Between the Brandywines: A History of West Bradford is a 417-page hardback book, written in the popular history style, of a region of Chester County, Pennsyvlania that is located between the branches of the historic Brandywine River.
It is the only book of its kind in that it documents, in 16 chapters, a region once known as the “breadbasket of the early colonies,” then a day’s drive, by stagecoach, from the capital of Philadelphia. Inspired by the book, Loosening the Bonds, Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850 by Joan M. Jensen, the book included many chapters documenting the lives of early rural women including the Quakers, Lenape Indians, poorhouse residents and mill workers.
Published privately by West Bradford Press in 2005, the book was commissioned project and completed with the help of the West Bradford Township Historic Committee. Still, I consider Between the Brandywines to be part of my personal agenda to write about Chester County’s “hidden” history, which includes the development of small towns and 19th century attitudes towards industry, the landscape, and village commerce.
The book took five years of personal interviews (with local residents in their 80s and 90s) as well as extensive research at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania, including the use of its early newspaper archives. I also illustrated the book with pen & ink drawings and obtained more than 200 early photographs and postcards from local residents.
The book is available in two limited edition formats including a “textbook” version and a hardbook with a dust jacket and a pull-out map that was based on research complied in 1912 by Francis D. Brinton, who traced all the William Penn grants in East and West Bradford Townships.
The book is sold locally at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, the Chester County Book & Music Co,. and at the West Bradford Township building.
In the years since it was published, the book has received numerous endorsements and has been sold through several preservation groups such as the Friends of Martin Tavern.
Click here to read an account of the village of Marshallton, Pa. which includes several excerpts from the book.
What people are saying about the book:
“Between the Brandywines by Catherine Quillman tells the story of West Bradford Township by capturing the spirit of its land, waterways, buildings and people. Congratulations to the author, the Township, and its residents for a remarkable accomplishment. It makes me proud to live in Chester County!”
—John D. Milner, architect and recipient of the 2005 James Biddle Award for Lifetime Achievement, given by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.