Historical Perspectives On The Colonial Revival In Progressive Era America

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Whatever is new, Is bad : Historical Perspectives on the Colonial Revival in Progressive Era America The Colonial Revival is a phenomenon that materialized as a national expression of American culture from the 1870s to the 1940s. Though founded on ideological traditions, it most often manifested itself through decorative arts and architecture. Elements of revival furniture, arts and architecture symbolically served as tools to promote democracy, patriotism most significantly in this context, moral superiority, that reflect republican ideals. In many ways it is a direct response to the results of Industrialization and progress. Historian Alan Axelrod contends, “Colonialism is not a surface phenomenon, a thin veneer over the real body of American life, but a network of communications and linkages that reach deep into American experience and behavior.” Historians examine the movement from various perspectives; as a social and cultural movement, its representation in U.S. material culture, and its significance to immigration and nationalism. Noteworthy scholarship includes everything from Alan Axelrod’s The Colonial Revival in America from 1985 to Briann G. Greenfield’s Out of the Attic: Antiques in Twentieth- Century New England from 2009. Various monographs and essays will be analyzed to determine correlations and points of dissent across the historiography. The Colonial Revival has also been a prevalent area of examination in the museum community as evidenced by
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