From the American Scene: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
IF IT is not so easy to trace the historic developments that have taken place in Bucks County, it is possible to discover the point at which the locality became fashionable. It is customary to attribute the rise of Bucks County as a fashion to the presence of Hollywood and Broadway writers who, in the 30′s, began to make their homes here. There is no doubt that when Moss Hart, George Kaufman, Budd Schulberg, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell, Ruth and Gus Goetz “lived here”- though finally in as transitory a way as “Washington slept here”-the publicity value of Bucks County was exploited by the inevitable train of gossip columnists and slick magazines looking for copy. But the intimation that Bucks County was emerging from the anonymity of just another Pennsylvania place came from a less publicized source.
When Holger Cahill wrote a monograph on the importance of early American folk art for the Newark Museum in 1930, he could no more have foreseen the consequences than Van Gogh could have imagined that the theme of his life would one day be contorted for the movies. There is no straight line between Cahill’s monograph and the costume jewelry that began to appear in the 30′s utilizing for their designs the angels in the old birth certificates. But the interest in Pennsylvania folk art, confined previously to connoisseurs and antiquarians, began to have repercussions that affected people who never intended to put a foot inside a museum.
About the Author