The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Homes through American History
by Thomas W. Paradis
March 2008, 1840pp, 7x10
4 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33496-2
$367, £272, 306€, A525
eBook Available: 978-0-313-05550-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Discover the rich history of American houses and apartments, from hand-built shelters of the settlers of the early colonies to innovative urban lofts and conspicuous McMansions of today.

Beginning with the homes of the first European settlers to the North American colonies, and concluding with the latest trends in construction and design of houses and apartments in the United States, Homes through American History is a four-volume set intended for a general audience. From tenements to McMansions, from wattle-and-daub construction in early New England to sustainable materials for green housing, these books provide a rich historical tour through housing in the United States. Divided into 10 historical periods, the series explores a variety of home types and issues within a social, historical, and political context. For use in history, social studies, and literature classes, Homes through American History identifies ; A brief historical overview of the era, in order provide context to the discussion of homes and dwellings. ; Styles of domestic architecture around the country. ; Building material and manufacturing. ; Home layout and design. ; Furniture and decoration. ; Landscaping and outbuildings.


    The four volumes in the set are each divided into two or three eras. Highlights of each volume include the following. Volume One, 1492-1820, includes:
  • Homes in the Colonial Era, 1492-1781
  • Information about regional home-building material and techniques such as wattle and daub in the Northeast; brick and mortar in Virginia
  • wood for Massachusetts; adobe for the Southwest; and tabby in the Southeast
  • The gradual move to a new colonial style, including the saltbox style in the Northeast; Dutch colonial in the Middle colonies; and eventually Georgian and classical revival styles in the South and throughout the colonies
  • The importance of fences to establish property
  • Homes in the Federal Era, 1782-1820 by Melissa Duffes
  • Use of pattern books in design and construction
  • Innovations in building materials and services
  • Franklin stoves, Rumford ranges for heat
  • Plumbing—pumps and privies
  • Purpose-built rooms for designated events such as dining and the move of the bed out of the parlor into a bedroom
  • The importance of working gardens for houses in town
  • Volume Two, 1821-1900, includes:
  • Homes in the Revival Era, 1821-1860 by Nancy B. Mingus
  • Settlement patterns
  • The popularity of octagon houses
  • Cellars, attics, carriage houses, summer kitchens, and porches
  • Homes in the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1861-1880 by Thomas W. Paradis
  • Westward expansion and homestead acts
  • Styles including Italianate, Italian Villa, Stick Style, Eastlake
  • Second Empire
  • Tenements in New York, Sanitary Housing, and the beginning of company towns, such as Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Homes in the Gilded Era, 1881-1900 by Elizabeth B. Greene
  • Victorian home designs
  • Lavish ornamentation
  • Tenement living
  • Spread of indoor plumbing
  • Volume Three, 1901-1945, includes:
  • Homes in the Early Modern Era, 1901-1920 by Leslie Cormier
  • The use of electric lights
  • Planned parks and housing around them
  • Model town planning and garden apartments
  • Homes in the Depression and World War II Era, 1921-1945, by Neal Hitch
  • The massive impact on houses in the 1920s and 1930s by the automobile, improvements in refrigeration, heating technology, the telephone, and the radio
  • The movement toward small, owner-occupied, single-family housing
  • Volume Four, 1946-Present, includes:
  • Homes in the Suburban Era, 1946-1970 by Jane C. Busch
  • Opposition between traditional styles and modern design
  • the popularity of the ranch house and split level home
  • Interstate highways, shopping centers, and suburbs
  • Attempts and failures at urban renewal
  • Retirement communities
  • Homes in the Neoeclectic Era, 1971-1985 by Mark E. Braun
  • The rise of consumerism, yuppies, and homelessness
  • Design of new towns
  • Do-it-yourself remodeling and design
  • The beginnings of energy consciousness
  • Homes in the New Era, 1986-Present by Brenda Kayzar
  • New trends that draw from the past (small towns, compact design, mixed uses), now politically encompassed under the umbrella
  • ideal of Smart Growth
  • Support for new urbanist ideals of neo-traditional design, transit-oriented development, and infill projects


Booklist Editors' Choice 2008—ALA, January 1, 2008


"The set covers ten historical eras beginning with the Colonial era and ending with the period 1986 to present. Each era is introduced by a time line and short historical essay. Other essays synthesize research under topics such as building materials, house plans, interior design, and landscaping. Geographical differences in architecture are covered under Styles....Although essays end with references, readers also will find a glossary and resource guide for each era, an index for each volume, and a general bibliography in the last volume....Although this work gives some emphasis to vernacular architecture, not surprisingly the homes of the wealthy receive the most attention. The value of the set lies behind the pretty facade of the American home, in the contributors' exploration of the interaction of physical house and family life. Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, November 1, 2008

"Written by experts in architectural history, these volumes not only provide an extensive overview of the progression from colonial cabins to present-day loft condominiums but also attempt to weave together the influences of geography, politics, and the national and global economy on the American home.This treatment of homes in unlike any other; a wonderful marriage between architectural history and the events and cultural developments that surround it. Highly recommended for all academic libraries with architecture or architectural history programs as well as public libraries where historical architecture is an area of emphasis."—Booklist, Starred Review, November 15, 2008

"This set covers the American home from the colonial period to the present. Primarily concerned with the technical and stylistic aspects of American architecture, the social and economic influences are also discussed in detail making this collection even more valuable....The text is enriched by photographic reproductions of architectural aspects, furniture, interior decorations, and gardens and fences. Blue-print style floor plans are abundant. Though its focus is very specific, this could be a valuable reference for students doing American history research."—Library Media Connection, December 1, 2008

"Numerous sidebars and illustrations, full color as well as black and white, highlight particular styles and fashions. The result is an informative guide that will serve public and academic library collections."—Lawrence Looks at Books, June 1, 2008

"Black-and-white photographs and a handful of color plates enhance this thoughtful text, accessible to students, lay readers, and architecture historians alike. Enthusiastically recommended for college library collections due to its winning combination of extensive research, fine detail, and immersive narrative flow, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Homes Through American History is a must-read for anyone researching its subject, regardless of professional background."—Midwest Book Review, May 1, 2008

"The writing style for this work is engaging. Information included is interesting and informative. This set could be used by general readers or scholarly researchers as a starting point for almost any inquiry concerning American architecture. This set is recommended for public, high school, academic, and architectural libraries."—ARBA, March 1, 2009

". . . intended for a general audience and would be appropriate for a public or a university library. Readers interested in American history, architecture, urban planning, preservation or cultural studies would find the set very informative. . . . worth the price and is highly recommended."—Reference Reviews, March 24, 2009
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