Product Details

Still Philadelphia Photo Hist
Miller, Vogel, Davis
Temple Univ Press
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Date Listed:
2007-04-24 20:04:20
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Still Philadelphia
A Photographic History, 1890-1940

By Fredric M. Miller, Morris J. Vogel and Allen F. Davis.

Cloth with dust jacket, 312 pages, 8x10, 282 halftones.

"This is a book about Philadelphia and about photography, but it is not the usual book about either.

"On one level, this is the pictorial story of a great industrial metropolis in transition. It is the story of a railroad city, a city of trolleys and subways and horse-drawn vehicles, as it gradually succumbed to the automobile. It is the story of a city filled with neighborhood industry giving way to suburbs, to commuter travel, and to a change in the very nature of work. It is the story of a city spreading out, expanding and doubling in population in fifty years. It is the story of urban exuberance and vitality where ethnic groups mixed and mingled, but it is also the story of slums and poverty, crime and conflict.

"On another level, this is a Philadelphia family album. It is filled with pictures of ordinary people, who look out at us from the past. Some of these people are captured accidentally by the camera, some are posed by the photographer, but none are seated for a formal portrait. Most are wearing their everyday clothes and many are working, shopping, walking, or playing. In addition to the faces, the photographs in this book record thousands of places—neighborhoods, markets, mills, factories, houses, and even a few farms—ordinary scenes that capture some of the texture of life in another age.

"Still Philadelphia focuses on the city of immigrants and industry, not on the lives and houses of the wealthy. It says little about unusual civic occasions and nothing about political events. The reader will not find a photograph of a mayor or a celebrity, or even pictures of the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition. Although City Hall can be detected in many photographs, and a few public buildings, such as the Art Museum, may be seen in the distance in some views, the authors have avoided the ceremonial, carefully composed shots of public institutions and private mansions that usually grace photographic books on Philadelphia and other cities. In fact, this may be the first illustrated book on Philadelphia without a picture of Independence Hall."

Fredric M. Miler is Curator of the Urban Archives Center, Paley Library, Temple University.

Morris J. Vogel is Associate Professor of History, Temple University.

Allen F. Davis is Professor of History, Temple University, and co-editor of The Peoples of Philadelphia, published by Temple University Press.