own decade's surfeit of artifacts.70 All of this collecting of the contemporary, of course, is being paralleled by the growth of flea markets and innumerable house, lawn, and garage sales where objects of every kind are offered and bought by an ever-widening public. Nearly everything is fair game today. Reproductions of furniture produced between the First and Second World Wars by Wallace Nutting and others are actively collected at premium prices, as are certain "collectibles" created in the form of special bottles by Jim Beam Whiskey or Avon products.

39 Along with the collapse of the once rather rigid, chronological perimeters of what might be deemed "a historical artifact," has come the absorbing interest in the material culture of the American Everyman. As Fred Kniffen, a historical geographer of vernacular housing, put it: "There must be, for example, less concern for a house because some famous character lived in it and more concern that it is or that it is not typical of the houses of its time and place. The study of the unique normally adds little to the sum of understanding of human behavior. The study of the kinds of things used by people during a given historical period reveals a great deal about them."71

40 This new populist emphasis on artifact studies, focusing on vernacular, commonplace, or mass-style things as opposed to investigating solely unique, elite, high-style objects, has had analogues in other dimensions of the American material culture movement. The U.S. historical preservation cause now seeks more aggressively to save whole "historical districts" (even industrial or commercial ones), instead of simply the "Old Manse" of the town founder; American museums now mount more exhibitions devoted to the material culture of varied ethnic groups, of workers, of dissidents, and even of people who were the counterculturists of yesteryear.72 A blossoming popular culture movement has also added to the democratization of American objects to be studied, arguing that mass-produced lawn ornaments and suburban garden plots are as crucial an index to the American experience as are a Tiffany lamp or a Duncan Phyfe chair.73

41 Although the historical profession as represented by the American Historical Association has been laggard in including material culture scholarship in its journals and at its professional conclaves,74 there are a few signs that more collaboration is ongoing between what E.M. Fleming calls "university historians and museum historians."75 Equally important, we now have a trickle of American scholarship that has begun to integrate material culture research into general historical studies and even into some works now used as textbooks. To date, American historians who have attempted this — Daniel Boorstin, J.C. Furnas, Howard Mumford Jones — have all written trilogies that have enjoyed wide audiences.76

42 Understandably, the attempts at synthesis by these historians will require revision, given the onslaught of detailed research now being done and reported in newsletters, articles, museum research reports, dissertations, and monographs. In short, if there is a final agenda for American material culture studies over the next decades, it will be as follows: first, the continued labouring of an even greater number of students examining all types of physical evidence and producing an abundance of specialized studies of that data; then, I hope, a small cadre of scholars will follow and work through this mountain of invaluable primary research in order to build from it a new, comprehensive synthesis in the tradition of an Alan Gowans or a Daniel Boorstin.

43 For this to occur more will be entailed than university historians reading the work of museum historians and vice versa. As I hope is evident from this brief survey of the American material culture studies movement, the collection, preservation, and interpretation of U.S. material history has been accomplished largely by a variety of talented amateurs, museum specialists, and a few mavericks in academe rather than by university historians. The latter group, despite an occasional token acknowledgement, has traditionally ignored material culture in favor of documentary research.77 Thus the formal study of American history over the past two centuries has largely been written without reference to the three-dimensional evidence of the American past, while the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of artifacts has also too often proceeded on the basis of outmoded historical theory or inadequate historical research. In order for American material culture studies to come of age, more university historians will have to become thoroughly involved in and affiliated with the multiple dimensions of the material culture movement and, conversely, curators, preservationists, exhibit designers, and collectors will have to recognize the need for accurate, detailed, historical information and appropriate paradigms in the interpretation of American artifacts.

