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Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America


William J. Murtagh

This is an image of book entitled Keeping Time, The History and Theory of Preservation in America by William Murtagh. [Image of historic townhouse's exterior look in modern day]

This popular classic on preservation in America returns to print in a revised edition as part of the distinguished Preservation Press series. Written by the first Keeper of the National Register for Historic Places, it remains the quintessential textbook of graduate and college-level courses in Historic Preservation and Architectural History. Features 75 black-and-white photographs that underline relevant issues and events in American community preservation, plus three reference appendices of legal, historical and practice information.

William Murtagh, the first Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, presents an effective portrait of the preservation movement by looking into the values underlying the efforts to safeguard America's architectural heritage, including the development of legislation and court action. A section on the National Trust for Historic Preservation explains how this private, non-profit organization created in the 1940s has expanded its services and goals parallel with changes in the national preservation movement.

The Publisher

Since 1812, when architect Robert Mills drew up plans for rebuilding the steeple of Independence Hall, the impulse to preserve historic American sites and buildings has snowballed. Today tens of thousands of buildings and some 5000 historic districts are recognized by the federally coordinated National Register of Historic Places. In part an illustrated historical survey, in part a handbook for civic activists, this primer by the first Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places traces the shift in the preservation movement from the restoration of isolated landmarks and houses where ``Washington slept,'' to an emphasis on outdoor museums (Old Salem, N.C.; Sturbridge Village, Mass.) and, in recent years, a concern for the neighborhood in which a building stands. Through a case study of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which has saved some 1000 buildings in that city, Murtagh illustrates how the public can treat the built environment as a conservable national resource.

From Publisher's Weekly

A single volume offerng a synopsis of the history of the preservation movement, an analysis of the relevant data, and a discussion of the key issues facing preservationists...informative and well written

The Public Historian

William J. Murtagh has held pivotal positions in the field of historic preservation for more than 30 years. He has served as the first Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, Department of the Interior, and has been Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and President of the Victorian Society in America. He directed the Preservation Program at Columbia University, and initiated Preservation Programs at the University of Maryland and the University of Hawaii.

Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America is available from John Wiley & Sons (ISBN 0-471-18240-0) for $29.95 in paperback.

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