The Galveston That WasBook - 1999
In a 1963 novel, Edna Ferber compared the city of Galveston to Miss Havisham, the gray, mournful abandoned bride of Dickens' Great Expectations. A thriving port city in the nineteenth century, Galveston suffered catastrophe in the twentieth as a deadly hurricane and shifting economics dropped a pall over its waterfront and Victorian mansions.
Originally conceived as a requiem for the faded city, The Galveston That Was (developed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and funded by Jean and Dominique de Menil) instead helped resurrect the city. Architect-author Howard Barnstone, renowned portrait photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and architect-photographer Ezra Stoller captured the soul of the city in The Galveston That Was and as a result, inspired a major and successful effort to restore Galveston's historic architectural treasures. Many of the buildings pictured in the book have since been restored, and the pace of demolition slowed dramatically after the book's initial publication.
In 1994, Rice University Press, in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and George and Cynthia Mitchell, published an updated edition of the book. This new printing of the book, now under the Texas A&M University Press imprint, contains the text annotations and updates, plus Peter H. Brink's afterword, that were added to the 1994 edition.