The Library of Congress and W.W. Norton & Company announced the launch of the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design and Engineering series with its first book, "Barns," by John Michael Vlach.
Vlach, professor of American Studies at George Washington University, discussed "Barns" at a celebratory program April 10, sponsored jointly by the Library's new Center for American Architecture, Design and Engineering (see sidebar); the Center for the Book; the Publishing Office; the American Folklife Center; and the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record of the National Park Service.
"Barns" presents a new perspective on American history through one of America's unique cultural landmarks. Drawn from the vast holdings of the Library of Congress, more than 800 illustrations provide a tour of significant barns across the United States, from New England to the Great Lakes, the South, the Midwest, and the Far West. "Barns" is an invaluable resource for architects, historians, students, and all those who love barns.
Vlach's text provides an overview of the development of a building type that has served to define the nature and growth of the United States and its people. It traces geographical and chronological continuities of barn type, design, and construction, as well as Dutch, German, French, and Spanish influences. Captions identify each document and building, and images are included on a CD-ROM with a link to the Library's high-resolution files. The book includes materials from the Prints and Photographs and Geography and Map divisions, the American Folklife Center, and the Library's general collections.
Said C. Ford Peatross, curator of the Library's Architecture, Design and Engineering Collections, who also serves on its editorial board and as a series' adviser: "The book series is enormously exciting–we're getting the very best authors. The response from experts has been wonderful and having them choose from the Library's incredible resources to create these books is very satisfying."
Among future books and authors planned for the visual sourcebooks series are "Canals" by Robert Kapsch, "Theaters" by Craig Morrison, "Stairways" by Michael Lewis, and "Dams" by Christine Macy. Other advisers and editorial board members for the series are Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago; David G. De Long, University of Pennsylvania; and Nancy Green of W.W. Norton.
"Barns," a 400-page hardcover book, with more than 840 illustrations, is available for $75 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library Sales Shop. For credit card orders, call (888) 682-3557.