I just groan whenever I see beautiful, inspiring books and I expect you can here me groaning right now, wherever you are. These superlative books feature American folk portraits and carvings, quilts and needlework, weathervanes and whirligigs, family records and calligraphy, ceramics, furniture, baskets, and toys, as well as such unexpected items as valentines, friendship albums, and keepsakes woven from the hair of loved ones.
A distinguished group of scholars discuss these objects within the context of historical, economic, and social issues as well as aesthetics. There are also explorations of craft methods and artistic strategies practiced by the artists and artisans represented in the collection. Separate essays on the Shaker and the Pennsylvania-German communities concentrate on the unique features of their material cultures and their religious and social orientations.