1 E. McClung Fleming, "History 802: The Artifact in American History" (unpublished Course Outline for Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, 1969); David Goldfield, "The Physical City As Artifact and Teaching Tool," The History Teacher 8, no. 4 (August 1975): 535-56; Charles F. Montgomery, "Classics and Collectibles: American Antiques As History and Art," Art News (November 1977) pp.126-36; Kenneth L. Ames, "Meaning in Artifacts: Hall Furnishings in Victorian America," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9, no. 1 (Summer 1978): 19-46; John Cotter, Above-Ground Archaeology (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1972); Ivor Noël Hume, Historical Archaeology (New York: Knopf, 1968), p.21; American Association of Museums, Museum Studies: A Curriculum Guide For Universities and Museums (Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1973).
2 Definitions of material culture are as diverse as the field itself. A useful and comprehensive one is offered by James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten: The Archaeology of Early American Life (New York: Doubleday, 1977), pp.24-25.
3 Pioneer America's current (1979) board of editorial advisors offers an example of the diversity of disciplines and subdisciplines frequently identified with material culture studies in the United States: folklore, place names, cultural geography, architectural history, historical geography, social anthropology, crafts, museums, American Studies, local history, and historical archaeology.
4 Winterthur Portfolio: A Journal of American Material Culture (February, 1979), p.1.
5 For example, in the 1979 graduate/undergraduate description of Boston University's American and New England Studies Program, Jane C. Nylander, a curator of Textiles and Ceramics at Old Sturbridge Village and an Adjunct Professor of American Studies at the University, is specifically designated as a specialist in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American material culture.
6 Lucius Ellsworth and Maureen O'Brien, eds., Material Culture: Historical Agencies and the Historian (Philadelphia: Book Reprint Service, 1969); Ian M.G. Quimby, ed., Material Culture and the Study of American Life (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978); Henry Glassie, Patterns in Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United States (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968).
7 As early as the 1950s Anthony N.B. Garvan offered a seminar listed as "The Material Aspects of American Culture" in the University of Pennsylvania's American Civilization Program. E.M. Fleming notes that he developed his course ("The Artifact in American History") in the Winterthur Museum-University of Delaware Program with Garvan's model in mind. This information is from an interview with E.M. Fleming, 14 August 1977; I am also indebted to Fleming's unpublished essay, "The Study and Interpretation of the Historical Artifacts: A New Profession" (1965) p. 16.
8 The Center for American Art and Material Culture brochure for prospective students (New Haven; Conn.: Yale University, 1978); also see Montgomery, "Classics and Collectibles," p. 136.
9 In 1975 the Winterthur Museum invited ten American scholars and one British scholar to a conference where these individuals were asked "to present their views on the role of historical artifacts in understanding the American past." See Quimby, Material Culture, p.xi.
10 A more detailed historical analysis of both the American material culture movement and American material culture studies can be found in Thomas J. Schlereth, "Introduction: A Historical Perspective on American Material Culture," in Material Culture Studies in America (Westpoint, Conn.: Greenwood Press), forthcoming.
11 In his study of American art in the folk tradition, Kenneth Ames notes scholars who might be called "material culturists." See Kenneth L. Ames, Beyond Necessity: Art in the Folk Tradition: an exhibition from the collections of Winterthur Museum at the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 17 September - 16 November 1977. (Winterthur Museum; distributed by W.W. Norton, ca. 1977), pp.19-20.
12 To date the American material culture movement has been studied only piecemeal. In the museum world, historical studies have been written primarily on art museums: Nathaniel Burt, A Social History of the American Art Museum(Boston: Little, Brown, 1977); Daniel M. Fox, Engines of Culture: Philanthropy and Art Museums (Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society. 1963). Only Neil Harris (for example, "The Gilded Age Revisited: Boston and the Museum Movement," American Quarterly 14, no. 4 (Winter 1962): 545-66) and Helen L. Horowitz, Culture and the City (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1976) have attempted social/cultural analyses. Historical societies have received some attention (for example David D. Van Tassel, Recording America's Past: An Interpretation of the Development of Historical Studies in America,1607 - 1884 [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960]) but much more research needs to be done, particularly in the post-First World War era. At present we have no social/cultural studies of the American collector outside of the hagiographical treatments of the wealthy entrepreneurs who amassed hordes of artifacts as part of their personal fortunes. The United States government's role in the material culture movement since the Works Progress Administration is yet to be written. Only historical preservation has been adequately chronicled. See Charles B. Hosmer, Presence of the Past: A History of the Preservation Movement in the United States Before Williamsburg (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1965); David E. Finley, History of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1947-1963 (Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1965); Elizabeth Mulloy, A History of the National Trust for Historical Preservation 1963-1973.(Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1976); and William E. Cline, Historic Preservation Literature. 1969-1977: Selected References (Monticello, III.: Council of Planning Librarians, 1978).
