History 377 

Architectural History of America: An Introduction

Professor Emerson Woods Baker II
 Course Syllabi and Assignments

Internet Assignment
Documentary Assignment #1: William Godsoe survey maps
Documentary Assignment #1: Government Maps

Materials for Documentary Assignment 2
for HIS 377 and HIS 791

Godsoe Maps 1
Godsoe Maps 2

Government Maps
Frost Inventory p. 1
Frost Inventory p. 2
Frost Inventory p. 3
Frost Inventory p. 4
Letters and documents
References for letters and documents

Architectural History of America: An Introduction (HIS 377-01)


Department of History - Fall 2000

MWF 9:30-10:20  SB 106


Professor Emerson Baker

Office: Sullivan 106a

Phone: 542-7126 (office)

Office Hours: Monday 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Wednesday and Friday 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Email: emerson.baker@salemstate.edu        Web Page: salemstate.edu/~ebaker

Please feel free to contact me whenever the need arises.


This course is a study of the built environment (including landscape) in America from colonial settlement to the late 1800s.  The course also provides an overview of historic preservation, and cultural resource management. Emphasis is placed on how architecture and landscape have shaped the New England experience, especially in the colonial and federal periods.


Course Objectives

Content Objectives - After completing this course, you should understand and be able to comment accurately on the following themes:

1. Architecture and landscape as part of the study of material culture

2. The multi-disciplinary nature of historical research

3. The differences between vernacular and academic architecture

4. The influence of regionalism and ethnicity

5. The evolving nature of our built environment, and the reasons for its change

6. The nature of historic preservation and cultural resource management in the U. S. today.


Skills Objectives -   In this course you will have the opportunity to  develop the following:

1. To identify and classify historic buildings and landscapes.

2. To interpret the meaning and context of the built environment, in relationship to history.

3. To write in gramatically correct English

4. To participate in class discussions


Course Requirements

1. Required Reading

McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses

Stilgoe, John. Common Landscape of America, 1580-1845. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

Plus, several reserve readings



2. Class Participation:  I expect you be be here for class, and to always be ready to speak to the issues of the day.


3. Written assignments. Two written assignments of approximately 5 to 7 pages in length. These assignments provide you the opportunity to interpret primary sources on architectural history, and discuss your interpretation in a thoughtful and well written essay. All written work is to be typed (or word processed) and double spaced, with one inch margins. Although this is not an English class, your spelling and grammar do matter a great deal, for the better you communicate your historical thoughts, the better I can evaluate them. Work is to be noted in historical  citation style, with footnotes or end notes, as indicated in the Chicago Manual of Style of Turabian. Remember, using the quotes or even the ideas of others without proper citation is plagarism. If you have questions about citation style, please ask. Papers not handed in during class on the due date are considered late, and will be marked down a minimum of one letter grade (10 points). The later the paper, the more it will be marked down. Specifics on these assignments will be handed out at a later class.


4. An exercise designed to introduce you to the internet. If you do not already have access to the Internet, you will apply for a computer account at Salem State, and briefly explore the Internet. I will hand out the details in a couple of weeks when you get your account. Your job now is apply for one, as soon as possible!


5. Final Exam. The exam will be cumulative for the semester, and will take place on December 19.


Course Grade


            First Documentary Assignment 17.5%

            Midterm Exam 20%

            Second Documentary Assignment 17.5%

            Internet Assignment  5%

            Final Exam 30%

            Class Participation 10%


Salem State College is committed to nondiscrimination of Handicapped persons as specified in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Students who qualify as handicapped persons under the definition of this act should notify the instructor at the beginning of course so that reasonable modifications may be made when necessary.

Course outline and assignments - subject to change - please keep current


Note that the reading listed on a specific date is expected to be read for that class.



Sept. 6                 Introduction to the Course

Sept. 8                 Learning the Language of architecture              McAlester 32-64

Sept. 11               Academic vs. Vernacular Architecture              McAlester 74-101


Architectural History

Sept. 13              Primitive forms of shelter              McAlester 4-31, 63-73

Sept. 15              Raising a timber frame              McAlester 103-111

Sept. 18              Colonial architectural style              McAlester 112-137

Sept. 20              Colonial architecture continued

Sept. 22              Architecture and the World Wide Web

Sept. 25                Georgian architecture              McAlester 138-151

Sept. 27              Georgian architecture, continued              McAlester 152-167

Sept. 29               Neo-Classicism               McAlester 168-175

Oct. 2                  Walking Tour of McIntyre District

Oct. 4                  Federalism, concluded              Internet Assignment Due

Oct. 6        The Greek Revival              McAlester 178-195


Oct. 9                  Columbus Day - No Class

Oct. 11                Gothic Revival               McAlester 196-209

Oct. 13                Exotic Revivals & Italianate              McAlester  210-237

First Documentary Assignment Due

Oct. 16               Second Empire, Stick & Queen Anne              McAlester 239-287

Oct. 18                Shingle Style and Romanesque              McAlester 288-317

Oct. 20                Second Walking Tour              Start reading Stilgoe (ix-134)


Oct. 23      Big House. Little House, Backhouse, Barn

Oct. 25                Midterm Exam

Oct. 27      No Class


Landscape History

Oct. 30                Changes in the Land

Nov. 1                 Bounding the Land

Nov. 3                 Creating a National Landscape              Reading for the Week: Stilgoe 135-264


Nov. 6                 Gravestones & Graveyards              Deetz, Remember me as You Pass By*

Nov. 8       The Rural Cemetery Movement

Nov. 10              Veterans Day Holiday - noclass


Nov. 13              Historic Gardens

Nov. 15              Urban Landscapes               Reading for the Week: Stilgoe 265-346

Nov. 17               Urban Landscapes, continued


Nov. 20              Industrial Landscapes              You shold have completed Stilgoe.

Nov. 22-26  Thanksgiving Recess, no class


Historic Preservation

Nov. 27              What is Historic Preservation?              Wallace**

Nov. 29     The Colonial Revival               McAlester 320-41*

Dec. 1        The Role of Government in Historic Preservation              TBA*


Dec. 4                 Preservation vs. Restoration or Renovation              Mansfield, 3-18*

Dec. 6        How to Ruin a Beautiful House              Mansfield, 249-276*

Dec. 8                 Historic Districts & “This Old Hassle”              Suzanne Freeman, This Old Hassle*

                                       Second Documentary Assignment due

Dec. 11    Last Class: Review for final


Dec. 19              Final Exam  (takes place from 8:30-10:30)


*- denotes reserve reading

 Internet Assignment

Internet Assignment - (5% of grade) Your task is to go on-line on the World Wide Web and to write a brief critique of several  web sites related to the topics covered in this course.  Take sometime to check out a variety of sites, and find two that you like. Then, study them closely, and write a review of each of them (roughly one page 8.5” x 11”format). In your reviews, be sure to give the site name, address, a general description of the content, and your editorial comments (why the site was effective or not, whether the information was accurate, how useful was it to our course, etc). Be sure to be critical in your analysis. There are a lot of great sites on the web, with wonderful information, but there is also a lot of misinformation. When you have completed your assignment, send it to me as e-mail. You can send the review as the main body of the e-mail, or as an attached file. If you attach the file, please be sure it in Microsoft Word format, so I can read it on my computer. The assignment is to be e-mailed to me by midnight, on October 4.

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