Title Reviewed:
A Guide to Early American Homes: South; A Guide to Early American Homes: North

Author Reviewed:
Dorothy Pratt; Richard Pratt; Dorothy Pratt; Richard Pratt

Ruth C. Heffner


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 81-82

Article Type:
Book Review

Download Source:

A Guide to Early American Homes: South. By Dorothy and Richard Pratt. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1956. Pp. viii, 227. Numerous illustrations, index. $3.75.)

A Guide to Early American Homes: North. By Dorothy and Richard Pratt. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1956. Pp. viii, 251. Numerous illustrations, index. $3.75.)

These two books together constitute a remarkably detailed and useful guide to the early American homes east of the Mississippi. Listed here for the first time are "virtually every open house of any merit" in the region, and "for the first time hundreds of private homes whose owners, through the Guide, have generously agreed to let their homes be visited under conditions set down in each case." The authors have included some one thousand Northern and some eight hundred Southern homes, homes of great magnificence and homes of simplicity and charm, as well as restoration villages, and house and garden tours open to the public. Richard Pratt, architectural editor of the Ladies Home Journal, and his wife, Dorothy Pratt, collaborated on the Journal's "Regional Series," out of which grew the Treasury of Early American Homes and these two Guides.

These books are flexibly organized by states and by regions within states. Brief sketches of the types of homes in each state are given, and a paragraph or two is devoted to each home, pointing out what the authors believe to be its most distinguishing features, whether they be architectural or historical or both. Along with these thumbnail sketches the authors provide extremely practical information on the conditions for viewing each home, the admission fee, the name of the owner, and the location of the home. These Guides can save the traveler many hours of searching and many disappointments. The numerous photographs (black and white and averaging more than one per page) are exceptionally well chosen, and a quick glance through each Guide serves to illustrate the architectural variations from state to state, region to region.

Although not intended as an historical study of the homes of the North and the South, these books will provide a guide to a lifetime of delightful viewing of the early homes from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and will undoubtedly convey to the reader the authors' own enthusiastic appreciation for this aspect of the American heritage.

Ruth C. Heffner, Indiana Magazine of History

Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.