13 The majority of scholarship attempting to survey American material culture studies has been largely bibliographical in intent and format. See, for instance, Harold K. Skramstad, "American Things: Neglected Material Culture," American Studies International 10, no. 3 (Spring 1972): 11-22; Thomas J. Schlereth, "The City As Artifact," American Historical Association Newsletter 15, no. 2 (February 1977): 7-9; Patrick H. Butler, "Material Culture as a Resource in Local History: A Bibliography," Newberry Papersin Family and Community History 77, no. 2 (January 1977): 1-23.
14 Alice Morse Earle, Home Life in Colonial Days (New York: Macmillan, 1898); Henry C. Mercer, "The Dating of Old Houses," Bucks County (Pa.) Historical Society Papers 5: 2-9; Fiske Kimball, Domestic Architecture of the American Colonies and of the Early Republic (New York: Scribners, 1922); Wallace Nutting, Furniture of the Pilgrim Century. 1620-1720 (Farmington, Mass.: Old American Company, 1924). Mercer's contribution to material culture studies, particularly in the area of tools, is the subject of a Winterthur-University of Delaware thesis: Donna G. Rosenstein, "Historic Human Tools: Henry Chapman Mercer and His Collection, 1897 - 1930 " (1977). Another Winterthur thesis is a good history survey of regional collecting practices: Richard H. Saunders, "Collecting American Decorative Arts in New England, Part I (1873-1876); Part II (1876-1910)," Antiques 109: 996-1003; 110: 754-63.
15 On the restoration of Williamsburg see William G. Perry, "Notes on the Architecture," Architectural Record 78, no. 6 (December 1935): 367-77; and Colonial Williamsburg Official Guidebook and Map (Williamsburg, Va., 1970), pp.xii-xix. On Greenfield Village consult Roderick Nash, "Henry Ford: Symbol for an Age," in The Nervous Generation: American Thought. 1917-1930 (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1970), pp.153-63; and William Greenleaf, From These Beginnings: The Early Philanthropies of Henry and Edsel Ford. 1911-1938 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964), pp.71-100. For additional instances of the entrepreneurial founding of many American outdoor museum villages see Richard W.E. Perrin, Outdoor Museums, Milwaukee Public Museum Publications in Museology no. 4 (Milwaukee, Wis.: 1975).
16 See Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Wing: A Guide to the Collections (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1961).
17 Holger Cahill, "Introduction," in Treasury of the Index of American Design (New York: Harry Abrams, n.d.), pp.xix-xxvii. Also see Charles C. Alexander, Nationalism in American Thought, 1930-45 (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1969), pp.72-76; Alfred H. Jones, "The Search for a Useable Past in the New Deal Era," American Quarterly 23 (1971): 710-24.
18 U.S., Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1941); Charles B. Hosmer, "The Broadening View of the Historical Preservation Movement," in Quimby, Material Culture, pp.124-28; Freeman Tilden, Interpreting Our Heritage (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967); and Robert G. Garvey and Terry B. Morton, "The United States Government in Historic Preservation," Monumentum 2 (1968): 24-26.
19 Montgomery, "Classics and Collectibles," p. 132.
20 Hart M. Nelson, "The Democratization of the Antique: Meanings of Antiques and Dealer's Perceptions of Customers," Sociological Review 18 (1970): 407-419. Also useful on this point is W. Lloyd Warner, ed., Yankee City (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963), pp.64-67; Robert Maisel, "Antiques, Old and New: Changing Patterns of Middle Class Sumptuary Styles" (Paper read at the American Sociological Association Meeting, Chicago, 1965); and Russell Lynes, The Taste Makers, (New York: Harper and Row, 1954), pp.238-41.
