New Book | Stewards of Memory

Posted in books by Editor on February 18, 2019

From The University of Virginia:

Carol Borchert Cadou, with Luke Pecoraro and Thomas Reinhart, eds., Stewards of Memory: The Past, Present, and Future of Historic Preservation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon (Charlottestville: The University of Virginia Press, 2018), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-0813941516 (cloth), $60, ISBN: 978-0813941523 (paper), $30.

Mount Vernon, despite its importance as the estate of George Washington, is subject to the same threats of time as any property and has required considerable resources and organization to endure as a historic site and house. This book provides a window into the broad scope of preservation work undertaken at Mount Vernon over the course of more than 160 years and places this work within the context of America’s regional and national preservation efforts.

It was at Mount Vernon, beginning with efforts in 1853, that the American tradition of historic preservation truly took hold. As the nation’s oldest historic house museum, Mount Vernon offers a unique opportunity to chronicle preservation challenges and successes over time as well as to forecast those of the future. Stewards of Memory features essays by senior scholars who helped define American historic preservation in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, including Carl R. Lounsbury, George W. McDaniel, and Carter L. Hudgins. Their contributions—complemented by those of Scott E. Casper, Lydia Mattice Brandt, and Mount Vernon’s own preservation scholars—offer insights into the changing nature of the field. The multifaceted story told here will be invaluable to students of historic preservation, historic site professionals, specialists in the preservation field, and any reader with an interest in American historic preservation and Mount Vernon.

Support provided by the David Bruce Smith Book Fund and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

Carol Borchert Cadou, who spent nineteen years on the collections and preservation staff at Mount Vernon, is Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO of Winterthur Museum. Luke J. Pecoraro is Assistant Director for Archaeology at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Thomas A. Reinhart is Director of Architecture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.


A Chronology of Historic Preservation at Mount Vernon in National Context

• Douglas Bradburn and Carol Borchert Cadou, Introduction
• Carl Lounsbury, New History in Old Buildings: Architectural Research and Public History in the Chesapeake
• Thomas Reinhart and Susan Schoelwer, ‘Distinguished by the Name of the New Room’: Reinvestigation and Reintepretation of George Washington’s Grandest Space
• Luke Pecoraro, ‘We Have Done Very Little Investigation There; There Is a Great Deal Yet to Do’: The Archaeology of Georges Washington’s Mount Vernon
• Robert Fink, Thomas Reinhart, and Alyson Steele, Mount Vernon’s Historic Building Information Management Systerm: Digital Strategies for Preservation in the Twenty-First Century
• George McDaniel, Stepping Up and Saving Places: Case Studies in Whole Place Preservation
• Lydia Mattice Brandt, The Dangers of Preserving while Popular: The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s Image of Mount Vernon versus Contemporary Architecture
• Scott Casper, Saving Mount Vernon, in Black and White: Toward an Alternative History of Historic Preservation
• Carter Hudgins, Mount Vernon and America’s Historic House Museums: Old Roles and New Responsibilities in the Preservation of Place
• Carol Borchert Cadou and Luke Pecoraro, Conclusion



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