Cresheim Farm : 400 Years of History at an American Farm book cover
1st Edition

Cresheim Farm
400 Years of History at an American Farm

  • Available for pre-order on May 19, 2023. Item will ship after June 9, 2023
ISBN 9781032330228
June 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

The book is a work of political archaeology: it focuses on the people and events at a particular colonial farm in Germantown, Pennsylvania. The peoples’ and farm’s stories provide a micro and macro view of economic, social, demographic, and agro-ecological change.

Cresheim Farm shows how one mostly unknown but strategically placed piece of land – home to an extraordinary array of people, including anti-slavery and anti-Nazi activists, the first woman editor of the Saturday Evening Post and a robber baron – can tell, affect and reflect the history of a nation. The writing is historically grounded and academic, future-oriented, deeply researched, and immediate. Cresheim Farm serves as a lens through which to observe and magnify social forces, such as the launching point of freedom and democracy movements, white privilege, slavery, and genocidal westward expansion. The past lives on in all of us.

Table of Contents


Part I: Origins

Chapter 1: The Unami Lenape: Conquest, Genocide, Resistance and Survival

Chapter 2. Colonization of Germantown: The Krefelders Arrive

Chapter 3: The Mennonite Tyson Family: The Dawn of Cresheim Farm

Chapter 4: Cresheim Farm Buildings as of 1703: Imprinting the Land with Fences and Stones

Part II: Colonization and Whiteness

Chapter 5: Mennonite Conrads Family: Outsiders Become White and Middle-class

Chapter 6: Discontent Before the Revolution: Class and Caste

Chapter 7: Cresheim Farm Buildings as of 1770s: A White American Institution

Chapter 8: Germantown During the Revolution: A Battle and A White House

Part III: Manifest Destiny and Class Struggle

Chapter 9: Col. Roumfort: Military, Law, and Order

Chapter 10: The Gowen Empire: Upper Class Life in the Gilded Age

Chapter 11: Franklin Gowen: An Anti-Union Activist

Chapter 12: The Gowen Housing Estate: The End of Farming

Part IV: Race, Gender, and Activism

Chapter 13: Adelaide Neall: A Suffragette in Publishing

Chapter 14: Elizabeth and Robert Yarnall: Quaker Peace Activists

Chapter 15: Slavery and the Underground Railroad in Germantown

Chapter 16: Workshop of the World: From Sparkle to Rust

Chapter 17: Black and White: Activists in Germantown

Chapter 18: The Mattheus-Kairys Family at Cresheim Farm

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Antje Ulrike Mattheus grew up in post-World War II West Germany and came to the U.S. at 18 to be an organizer for the United Farmworkers Union. She has worked with a range of community, academic, direct action, and anti-violence programs to address white supremacy, race, class and gender inequalities. She innovated grassroots adult education and empowerment programs, and co-founded White People Confronting Racism, which conducts anti-racism workshops for white people since 1995. She enjoys restoring old buildings.


"In the great tradition of Alexis de Tocqueville and Gunnar Myrdal, Antje Mattheus sheds a brilliant light, along with original and compelling insights, onto American life and culture — this time, from the intriguing vantage point of a single homestead, a historical farmhouse in the city of Philadelphia. This fascinating book is a must-read!"  

— Elijah Anderson, Sterling Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Yale University

This book is a work of political archeology, an exploration of the sedimented politics of a place, seen over a long period of time…."Where do we come from?" {and} "Where does our knowledge come from?" Or, "How can we know what we know?" These are the deep questions that this book proposes.

--From the Foreword by Howard Winant, coauthor of Racial Formation in the United States