BOOKS

Seeking the Many
Styles of Philadelphia

 

May|June 2010 contents
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All Things Ornamental

PHOTOGRAPHY JJ Tiziou C’02’s 50,000-square-feet photo project

DESIGN Young-Hwan Choi GAr’11’s shape-shifting shelter

BOOKS Humans and animals, in the lab and on the plate

BOOKS Styles of the city. Philadelphia Originals

BRIEFLY NOTED

ARTS CALENDAR


PHILADELPHIA ORIGINALS
By Joseph Glantz C’74
Schiffer, 2009. $34.99.

 

 

 

 

 

In the introduction to Philadelphia Originals, Joseph Glantz C’74 describes his book as an “impressionist look at the city.” Given that impressionist usually suggests a style of painting, and that Philadelphia Originals offers a dazzling array of illustrations, we were a little surprised when he told us that his original idea was to “do a sports book on how the play of the Big Five basketball schools mirrored the philosophy of the schools.”

Glantz explained that he expanded his scope after digging into E. Digby Baltzell W’39 Hon’89’s classic sociological study, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, which he describes as a “wonderful examination of how, historically, Boston was a more theoretical city while Philadelphia was more experimental.” Intrigued by the implications of such patterns, Glantz began compiling examples of a “Philadelphia style” across various professions, disciplines, and arts.

When it came to music, for example, he drew on his youthful memories of Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, then famous for its lush “Philadelphia Sound” (a moniker that was later reconfigured into the Sound of Philadelphia, the trademark soul style of producers Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell). As other examples of a “Philadelphia style” emerged, he became convinced that examining those patterns was the way to go—though he also found room for such outliers as the Mummers Parade.

“I wanted to use art and stories to illustrate the patterns,” Glantz says, “and to show my theories had some credence.”—S.H.


Top: Girard Avenue Bridge, Fairmount Park. Above: Tennis player Bill Tilden W’17; “Garden Fireflies,” painting by Bill Scott; opera singer Marian Anderson.

 

 

     
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