21 Abbot Cummings perceptively identified one of the key cultural implications of the multiplication of historic museum villages in the 1950s and 1960s: "Few changes of the past generation have been so unsettling as the expansion of the American village into a sprawling, impersonal aggregation of buildings — neither a city nor town. The impact on people's imaginations by the disappearance of the village can be best measured in the number of restored and reconstructed villages which have sprung into existence in the last few years." Cummings went on to suggest that there were civic lessons to be learned in the museum villages by "those who hope to discover some clue to the problem of how we may keep our own environments from losing completely the sense of unity among people that existed in the early American village," (Abbot Cummings, Art in America 43, no. 2 [May 1955]: 12-13.)
22 Edward P. Alexander, "Historical Restorations," in In Support of Clio, eds. W. Hesseltine and W. McNeil, (Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1958), pp.195-214; Frederick L. Rath, Jr. and Merrilyn Rogers O'Connell, "Outdoor Museums," in Guide to Historic Preservation, Historical Agencies, and Museum Practices: A Selective Bibliography (Cooperstown, N.Y.: New York State Historical Association, 1970), pp.29-31.
23 E. McClung Fleming, "Accent on Artist and Artisan: The Winterthur Program in Early American Culture," American Quarterly 22 (1970): 593. As with most "firsts" in any field, the history of Winterthur's founding and early decades has been minutely and continually retold; for example, see "Winterthur: Country's Newest Museum Cooperating with University," University News (University of Delaware, March 1952); "Experience is the Best Teacher: The Winterthur Program," University News, (University of Delaware, Spring 1955); E. McClung Fleming, "The Winterthur Program in Early American Culture," American Studies 14, no. 4 (July 1959); "The Winterthur Program," American Life: A Collectors Annual (1964); John A. Munroe, "The Museum and The University," Curator 2, no. 3 (1959); Wayne Craven, "The Winterthur Program in Early American Culture: A n Experiment in a Joint Institutional Inter-Disciplinary Curriculum," Winterthur Portfolio 1 (1964); Charles H. Bohner, " New Castle County: Crossroads of History," University News (University of Delaware, Spring 1964), reprinted by the Wemeyss Foundation as "American Studies at Delaware"; Dorothy W. Greer, "The Winterthur Program: Preparing the Specialists to Preserve the Past," University News (University of Delaware, Summer 1966); Bigelow P. Cushman, "The Winterthur Program," Museum News (April 1969).
24 The College Art Association's Art Bulletin (1913-) and the SAH Decorative Arts Chapter, Decorative Arts Newsletter (1975-). In 1979 the Decorative Arts Chapter changed its name to Decorative Arts Society. On the evolution of the ASAH, see "A.S.A.H. Beginnings: A Report," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1, no. 1 (January 1941): 20-22.
25 Melvin Kranzberg, "At the Start," Technology and Culture 1 (1960): 1.
26 See Industrial Archaeology 1, no. 1 (Winter 1973): 1-2.
27 Jay Anderson, "Immaterial Material Culture: The Implications of Experimental Research for Folklife Museums," Keystone Folklore Quarterly 21, no. 2 (1976-77): 6. Also see James B. Griffin, "The Pursuit of Archaeology in the United States," American Anthropologist 61 (1959): 379-88; Douglas Schwartz, "North American Archaeology in History Perspective," Actes du Congrès International d'Histoire de Sciences 2 (Warsaw and Cracow: 1968): 311-15; Gordon Wiley and Philip Phillips, "Method and Theory in American Archaeology, II: Historical-Developmental Interpretations," American Archaeologist 57: 723-819; and Gordon R. Wiley and Jeremy A. Sabloff, A History of American Archaeology(San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1974).
