THE PERENNIAL PHILADELPHIANS by Nathaniel urt

THE PERENNIAL PHILADELPHIANS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a long examination of a distinguished American city firmly in the grip of an insular aristocracy founded on names of genealogical significance and bounded by inherited money. Organized by subject areas such as libraries, museums, music, art, etc., the author's thesis that the landed gentry controls by committee is well borne out. (It's a wonder that the Kellys managed to get a scull in the door.) The most interesting sections deal with Old Philadelphia families. The point is, the O.P.'s still manage just about everything in sight and the author (in his Preface) is resigned to the fact that his Philadelphia chronicle shows not only what the O.P.'s are, but what they aren't. Negatively stated, they aren't as starchily different as Boston's society, as varied as New York's, as readably odd as Chicago's, nor as wonderfully wild as San Francisco's. Even their well bred crackpots are middle level compared with what other cities have produced. With material like this to work with, Mr. Burt does not emerge as a social historian with the point or bite of a Cleveland Amory. However he does deserve credit for his thorough research into original sources and his careful organization in regard to a situation that may be passing soon.

Publisher: Little, Brown