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Case." In this work-in-progress, Galloway proposes a protohistoric origin for Choctaws as multiethnic descendants ofgroups fragmented by historical events. Like the Creeks described by Knight, Choctaws met the challenges of colonial depopulation and disruption by consolidating into a viable confederation. Each essay in the volume could stand on its own, but collectively they greatiy enrich each other. Repeated themes tie them together. All confirm the existence of chiefdoms and paramount chiefdoms in the protohistoric Southeast, identifiable relationships between the pre- and post-contact societies, the devastating effects of European disease and warfare, and the transforming effects of Spanish missions and English economies. Most of the papers are interdisciplinary, bringing together material culture and historical records. Many dispute the population estimates of demographer Henry Dobyns, several contradict die findings of historianJohn Swanton, and some disagree explicidywith each other. In general, the articles are characterized by strong writing and extensive notes that are marred only occasionally by incompleteness or inaccuracies. Nearly every essay includes maps, and several incorporate other kinds of useful representations as well. The comprehensive bibliography contains dissertations, recent articles, conference papers, original documents, secondary sources, and untranslated or previously unpublished material from Spanish repositories. The volume will have detractors who disagree with the use of models; the location , extent, and primacy ofparticular chiefdoms; the proposed routes ofSpanish explorers; and the interpretation and meaning of archaeological data and Spanish accounts. Nonetheless, Hudson and Tesser have herein contributed a volume of substantive, provocative, and enlightening analyses, and have definitively initiated the next stage of early southeastern scholarship. The Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region By H. E. Comstock The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Distributed by the University of North Carolina Press, 1994 xiv, 538 pp. Cloth, $95.00 Reviewed by Charles G. Zug III, chairman of the curriculum in folklore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Turners and Burners: The Folk Potters ofNorth Carolina. 94 Reviews Long ignored for their primitive methods, relative isolation, and utilitarian output , southern potters have staged a remarkable comeback over the last two decades . The living tradition continues in numerous small, family-run shops across the Southeast, most notably in North Carolina and Georgia. Only half a century ago, potters were pleased if they could sell off a kilnful of jars, jugs, churns, and pitchers for ten cents a gallon. Today, these sturdy forms and rich flowing glazes have entered the art world. Works by some nineteenth-century "masters" command prices ranging well into five figures, and there is a powerful demand for contemporary wares as well. The quest for pots—both old and new—has helped spur demand for information. Twenty-five years ago there was litde in print on southern pottery (and much ofthat was out of date or simply inaccurate). Now, aficionados can consult numerous articles, exhibition catalogues, and half a dozen very substantial books. The first important study wasJohn Bivins's TheMoravian Potters in North Carolina (1972), which grew out of the extensive archeological and historical research conducted at Old Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA). Bivins clearly established that in bodi range and quality, the Moravian achievement was unsurpassed in the U. S. during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Beyond Winston-Salem and the highly concentrated Moravian community, the pioneer researchers were the late Georgeanna Greer, a pediatrician from San Antonio, and the late Dorothy Cole Auman, a well-known potter from Seagrove, North Carolina. Long before others grasped the beauty and importance of the rural southern tradition, they were retrieving old wares from barns and springhouses, assembling historical records and artifacts, and interviewing potters whose family roots grew centuries deep. These women inspired numerous other scholars, and Greer's American Stonewares (1981) was the first book to place southern stoneware on a par with northern forms. Just two years later, John Burrison produced the first state survey, Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery. This, in turn, was followed by Charles Zug's Turners andBurners : TheFolk Potters ofNorth Carolina (1986) and Cinda Baldwin's Great <&Noblefar: TraditionalStoneware ofSouth Carolina (1993). Finally, potter Nancy Sweezy traveled around the Southeast on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution and documented thirty-five contemporary potteries in her Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition (1984). The latest entryin this southern ceramic renaissance is Gene Comstock's ThePottery ofthe Shenandoah Valley Region, a true labor oflove that has been some twentyfive years in the making. Published by MESDA in the Frank L. Horton Series, this lavishly illustrated volume (with 223 color and 751 black-and-white illustrations) constitutes a splendid addition to the earlier studies and provides a detailed portrait ofthe upper reaches of the southern tradition. Comstock begins with a useful introduction to die Valley, which runs southwest between the Blue Ridge and Reviews 95 the Allegheny Mountains through southern Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia , and Virginia. The region was ethnically diverse, with the Scotch-Irish, English , and Germans predominating, but Comstock clearly demonstrates