Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

November 18, 2002

Two new CW books coincide with opening of exhibitions

Two new books by Colonial Williamsburg debuted last month. Both are handsome works of scholarship that accompany new exhibitions by Colonial Williamsburg. “What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America” draws on Colonial Williamsburg’s premier collection of 18th-century clothing.

Author Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles and costumes at Colonial Williamsburg, illuminates the featured period clothing—through 355 color photographs and 36 black-and-white illustrations—as beautiful art objects, documents of social history, studies in technology and avenues to understanding people of the past. Her full examination of period clothing ranges from the utilitarian garments of slaves to the elegant, high-style attire of the gentry, while engagingly discussing the social context of apparel and what people wore during significant life passages.

“What Clothes Reveal,” published in association with Yale University Press, is the most recent addition to the Colonial Williamsburg Decorative Arts Series of publications and accompanies an exciting new exhibition now open at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The hardbound edition retails for $65.

“Degrees of Latitude: Mapping Colonial America” is a splendidly illustrated volume that looks beyond the standard cartobiblio-graphical analysis and examines the vision that inspired maps, atlases and sea charts produced during the colonial period. Colonial Williamsburg curator of maps, prints and wallpaper Margaret Beck Pritchard and co-author Henry Taliaferro, a dealer in rare maps and prints, explore what these objects reveal about the history of the American nation and explain why they were important to their owners.

“Degrees of Latitude” contains detailed studies of 73 maps that provide insight into the motivations behind English and European settlement in America and document patterns of settlement that shaped this nation. The works selected are among the best and most beautiful maps—including a few rare examples—of English and European holdings in America produced during the 17th and 18th centuries. The work also discusses a rare atlas owned by John Custis IV of Williamsburg. Custis was but 20 years old in 1698 when he visited a leading London map dealer and selected over 100 maps to be bound into one impressive volume.

“Degrees of Latitude” accompanies a traveling exhibition of rare maps from the Colonial Williamsburg collection that opened Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the New-York Historical Society. The 448-page hardbound volume, containing 186 color and 97 black-and-white illustrations, is published in association with Harry N. Abrams Inc. of New York. “Degrees of Latitude” retails for $95.

Both books are available in Colonial Williamsburg retail stores and from the WILLIAMSBURG Catalog. The books also can be found on the e-commerce web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281