Released in March of 2013, the Arcadia Publishing Company has added, Kingston, to its Postcard History Series. This newest pictorial history book was curated and written by life-long Kingston resident, Patricia O’Reilly Murphy (no relation to this author). Her unique work contains over two hundred images and postcards of Kingston throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Kingston is formatted in a way that is appealing and easily understandable. Readers can enjoy an array of images such as postcard depicting the first automobiles being driven on Kingston streets in 1900. A great aspect about this book is that included with each photo is a brief passage about the portrayed scene. This combination provides readers with a valuable opportunity to not only learn about Kingston, but to also visualize it.
After reading this work, it becomes clear that its purpose is to portray the significance of Kingston as a part of the larger history of New York State. Readers can learn about a variety of important events that took place in this city. For example, this book contains pictures such as one of a home where New York State’s first elected Senate met in 1777. Thus, this work also contains an underlying message against the demolishment of old buildings and homes without a meaningful justification and careful scrutiny. This work promotes the idea that such buildings and homes have historical significance.
Although Kingston is a valuable pictorial source, historians and students should only use this work with the goal of retrieving basic or supplementary information. Due to the structure of this book, it lacks a thematic depth. This work focuses on exposing bits and pieces of information about Kingston through what is being revealed in its pictures and postcards. As a result, it does not have a continuous organization that explores themes in a larger manner.
If you are interested in purchasing Kingston it is available through a number of outlets for $21.99. You can find this work at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.
– Kaitlin Murphy, Marist ‘14