The Arts in Early American History: An Essay

The Arts in Early American History: An Essay

The Arts in Early American History: An Essay

The Arts in Early American History: An Essay

Synopsis

This summary essay and the heavily annotated bibliography covering the period from the first colonization to 1826 are primarily intended to aid the scholar and student by suggesting areas of further study and ways of expanding the conventional interpretations of early American history.

Originally published in 1935.

Excerpt

During the past dozen years the Institute of Early American History and Culture has held several conferences on needs and opportunities for study in various fields of early American history. From these has evolved the publication of Whitfield J. Bell’s Early American Science (1955), William N. Fenton’s American Indian and White Relations to 1830 (1957), and Bernard Bailyn’s Education in the Forming of American Society (1960). a similar conference on the arts was held at the Conference Center at Williamsburg on March 7, 1964, under the joint sponsorship of the Institute, Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated, the Archives of American Art, and the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.

In preparation for it, I drafted an essay and Mr. and Mrs. Wendell D. Garrett a bibliography, designed to induce discussion, that were circulated in advance among the participants. Edgar P. Richardson, Director of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, was invited to comment upon them from the point of view of the practicing art historian, and Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., Associate Librarian of the American Philosophical Society, to perform the same function as a social and cultural historian. Wilcomb E. Washburn, Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian Institution, who with Lester J. Cappon, Charles F. Montgomery, and me had been involved in the earliest planning of the conference, was asked to sum up the discussion. John A. Munroe of the University of Delaware, Clifford K. Shipton of the American Antiquarian Society, Frederick B. Tolles of Swarthmore College, and Lawrence W. Towner of the Newberry Library . . .

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