Pennsylvania-Dutch (as the Pennsylvania-Germans are commonly known) folk art became a vogue in the thirties, and has been exploited by magazines and popularized by the flattery of imitation. One excellent handbook for antique hunters was issued by the University of Pennsylvania Press (Robacker's Pennsylvania Dutch Stuff). Now comes this substantial background book, tracing the arts and crafts of the Pennsylvania Germans from their first settlements to 1850, when machine made goods made handicrafts unnecessary. Pottery made from meadowland clay, linens from their own flax, embroidered by painstaking needleworkers, straw, not only for thatching but for basketwork, wood for houses, fences, barns, furniture, and the carving which gave it special character, metal work, paper work -- and always, color, exuberantly used by a people whose sombreness of costume never cloaked a basic sense of color and design, which extended from gardens and window boxes to decorations on the family Bible, on certificates and documents, in painted furniture, tole, pottery, embroidery, and even the so-called ""hex signs"" on the barns. The book is to be illustrated with photographs and drawings. We've seen only the text, but the publishers assure us it will be the basic book on the subject, and worth the price.