Altogether American

Altogether American : Robert Mills, Architect and Engineer, 1781-1855

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Description

Altogether American relates the fascinating life and career of Robert Mills (1781-1855), the first native-born and American-trained architect. Although he designed the Washington National Monument, an enduring symbol of the United States, few know his name or contribution to American and architectural history. His career also provides an account of the beginnings of an independent American architecture and of the sociopolitical and cultural development of the republic before the Civil War.Although a Southerner by birth, Mills espoused abolitionist and enlightened views, in part learned from his chief mentors Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Latrobe. He actively promoted the establishment of national artistic institutions and published on a variety of subjects besides architecture, compiling proposals for canals, steam locomotion, railroads - including an elevated railway for New York City - and urban water supply. He executed commissions from Newburyport, Massachusetts, to Mobile, Alabama, and worked in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Columbia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. The diversity of Robert Mills's architectural career reflects the broad compass of his mind and complexity of contemporary American society - a Southerner opposed to slavery, a Unionist who cherished states and local rights, a moral conservative who championed reform, and a devout Presbyterian who believed in the beneficent power of science and technology.Combining architectural history and biography, Altogether American relates Mills's professional achievement and eventful private life to the wider historical context by selectively utilizing Mills's extensive correspondence and his diary. Excerpts from both sources woven into the text tell of his aspirations, anxieties, and achievements and illuminate current issues, especially the effects of the roller-coaster economy and the ethos of the age. The excerpts also reveal much about public and private patronage and the building trades and structural technology, and offer vignettes of colleagues, rivals, friends, and politicians.show more

Product details

  • Hardback
  • 180.34 x 256.54 x 25.4mm | 1,156.65g
  • OXFORD UNIV PR
  • English
  • 019508019X
  • 9780195080193