Enfilade

New Book | Restoring Williamsburg

Posted in books by Editor on April 20, 2020

Distributed by Yale University Press:

George Humphrey Yetter and Carl Lounsbury, Restoring Williamsburg (The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2019), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-0300248357, $50.

Today best known as the world’s largest ‘living history’ museum, Williamsburg was the capital of the colony of Virginia in the 1700s and the setting for key debates leading to the American Revolution. Inspired by growing interest in America’s colonial heritage, W. A. R. Goodwin, supported by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., initiated a major restoration in the 1920s and 1930s that has allowed visitors to see how Williamsburg looked in the 18th century. Restoring Williamsburg expands on Williamsburg Before and After, a now-classic book with more than 200,000 copies in print, offering an updated and nuanced look at the continuing process of restoration. In addition to capturing moments throughout the site’s transformation, the book offers important considerations about modern curatorial practices and changing approaches to historic preservation.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, watercolors, sketches, maps, and other illustrations, Restoring Williamsburg features new images from both before and after the restoration. This is an important contribution not only to architectural history and restoration practices but also to our understanding of the town that continues to inspire Americans to think about their history.

George Humphrey Yetter, who wrote Williamsburg Before and After, is the former associate curator of architectural drawings at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Carl R. Lounsbury is the former Shirley and Richard Roberts Architectural Historian at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and currently teaches history at the College of William and Mary.