Stevens Book Now Available
"At last a definitive study of Dutch vernacular architecture. Stevens' exhaustive and highly illustrated book covers both houses and barns with details of interiors and exteriors in an very appealing format. Tantillo's painting of the Winne house on the cover is alone worth the price. Without question, it is a major contribution to New Netherlandic studies."
Charles Gehring"Dutch Vernacular Architecture in North America, 1640-1830, by John R. Stevens, is a significant and important contribution to architectural history and our understanding of the the early Dutch settlers. It will be invaluable to those interested in Dutch-American architecture, buildings, and culture. Moreover, it is an indispensable guide to those restoring early Dutch houses."
New Netherland Institute
New York State Library
Dr. Natalie Naylor
Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University
Dutch Vernacular Architecture in North America, 1640-1830, by John R. Stevens is a comprehensive record of buildings constructed by the Dutch in America. Most of the buildings discussed were measured, drawn and photographed by the author. The drawings make it possible to visualize regional variations in type and style, as well as the chronological development of Dutch-American buildings. A number of these structures - some of great architectural importance - have subsequently been demolished: others have been altered in such a way as to destroy important aspects of their original character.
While excellent books have been produced about the architectural heritage of the British in New England and the American South, the Germans in Pennsylvania and the French in Quebec, little has been done with regard to the Dutch. The most important contribution so far has been Dr. John Fitchen's excellent work, The New World Dutch Barn.
This book had its origin in research carried out by the author in connection with restoration of the c. 1730 Minnie Schenck house at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a project of the Nassau County Museum on Long Island. In order to accurately restore and interpret missing features of this building of Dutch heritage, it was necessary to understand what constituted Dutch-American Building technology.
A study was made of buildings with Dutch characteristics wherever they could be located. This information did not exist because a comparative study had not previously been done. Most of the buildings studied are in New York State, with a significant number in New Jersey. Several specimens were located in Canada where they had been built by Dutch-American Loyalists from New York who had fled there at the close of the Revolutionary War.
The writer visited the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium in a search for prototypes of structural and decorative elements found in New World Dutch buildings, and experts in these countries contributed greatly to his knowledge. The leading authority on timber-framed buildings in the Netherlands, Henk Zantkuyl, reviewed the text of the book and supplied drawings of prototype Netherlands buildings.
The features of Dutch-American buildings are compared, as far as possible, with Old World prototypes. The decline of Dutch characteristics in the second half of the 18th century are discussed, as well as the persistence of Dutch timber framing technology into the middle of the 19th century.
The book contains information that is presently available in no other source. Since New York buildings predominate, it will be an important addition to the knowledge of buildings in that state, as well as helpful in the study of New Jersey buildings, and something of a surprise with Dutch-American discoveries in Canada. It will be of particular value in the study of American architectural history and building technology.
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