Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Does an Old Textbook Have to Offer?

As a librarian, I have the opportunity to browse through many resources that come into our library either new or as a part of a gift collection.  Today's blog post is about such a resource.

The book that arrived is:

Wagner, Philip L. and Mikesell, Marvin W., eds. Readings in Cultural Geography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

This book was likely used as a textbook in the 1960s, but it is a collection of readings that were deemed worthy of study by students taking a course in cultural geography at that time. As a book of readings, it included articles written by various persons that were compiled by the editors. The readings were generally not written specifically for that book but were things for which they obtained permission to reproduce.  Many universities still do something similar to this through a course pack which is usually sold through campus bookstores.

One of the articles in this book caught my attention.  The article is entitled "Types of Rural Settlement in Colonial America." The author was Glenn T. Trewartha. It first appeared in Geographical Review, vol. 36 (1946), pp. 568-96.

The article takes a look at the way towns and villages were settled in various parts of the country.  There are lots of maps illustrating it that would be extremely useful to persons who had early settlers in the United States. Like most scholarly articles, the bibliographical references (generally in footnote form) are useful for exploring specific aspects covered in the article in greater detail.

Although my library won't be keeping the book, I'm going to be making a copy of the one article for my own use.

Some other articles in the volume of interest to genealogists are:

  • "Louisiana House Types" (by Fred B. Kniffen), pp. 157-169 - shows typical homes for trappers, oystermen, farms, etc.
  • "Generic Terms in the Place Names of the Northeastern United States" (by Wilbur Zelinsky), pp. 129-156 - describes the use of terms such as "Run," "Notch," "Gap," and even "-ville" in geographic location names.

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