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Morris
    
Steeple Envy:
    evolution of religious a
rchitecture in Morris County, New Jersey, 1758-1900

      by Frank L. Greenagel

   385 pages, 280+ b&w photographs, tables, glossary, bibliography, index
   8.5 x 8.5 in., paperback, list price: $40.00
   ISBN-10:   978-09818851-5-5
   Publication date: January 2013

There are 104 meetinghouses and churches remaining in Morris County that were erected before 1900, illustrating the rich architectural legacy of the county. All are examined and illustrated in this authoritative work, the ninth volume in Dr. Greenagel’s monumental work on the early religious architecture of the state. Special attention is paid to the founding, construction and architectural traditions, from the earliest Quaker meetinghouse in Randolph Township, through the Georgian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Romanesque, Italianate, and late eclectic Victorian styles in Dover and Morristown. The focus is as much on the social factors—the discarding of the old Calvinistic attitudes in favor of a search for a new gentility that expressed itself as refinement in speech, in dress, and in the outward manifestations of piety. Pride in one’s community, one’s congregation, one’s material success, even one’s nationality, is reflected in the religious architecture of the county. Greenagel writes about religion and architecture, but his real subject is culture and sociology. Every decade in the nineteenth century brought new affluence and new attitudes, resulting in a desire for larger, more refined churches, preferably with taller steeples than neighboring congregations. Overt competition had to be discreet, and cloaked in expressions of piety, but the evidence is there for those who will read it.

The book includes an outline of architectural styles, a summary of the religious denominations operating in the state during the early centuries, a glossary of architectural terms, an extensive bibliography, and index. Greenagel is an established local and regional historian and photographer. He focuses on the religious architecture and the associated cultural and economic history, and lectures frequently on those subjects.

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