"A detective story set in her own backyard, Eleanor Phillips Brackbill's book shows the rich stories even our own homes can tell us if we take the time to hear them. What to most looks like a common residential Cape-style home in a suburban neighborhood can tell us more about ourselves as New Yorkers than anything we learned about in school. This book is a testament to the value of historic preservation and an appreciation of all that is our past, including our victories, our failures, and our faults." -- Jay A. DiLorenzo, President, Preservation League of New York
"Eleanor Phillips Brackbill's in-depth genealogy/biography of the house in which she lives and the land on which it sets is a brilliantly written model of superb research and storytelling. It recognizes the opportunity, perhaps the responsibility, to learn and record and pass along to future generations all that can be found out about the history of property for which we are transient stewards. Her Uncommon Cape is a perfect vehicle for bringing back to life four centuries of enthralling regional (and American) history while allowing many interrelated, but yet unsolved, mysteries to live on. Brackbill ably succeeds in convincing us that the past is not even past!" -- Charles Duell, President, Middleton Place Foundation and author of Middleton Place: A Phoenix Still Rising
"Home ownership has become, for better and for worse, a profound part of contemporary American identity. Eleanor Phillips Brackbill delves into this terrain--quite literally--by piecing together the genealogy of her home, which she reconstructs through diligent archival detective work (and even the occasional late-night trek through the woods). As such, her study is as much about the craft of historical inquiry as it is about the vicissitudes of a particular chunk of real estate. With sidebars that offer research tips placed throughout the text, the book will be a useful guide for those interested in pursuing their own historical investigations." -- Michael Lobel, author of James Rosenquist: Pop Art, Politics, and History in the 1960s
"A page-turning read. I got totally caught up in the history of a county, a country, and a sturdy little house. Brackbill's meticulous research fascinates and will cause me to dig into my own house's story--its moves, its occupants, and its alterations." -- Lucy Hedrick, author and publishing coach
About the Author
Eleanor Phillips Brackbill is former Curator of Education at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase CollegeSUNY.