Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, February 13, 2009

Froggie's Friday Book Review

Today, I would like to introduce you to my new blogger helper, "Froggie," pictured here, who will assist me in writing a book review on Friday of each week. All books reviewed will be those written either by a Mississippian or those written about Mississippi or things Mississippi-related.

Although Froggie's choice today is not a newly written book, or one that is on a hot best-seller list, it is one that presents a story about Mississippi that is important enough that it should not be overlooked. The book, "Historic Architecture in Mississippi," was written by Mary Wallace Crocker and was published by the University Press of Mississippi in Jackson, in 1973. The book I own is a result of a third printing in 1977. One of the purposes of the 191-page book, as stated by its author, was to stimulate interest in historic buildings within the State of Mississippi.

The book is a large, coffee table size book that has a beautiful picture on its dust jacket of the lovely plantation house of octagonal design, Waverly Plantation, located in Columbus, Mississippi. This picture offers both a glimpse of what the book contains and a pictorial invitation to peruse its pages. Once the cover has been opened, a treasure trove of photographs, both old and more recent, provide the reader with pictures of "representative historic buildings from various sections of the state." The contents of the book are divided into five distinct sections of the state, and homes, churches, and other historically significant buildings profiled are located in Natchez, Vicksburg, Jackson, Canton, Sandy Hook, the Gulf Coast area, Macon, Columbus, Aberdeen, Pontotoc, Oxford, Holly Springs, Horn Lake, Carrollton, and Washington County. The location of the area featured is shown on a simple state map placed at the beginning of each of the five sections.

The author's intent was not to present photographs of every historical structure in Mississippi, but to offer up a significant book that would stimulate an interest in historic architecture throughout the state. And by the use of specific facts and details about the various types of architectural designs employed in Mississippi during a period that spans almost two centuries, Ms. Crocker seems to have accomplished her purpose. It is within these details about the building's owner, the purpose and planning that went into its specific construction, and the architect's work to accomplish the owner's mission, that the author seems to breath life into these grand and unique old structures. Floor plans and other architectural drawings frequently included serve to aptly guide the reader through the actual building process.

By the end of the book, those who read this fine account of historical architectural design in Mississippi can only be amazed by the works of art that were built during a time and in a place where construction was painstakingly manual by nature.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful book, Janice. A very nice addition to anyone's library. You've written a very enjoyable and informative review. You do such good work!