28 George Tremaine McDowell, American Studies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1948), p.7.
29 The longstanding and productive interconnection between American material culture studies and American Studies deserves a more extended historical analysis than is merely hinted at in this essay. In a future publication I hope to document and interpret this point more fully. Suffice it to say that material culture studies have been an important part of American Studies in terms of (a) pedagogical strategies (for example, see Linda Funk Place et al., "The Object as Subject: The Role of Museums and Material Culture Collections in American Studies," American Quarterly 26, no. 3 [1974]: 281-94); (b) methodological debates (for example see John L. Cotter, "Archaeology and Material History: A Personal Approach to the Discovery of the Past," in The Study of American Cultures/Contemporary Conflicts, ed. Luther S. Luedtke [Deland, Florida: Everett/Edwards, 1977], pp.77-98); (c) periodical journals (for example, see Mortin Cronin, "Currier and Ives: A Content Analysis," American Quarterly 4 [1952]: 317-30); (d) theoretical perspectives (for example, see Henry Glassie, "Meaningful Things and Appropriate Myths: The Artifact's Place in American Studies," in Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies, ed. Jack Salzman [New York: Burt Franklin, 1977], pp.2-49); (e) national meetings (for example, see Sixth Biennial Convention of the American Studies Association Program [Boston, Mass., 1977], pp.16, 18, 19, 22, 28, 36, 43, 46); and (f) bibliographical literature (for example, see Harold Skramstad, "American Things: A Neglected Material Culture," American Studies: An International Newsletter 10, no. 3 [Spring 1972]: 11-22).
30 Originally published in 1948 under the title Made In America. Recent editions have carried the title The Arts in Modern American Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton, 1967); an abridgement of the Kouwenhoven thesis can be found in his essay, "Democracy, Machines and Vernacular Design," The Ohio Review: A Journal of the Humanities 14, no. 2 (Winter 1973): pp. 4-22.
31 John Kouwenhoven, American Studies: Words or Things (Wilmington, Del.: Wemeyss Foundation: 1962). This argument is reprinted in Marshall W. Fishwick, ed., American Studies in Transition (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964) pp. 15-35.
32 Ames, Beyond Necessity, pp.13-21.
33 Brooke Hindle cites the early Green volume as among the first specialized local economic history studies of an American city to pay considerable attention to technological and urban material culture. See Brooke Hindle, Technology in Early America: Needs and Opportunities for Study (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966), p.39.
34 See author's introduction in Thomas J. Wertenbaker, The Founding of American Civilization, 3 vols.: The Middle Colonies (New York: C. Scribners, 1938); The Old South (New York: C. Scribners, 1942); The Puritan Oligarchy (New York: C. Scribners, 1947). Also see T.J. Wertenbaker, "The Archaeology of Colonial Williamsburg," Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1953 (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1964).
35 Only James Truslow Adams in his contribution Provincial Society. 1690-1763 (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927) to Dixon Ryan Fox and Arthur Schlesinger's pioneering twelve-volume survey of American social and cultural history (History of American Life series) paid token attention to colonial material culture.
36 Jens Lund and R. Serge Denisoff, "The Folk Music Revival and the Counter-Culture: Contributions and Contradictions," Journal of American Folklore 84, no. 331 (October-December 1971): 394-405. For another perspective on the growth and institutionalization of American folklore study see John Williams, "Radicalism and Professionalism in Folklore Studies: A Comparative Perspective," Journal of Folklore Institute 11, no. 3 (March 1975): 211-34.
37 Philip Gleason, "Our New Age of Romanticism," America 7, (October 1967), pp. 372-75.
38 Until the twentieth century, historic preservation had been largely the province of women and women's groups such as Ann Pamela Cunningham's Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and the Ladies' Hermitage Association, while the conservation of the American natural landscape had been primarily a masculine avocation led by individuals such as George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Law Olmsted, John Wesley Powell, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir.
39 John Maass, The Glorious Enterprise: The Centennial Exhibition of 1876 and H.J. Schwarzmann, Architect-In-Chief (Watkins Glen, NY.: American Life Foundation, 1973), pp. 8 4 - 9 2 .
