The Material Culture of German Texans
Architecture - Texana - Texas History
8.5 x 11, 416 pp.
308 color photos. 68 b&w photos. 31 line art. Index.
Pub Date: 06/21/2016
Price:        $50.00

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Winner, 2017 Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit, Non-Fiction
Winner, 2017 Ron Tyler Award for Best Illustrated Book on Texas History and Culture, sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association
Winner, 2016 SESAH Book Award, sponsored by the Southeast Chapter Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH)

The Material Culture of German Texans

Kenneth Hafertepe

German immigrants of the nineteenth century left a distinctive mark on the lifestyles and vernacular architecture of Texas. In this first comprehensive survey of the art and artifacts of German Texans, Kenneth Hafertepe explores how their material culture was influenced by their European roots, how it was adapted to everyday life in Texas, and how it changed over time—at different rates in different communities. The Material Culture of German Texans is about the struggle to become American while maintaining a distinctive cultural identity drawn from German heritage.

Including materials from rural, small town, and urban settings, this masterful study covers pioneer generations in East Texas and the Hill Country, but also follows the story into the Victorian era and the early twentieth century. Houses and their furnishings, churches and cemeteries, breweries and businesses, and paintings and engravings fill the pages of this thorough, informative, and richly illustrated volume.

Recent decades have seen a sharp increase of the study of vernacular architecture (which can range from traditional building to ethnic expressions to landscape ensembles) and an intensified study of American furniture and other decorative arts. Incorporating these vernacular and decorative arts methods and building on the works of cultural geographers, curators, and historians, The Material Culture of German Texans offers a definitive contribution that will inform visitors to the region as well as those who study its history and culture.

KENNETH HAFERTEPE is chair of the department of museum studies at Baylor University. He is the author of several books, including A Guide to the Historic Buildings of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County.

What Readers Are Saying:

“The scope of study and quality of research are unique and both excellent. Ken’s image selections are high quality, and the coupling of example building exteriors with interior scenes is outstanding. . . It will be a joy to have this on my bookshelf and on my car seat as I travel Central Texas to visit and re-visit these fine places, and marks of a fine people.” — James W. Steely, SWCA Environmental Consultants: Senior Historian, Former THC Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, and Author of Parks for Texas

“Hafertepe’s book is a significant and far-reaching contribution to our knowledge of an immigrant group that has contributed much to Texas over the past century over the past century and a half... This is one of the most important, and one of the most beautiful, book published in Texas in the past decade”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"This book is important for the way it considers overlapping and coincident material culture expressions, house plans, building systems, grave markers, social halls, and furniture principal among them. Combined, this material evidence provides a powerful description of the German Texas landscape." —Journal of Southern History


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