that it was the German potters who developed this tradition and created its distinctive qualities. During the formative period, from 1750 to 1820, Hagerstown, Maryland , was the center of production, and potters produced a rich body of slipdecorated earthenwares. The second phase, from 1820 to 1870, was more turbulent , with increasing competition from factory products, economic fluctuations caused by the Civil War, and the gradual replacement of the toxic lead-glazed earthenwares by stoneware. In the final years from 1870 to 1930, potters produced huge quantities ofsalt-glazed stoneware but saw demand fall offsharply by the century's end due primarily to the appearance ofglass jars, commercial canneries , and cheaper ceramics from the great factories in Ohio and New Jersey. Unable to draw upon a living tradition like that found further south, Comstock wisely allots two relatively short chapters to the technical side of the craft. However , in place of tape-recorded interviews with practicing potters, he discovered an unusually large number of diaries, account books, inventories, and advertisements . Although information in some areas, such as the kilns used, remains very limited, these historical records do provide specific insights into the standard dimensions and clay weights for wares, glaze formulas, firing schedules, and prices. In addition, the Valley potters were renowned for their continuing decorative techniques, which persisted into the stoneware era and serve to distinguish these wares from their plainer cousins made to the south. To tiiis end, Comstock provides a solid discussion for such characteristic practices as slip casting, pressmolding , sprigging, and extruding. The heart of the book lies in the three long chapters delineating the regional traditions of the Valley. The Lower Valley—that is, the section extending north of Shenandoah County, Virginia, up into West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania —is where it all began, most particularly at Hagerstown, Maryland, where potters such as John Weis and Peter Bell firmly established the German forms and styles that would soon move southward. The Middle Valley pottery—in Shenandoah and Page counties—was most important during the nineteenth century and was dominated by two families, the Bells and the Eberlys, who were known for their elaborately molded, brighdy colored earthenwares. In addition, during the last several decades of the nineteenth century, the town of Strasburg became the hub for numerous stoneware potters. Finally, the Upper Valley, the region to the south ofShenandoah County, contained the fewest shops, with half a dozen major potters producing both earthenware and stoneware. FLach ofthese three chapters is organized "in the order ofthe chronology ofits most influential artisans." This focus on individual potters permits a very detailed examination of their growth, achievements, and influences, and the text is ac96 Reviews companied by superb photographs of individual pieces, groupings of related wares, and details such as handles, bottoms, or potters' marks. The designer of the book deserves special praise here, as almost every photograph is positioned adjacent to the relevant discussion. The weakness in this approach is that the reader begins to lose the forest for the trees; the emphasis on individual potters tends to fragment the text and to some degree obscures the larger patterns that characterize each region. There is also considerable repetition within this format, as each potter's section is further subdivided according to form. Although relationships through families or working styles do emerge, it would have been helpful to provide a stronger overview to tie the individual sections togedier. The final chapter is the "Index ofShenandoah Valley Region Potters," a series of biographical sketches covering more than three hundred potters and pottery workers. While an abbreviated index listing basic information on each potter's life, family, and work is a must, Comstock's is very long (145 pages) and repetitive. Many of the entries contain information in extended prose form that has already been given in the earlier chapters. Moreover, certain kinds of information simply do not belong in an index. The entry for Levy Begerly, for example, contains analysis that belongs in the text, where it would serve to establish the broad patterns of development alluded to earlier. Finally, the long entry on the Strasburg Steam Pottery could better be placed in a chapter on the final stage of the Valley tradition, when the potters turned to art pottery and large-scale production methods in reaction to the waning demand for the old utilitarian forms. These criticisms should not detract from the importance of this study. In his preface Comstock affirms that "this book is mainly intended for and dedicated to collectors." Thus, his recurring emphasis on individual potters and their creations is appropriate to his purpose, and I can think of no other ceramic study that focuses on die pots themselves with such clarity and detail. Overall, the book does provide a full portrait ofa sophisticated and unified tradition, including the remarkable tenacity of the early German forms and styles; the awareness of other ceramic traditions and an openness to experimentation; and the continuing emphasis on elaborate decoration, even after stoneware had largely displaced earthenware in the late nineteenth century. Perhaps no potters remain at their wheels in the Valley, but Gene Comstock's elegant homage to their achievement will keep their art alive forever. Reviews 97 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 94-97
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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