Select Bibliography for Postwar Suburbs Research

This selected bibliography has been compiled with the goal of furnishing an overview of the various types of resources available for research on the history of Pennsylvania's postwar suburban development.  This select bibliography is available in a pdf document  (In this version, resources that are available from the State Library of Pennsylvania are denoted by a keystone symbol).

Reference Tools

  • Ames, David L. and Linda Flint McClelland. Historic Residential Suburbs: Guidelines for Evaluation and Documentation for the National Register of Historic Places.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, September 2002.  Available online (PDF)
  • McAlister, Virginia and Lee McAlister. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984. 
  • Miller, Randall M. and William Pencak, eds. Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2002. 
  • Pennsylvania State Data Center. “The Commonwealth’s Official Source for Demographic and Economic Data – Official Liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau.” Available online 

Primary Sources (Specific to Pennsylvania)


  • Another Community Studies its Schools:  Five School Districts of Dauphin County Consider Plans for the Improvement of their Educational Facilities.  Harrisburg, PA: The Dauphin County Branch of the Pennsylvania Economy League, Inc., 1949.
  • Pennsylvania Bureau of Vocational, Technical and Continuing Education. Achievement Report on Area Vocational-Technical School Developments: 1963 to June 30, 1968. Harrisburg: The Department, 1968.


  • Bodek, Ralph.  How and Why People Buy Houses:  A Study of Subconscious Home Buying Motives.  Philadelphia:  Municipal Publications, 1958.


  • Beckman, Swenson & Associates. Aspinwall Borough, Comprehensive Plan. Pittsburgh: 1964. 
  • Bureau of Municipal Research. Administrative Survey of Darby Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania: A Report for the Board of Township Commissioners. Philadelphia: 1957. 
  • Middletown Township Planning Commission (PA). Alternatives for the Future.  [S.I.]: The Commission, 1965. 
  • Pennsylvania Bureau of Community Development. County and Regional Planning, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Commerce.  Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, 1963. 
  • Seymour, David Ray.  Analysis of the Effects of Zoning Changes on Property Values in Two Pittsburgh Suburbs.  Ph. D.  Diss.  University of Pittsburgh, 1966. 


  • Lawrence County Regional Planning Commission.  An Airport Plan for Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.  New Castle:  1965. 
  • Luzerne County Planning Commission. Airport Report. Wilkes-Barre, PA: 1966. 
  • Pennsylvania Department of Highways. Allentown-Bethlehem Metropolitan Area Traffic Survey. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 1949. 
  • Pennsylvania Department of Highways. Allentown Parking Survey.  Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 1951. 
  • Pennsylvania Department of Highways. Altoona Area Transportation Study. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 1966-67.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Highways. Altoona Metropolitan Area Traffic Survey. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 1952. 
  • Pennsylvania Department of Highways, Planning and Traffic Division. The 1954 Tourist Survey: Out-of-State Motorists. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 1954. 
  • The $33 Billion Federal-Aid Highway Program: What it Means to Pennsylvania (Proceedings of  Panel Discussion, 39th Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania State Chamber of Commerce).  Harrisburg:  The Chamber, 1956. 

Primary Sources (General)

Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Spaces

  • Callender, John. Before You Buy a House. New York:  Crown Publishers, 1953. 
  • Catlin, Mary and George. Building Your New House. New York: Current Books, Inc. 1946. 
  • Elliot, John. 65 Practical Garden Plans. New York: Van Nostrand, 1950. 
  • Ford, Katherine Morrow and Thomas H. Creighton.  The American House Today: 85 Notable Examples.  New York:  Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1951.  
  • -----.  Designs for Living: 175 Examples of Quality Home Interiors. New York:  Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1955. 
  • -----.  Quality Budget Houses: A Treasury of 100 Architect-Designed Houses from $5,000 to $20,000. New York:  Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1954. 
  • Klaber, Eugene H.  Housing Design. New York:  Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1954.  
  • Nelson, George. Tomorrow’s House: How to Plan Your Postwar Home Now.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945. 
  • Obst, Frances M.  Art and Design in Home Living. New York:  MacMillan, 1963. 
  • Williams, Paul R.  New Homes for Today. Hollywood, CA: Murray & Gee, 1946. 
  • Wills, Royal. Living on the Level: One Story- Houses. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1955. 


  • Census of Housing (1950). Washington:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1952.
  • Census of Manufactures (1963). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.


  • Gilbert, Charles E. Governing the Suburbs. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1967. 


  • Burton, Hal. “Trouble in the Suburbs.” Saturday Evening Post Vol. 228, Issue 12, 17 Sept. 1955.
    -----.  “Trouble in the Suburbs.” Saturday Evening Post Vol. 228 Issue 13, 24 Sept. 1955.
    -----.  “Trouble in the Suburbs.” Saturday Evening Post Vol. 228 Issue 14, Oct. 01, 1955.
    -----.  “Downtown Isn’t Doomed!” Saturday Evening Post Vol. 226, Issue 49, June 5, 1954.
  • Keats, John. The Crack in the Picture Window. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press, 1956.