40 Carl Condit, "The Chicago School and the Modern Movement in Architecture," Art In America 36 (January 1948): 19-37.
41 William H. Pierson, Jr., and Martha Davidson, eds. Arts of the United States. A Pictorial Survey (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), pp.vii-x.
42 Neil Harris, "Museums, Merchandising and Popular Taste: The Struggle for Influence," in Quimby, Material Culture, pp.140-74; David Lowenthal, "The Bicentennial Landscape: A Mirror Held Up to The Past," The Geographical Review 67, no. 3 (July 1977): 253-67.
43 Robert C. Post, ed., 1876: Centennial Exhibition, a catalogue of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1976).
44 Thomas J. Schlereth, "The 1876 Centennial: A Heuristic Model for Comparative American Studies," Hayes Historical Journal 1, no. 3 (Spring 1977): 201-10.
45 Montgomery, "Classics and Collectibles," p. 134.
46 For a sample of NEH-sponsored museum exhibitions consult staff reports, "Grants For Planning/Implementing Exhibitions," issued periodically by NEH, Washington, D.C.
47 Smithsonian Opportunities For Research and Study In History, Art and Science (Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution, 1974).
48 Also see U.S., Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Institute of Museum Services, Program Information and Application Procedures — Fiscal Year 1979 (Washington, D.C, 1979).
49 Ellen C. Hicks, "The AAM After Seventy-Two Years," Museum News 56, no. 5 (May/June 1978): 47 - 49.
50 W. Wayne Smith et al., "New Approaches In Teaching Local History," Newberry Papers in Family and Community History 78, no. 5.
51 Sample single-course offerings would include those given by Joanna Schneider Zangrando, "Material Culture in the United States" (Skidmore College); staff, "Material Aspects of American Civilization" (University of Pennsylvania); Wilcomb Washburn and Bernard Mergen, "Material Aspects of American Civilization" and Lawrence Lankton, "Introduction to Industrial Archaeology and Material Culture" (George Washington University-Smithsonian Institution); Thomas J. Schlereth, "Material Culture in America" (University of Notre Dame).
52 Fleming has chronicled his professional odyssey in an unpublished lecture, "Artifacts, The Museum Historian, and American Studies," delivered at Heidelberg College, Tiffin, Ohio, and also in a second essay, "The Study and Interpretation of the Historical Artifact: A New Profession," presented to the Fellows in American Studies in 1965. I am indebted to Dr. Fleming for sharing these two essays with me. Professor Washburn, in addition to being a well-known scholar on the American Indian and on American colonial history, has been interested in historical cartography and museum studies. He, like Fleming (see note 57), continues to be interested in the methodology of material culture studies. See his "Manuscripts and Manufacts," The American Archivist 27, no. 2 (April 1964): 247-50.
53 Brooke Hindle, Technology in Early America: Needs and Opportunities For Study (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966) and The Pursuit of Science in Early America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1972); James Deetz, Invitation to Archaeology (New York: Natural History Press, 1967) and In Small Things Forgotten: The Archaeology of Early American Life (New York: Doubleday, 1977); Charles Hummel, With Hammer in Hand: The Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton. New York (Charlotte, Va.: University of Virginia Press, 1968); John Brinckerhoff Jackson, American Space: The Centennial Years, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1972); Carl Condit, American Building (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968) and The Chicago School of Architecture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964); Charles F. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period (New York: Viking Press, 1966); George Kubler, The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1961); Ivor Noël Hume, A Guide to the Artifacts of Colonial America (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1970) and Historical Archaeology (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1969); Alan Gowans, Images of American Living: Four Centuries of Architecture and Furniture as Cultural >Expression (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott, 1964); Don Yoder, American Folklife (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1976).
54 Although bibliographies on material culture studies have begun to appear (for example, Skramstad, Butler, Schlereth, etc.) there has yet to be an extensive historiographical analysis of the published literature.
