Historic Real Estate: Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States


Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press
Publish Date
7.01 X 10.08 X 1.1 inches | 1.55 pounds

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About the Author

Whitney Martinko is Associate Professor of History at Villanova University.


The integration of the histories of preservation and capitalism in this book is innovative and analytically nuanced. The volume is handsomely produced, with a readable format, useful illustrations, and an attractive plate section. The overall physical quality of the volume reinforces its substantial contribution to the role of preservation in shaping early national America. Historic Real Estate is a fine book, and it should stand as a valuable new addition to the edifice of scholarship on architecture, economy, and society in the nineteenth-century United States.-- "Journal of Early American History"

Using an impressive variety of visual, textual, and linguistic sources, [Martinko] reframes common understandings of early American preservation around concepts of virtue and economic morality in the public and private sectors, contending that preservation is a central part of the history of urbanism and capitalism in the United States. In doing so, Martinko joins a small but growing number of preservation scholars whose research challenges long-held beliefs about preservation's early predilection for aestheticism and nation-building...Martinko's calls for connection--for communication and recognition of each other across space and time--provide a much needed push to incorporate a more humanistic, unifying, and integrative approach to society's treatment of the historic built environment.

-- "The Public Historian"
With skill and great insight, Whitney Martinko reveals the centrality of the architectural past to the nation's capitalist future. By steering the forces of creative destruction away from select structures, nineteenth-century Americans ultimately made it easier to shroud real estate development in the mantle of a public-spirited idealism that persists to the present day. The strength of Martinko's analysis is matched only by the production value of this lavishly illustrated volume.-- "Seth Rockman, Brown University"