  • Chermayeff, Serge.  Community and Privacy. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965. 
  • Chinitz, Benjamin, ed. City and Suburb: The Economics of Metropolitan Growth.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964.
  • Gruen, Victor and Larry Smith. Shopping Towns USA, the Planning of Shopping Centers. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1960. 
  • Ketchum, Morris. Shops & Stores. New York: Reinhold Publication Corporation, 1948. 
  • Urban Land Institute. The Community Builder’s Handbook. Washington:  Urban Land Institute, 1960. 

Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

  • Dobriner, William M. Class in Suburbia.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963. 
    -----.  The Suburban Community.  New York: Putnam, 1958. 
  • Fava, Sylvia Fleis. “Suburbanism as a Way of Life.”  American Sociological Review No. 21, Issue 1, February 1956, 34-37.
  • Martin, Walter T. “The Structuring of Social Relationships Engendered by Suburban Residence.” American Sociological Review Vol. 21 Issue 4, August 1956, 446-453.
  • Redick, Richard W. “Population Growth and Distribution in Central Cities, 1940-1950.” American Sociological Review Vol. 21 Issue 1, February 1956, 38-43.
  • Tate, Henry Clay. Building a Better Home Town: A Program of Community Self-Analysis and Self-help.  New York: Harper, 1954.  

Secondary Sources (Specific to Pennsylvania)

Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Spaces

  • Reed, Peter. Toward Form: Louis I. Kahn’s Urban Designs for Philadelphia, 1939-1962. Ph.D. Diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1989.


  • Miner, Curtis. “Picture Window Paradise.” Pennsylvania Heritage 28 (Spring 2002), 12-21 (Levittown, PA).


  • Bauman, John. "Public Housing, Isolation, and the Urban Underclass: Philadelphia's Richard Allen Homes, 1941-1965." Journal of Urban History 17 (May 1991), 264-292.
    -----. Public Housing, Race, and Renewal: Urban Planning in Philadelphia, 1920-1974. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987.
  • Checkoway, Barry Norman. Suburbanization and Community: Growth and Planning in Postwar Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Ph. D. Diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1977. 
  • Cohen, Madeline L. Postwar City Planning in Philadelphia: Edmund N. Bacon and the Design of Washington Square East. Ph.D. Diss. University of Pennsylvania, 1991.
  • Dryer, Stephanie. Markets in the Meadows: Department Stores and Shopping Centers in the Decentralization of Philadelphia, 1920-1980.  Ph. D. Diss.  University of Pennsylvania, 2000.
  • Janas, Leo M. A Tale of Two Suburbs: Zoning, Transportation, and Their Impact on Twentieth Century Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Radnor, Pennsylvania.  Ph. D. Diss.  Temple University, 1998.
  • McAllister, David M. Ph.D.  Between the Suburbs and the Ghetto:  Racial and Economic Change in Working-Class Philadelphia, 1933-1965.  Dissertation, Temple University, 2007. 
  • Schuyler, David. A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1940-1980. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. 


  • Cole, Lori Ellen. Voices and Choices: Race, Class, and Identity, Homestead, Pennsylvania, 1941-1945. Ph.D. Diss. Carnegie Mellon University, 1994.

Secondary Sources (General)

Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Spaces

  • Fehrman, Cherie and Kenneth Fehrman. Postwar Interior Design: 1945-1960. New York: Reinhold, 1987.
  • Goldstein, Carolyn M. Do It Yourself: Home Improvement in 20th Century America. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.
  • Jenkins, Virginia Scott.  The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
  • Hart, John Fraser, et al. The Unknown World of the Mobile Home.   Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.


  • Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. 
  • Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003. 
  • Sugrue, Thomas and Kevin Kruse, eds.  The New Suburban History.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2006.


  • Baxandall, Rosalyn and Elizabeth Ewen.  Picture Windows:  How the Suburbs Happened.  New York:  Basic Books, 2000.
  • Cohen, Lizabeth.  Consumer’s Republic:  The Politics of Mass Consumption in Post War America.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.


  • Galster, George C., “U.S. Housing Scholarship, Planning, and Policy Since 1968,” Journal of the American Planning Association 74 (winter 2008): 5-16.
  • Mitchell, Paul. "The Housing Act of 1954: A 40-Year Retrospective," Planning History Present 8:1 (1994), 1-6.


  • Bauman, John, ed. From Tenements to Taylor Homes: In Search of an Urban Housing Policy in Twentieth-Century America. College Park:  Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

    You will need Adobe Reader to open any .pdf files on this page. If you do not have it, click on the icon to download it free of charge.