55 Representative of this diversified third generation would be the work of Kenneth Ames, Henry Glassie, David Orr, John Kirk, Alan Ludwig, Ruth Schwartz Cowen, John Vlach, Robert Trent, Clifford Clark, Craig Gilborn, Neil Harris, Jay Cantor, Barbara Carson, Darwin Kelsey, Arlene Palmer, and Cary Carson.
56 A critique of material culture study's usefulness for purposes of historical study was first argued by William B. Hesseltine in his presentation, "The Challenge of the Artifact," in The Present World of History (Madison, Wis.: American Association for State and Local History, 1959), pp.64-70. A rebuttal was put forth by John Chavis, "The Artifact and the Study of History," Curator 7, no. 2 (1964): 156-62 and E. McClung Fleming, "Early American Decorative Arts as Social Documents," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 14 (Summer 1962): 260-74.
57 E. McClung Fleming, "Artifact Study, A Proposed Model," Winterthur Portfolio 9 (1974): 153-73; Craig Gilborn, "Pop Pedagogy: Looking at the Coke Bottle," Museum News 47, no. 4 (December 1968): 12-18; Henry Glassie, Folk Housing in Middle Virginia (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1975), esp. pp.41-113; Anthony N.B. Garvan, "Historical Depth in Comparative Culture Study," American Quarterly 14 (1962): 260-74, and "The New England Porringer: An Index of Custom," Smithsonian Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1958), pp.543-52; John T. Schlebecker, "The Use of Objects in Historical Research," Agricultural History 51 (January 1977): 200-08; Edward J. Nygren, "Edward Winslow's Sugar Boxes: Colonial Echoes of Courtly Love," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 33, no. 2 (Autumn 1975): 39-52. In Canada Alan Gowans, at the Institute for the Study of Universal History Through Arts and Artifacts (ISUH), has been particularly interested in methodological issues; see his On Parallels in Universal History: Discoverable In Arts and Artifacts (Watkins Glen, N.Y.: ISUH, 1974).
58 Garvan and others, in setting up the Index of American Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and the Winterthur Museum, borrowed many ideas from George P. Murdock et al., Outline of Cultural Materials (New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Files, Inc., 1952).
59 As an example of this new tough-mindedness see Brooke Hindle, "How Much is a Piece of the True Cross Worth?," and Cary Carson, "Doing History with Material Culture," in Quimby, Material Culture, pp.5-20, 41-64.
60 Fernand Braudel, Capitalism and Material Life: 1400-1800. trans. Miriam Kochan (London: George Weiderfeld and Nicholson, 1973); Philipe Aries, Western Attitudes Toward Death from Middle Ages To the Present, trans. Patricia M. Ranum (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974).
61 John M. Vlach, "The Shotgun House: An African Architectural Legacy," Parts Ⅰ and Ⅱ, Pioneer America 8 (January 1976, April 1976): 47-56, 57-70; Cary Carson, "The Virginia House in Maryland," Maryland Historical Magazine 69, no. 2 (Summer 1974): 185-96; Russell Menard, "From Servant to Freehold: Status Mobility and Property Accumulation in Seventeenth Century Maryland," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser. 30, no. 1 (January 1973): 37-64; Glassie, Folk Housing.
62 See Broadside 1, no. 1 (Notre Dame, Ind.: [University of Notre Dame] Program in American Material Culture, 1978): 1-3.
63 Thomas J. Schlereth, "It Wasn't That Simple," Museum News 56, no. 3 (January/February 1978): 36-44.
64 Thomas W. Leavitt, "Toward a Standard of Excellence: The Nature and Purpose of Exhibit Reviews," Technology and Culture 9 (January 1968): 70-75; E. McClung Fleming, "The Museum Exhibit as a Curatorial Publication," Museum News 50, no. 10 (June 1972): 39-43.
