"The mere sentiment of home, Has, like a strong anchor,
saved many a man from shipwreck in the storms of life.”
In our age of pre-fabricated, mass-produced dwelllings, the ownership of a historic home is an act of cultural stewardship. America's historic homes come in many forms: a Federal style farmhouse, an urban Victorian townhouse, a Gilded Age summer cottage, a Gatsby-era Tudor manse, or an International Style suburban dwelling. Regardless, these structures boast design, craftsmanship, and ambiance that cannot be replicated today. They also served as stage sets for the often-fascinating lives of their previous owners.
A professionally researched and illustrated historic house book is an heirloom object that will be treasured by your family and passed down to future residents. For real estate professionals, it is an invaluable tool to showcase a unique property, especially if it had prominent owners and was designed by a noted architect.
Below are three examples of Steven Ujifusa's historic house books. He and his wife are the proud owners of a 1907 Edwardian-era townhouse in the Cedar Park neighborhood of Philadelphia. To learn more about commissioning a volume, visit his contact page.
The John Marshall Pratt Homestead:
A Brief History of a Quaker Farmhouse in Chester County, Pennsylvania
The history of a 19th century farmhouse in East Goshen, Pennsylvania, as told through the story of the Pratts, a respected Chester County Quaker family. When patriarch John Marshall Pratt smoked his annual birthday cigar, it was an event that made the local newspapers. Commissioned by the current owners of the property. Available for purchase.
Architects and Activists:
An Italianate Villa in Powelton Village, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The story of an 1860 Italianate mansion in the Powelton Village neighborhood of West Philadelphia, which interweaves family and architectural history. Among the characters are a failed merchant, an upwardly mobile immigrant Jewish architect, and a family of Quaker activists who battled segregation and bigotry in 1950s Philadelphia. Each family left a strong imprint on this fabric of this historic home. Commissioned by the current owners of the property. Privately printed.
A Philadelphia Story of Fortune, Aspiration, and Forgotten Architectural Genius
The story of a 1929 mansion outside of Philadelphia, built for the bon vivant heir to a jute fortune and designed by Harry Sternfeld, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Blending Art Deco and Norman-revival elements, Watch Hill is an exuberant jazz age creation that has captured the imagination of its many owners. Well-known architectural historians David Brownlee, Jeffrey Cohen, George E. Thomas, and William Whittaker contribute commentary on the house and its era. Co-written with Maxwell D. Fox. Podcast version produced by Studio D Podcast Productions.