65 Studies suggesting avenues for studying artifacts from social or psychological perspectives include Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969) and The Silent Language (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973); Albert Scheflen, How Behavior Means (New York: J. Aronson, 1974); Robert Sommer, Personal Space (Englewood Cliffs, N.Y.: Prentice-Hall, 1969). Cognition and communication are discussed in Howard Gardner, The Arts and Human Development: A Psychological Study of the Artistic Process (New York: A. Knopf, 1973); D.E. Berlyne, Aesthetics and Psychobiology (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971); Barbara Leondar and David Perkins, eds., The Arts and Cognition (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, ca. 1977). Also influential upon American scholars has been the work of Roland Barthes, Mythologies (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1957) and of Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969).
66 Kenneth L. Ames, "Meaning in Artifacts: Hall Furnishings in Victorian America," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9:1 (Summer 1978), p.20.
67 Ralph and Terry Kovel, Specialized and General Publications for the Collector (Beachwood, Ohio: n.p.: 1978).
68 Nineteenth Century 1:1 (1975) pp.2-4.
69 Chester H. Liebs, "Remember Our Not-So-Distant Past?" Historic Preservation 30:1 (January/March 1978), pp.30-35; Proceedings, First Annual Conference, Society for Commercial Archaeology, Boston, 15 November 1977 (Burlington, Vt.: SCA: 1979); Bruce A. Lohof, "The Service Station in America: The Evolution of a Vernacular Form," Industrial Archaeology 2:2 (Spring 1974), pp.1-13; Robert Heide and John Gilman, Dime-Store Dream Parade, Popular Culture, 1925-1955 (New York: Dutton: 1979); Warren J. Belasco, "The Origins of the Roadside Strip, 1900 - 1940 , " Paper presented at the 1979 OAH meeting, New Orleans, 13 April 1979.
70 Barbara Riley, "Contemporary Collecting: A Case History," Decorative Arts Newsletter 4:3 (Summer 1978) pp.3-6.
71 Fred Kniffen, "On Corner-Timering," Pioneer America 1, no. 1 (January 1969): 1.
72 Representative museum exhibitions in this category would include "Plain and Elegant, Rich and Common, Documented County Furniture," New Hampshire Historical Society, 1978 (Concord, New Hampshire); "American Folk Art from the Traditional to the Naive," Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978 (Cleveland, Ohio); "Bo'Jou, Neejeel Profiles of Canadian Art," National Museum of Man, National Museums of Canada, in the Renwick Gallery, 1979 (Washington, D.C.); "At Home: Domestic Life in the Post-Centennial Era, 1876-1920," State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1976 (Madison, Wisconsin); "The Afro-American Decorative Arts," Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978 (Cleveland, Ohio).
73 Fred E. Schroeder, "The Democratic Yard and Garden," in his Outlaw Aesthetics: Arts and the Public Mind (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1977), pp.94-122; Thomas J . Schlereth, "Plants Past: A Historian's Use of Vegetation as Material Culture Evidence," Environmental Review, in press.
74 On the continual neglect by historians of the potential of material culture evidence, see Charles T. Lyle, "The Historian's Attitude Toward the Artifact" (M.A. thesis, Winterthur — University of Delaware, 1972).
75 E. McClung Fleming, "The University and the Museum: Needs and Opportunities for Cooperation," Museologist 3 (June 1969): 10-18.
76 Daniel Boorstin, The Americans (New York: Random House, 1958-73): vol. 1, The Colonial Experience (1958); vol. 2, The National Experience (1965); vol. 3, The Democratic Experience (1973). Howard Mumford Jones, Strange New World: American Culture: The Formative Years (New York: Viking Press, 1964); The Age of Energy: Varieties of American Experience. 1865-1915 (New York: Viking Press, 1971); a third Jones volume is forthcoming. J.C. Furnas, The Americans: A Social History of the United States, 1587-1914 (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1969); Great Times: An Informal Social History of the United States, 1914-1929 (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1974); Stormy Weather: Crosslights on the Nineteen Thirties, An Informal Social History of the United States. 1929-1941 (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1971).
77 Lyle, "The Historian's Attitude," pp.21-28.