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Buy Fresh, Buy Local

The activity of buying and selling food and other commodities has shaped towns and cities for centuries. At the heart of this exchange stand public markets—the buildings and spaces where marketing has taken place dating back to antiquity. Public markets persist today as the most enduring form of global, urban food exchange, with a strong sense of tradition continuing to inform their architecture and design.

“Public Markets” by Helen Tangires. 2008. A public city market, close-up view. Jan. 16, 1925.

Published by the Library of Congress and W.W. Norton & Company, “Public Markets” by Helen Tangires is a richly illustrated compendium of the wide variety of architectural structures devoted to the urban marketplace. Designers, urban planners and those intrigued by the intersection of history, commerce and architecture will find “Public Markets” to be a singular resource on the subject.

Drawn from the Library’s unparalleled collections, more than 800 historical and contemporary photographs, architectural drawings, maps, and posters from around the world depict the many types of public markets: open-air, street, enclosed market houses, central markets and wholesale terminal markets. Examples are organized in sections that define the form and function of these principal market types.

“Public Markets" is the sixth volume in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture Design and Engineering series and the first to be international in scope. The series is a project of the Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering in the Library of Congress, directed by C. Ford Peatross. “Public Markets” joins “Barns” by John Vlach, “Canals” by Robert Kapsch, “Theaters” by Craig Morrison, “Lighthouses” by Sara E. Wermiel and “Bridges” by Richard L. Cleary.

“Public Markets,” a 336-page hardcover book with 850 images, is available for $75 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library’s Sales Shop. An accompanying CD-ROM contains high-quality downloadable TIFF files of all the illustrations and direct links to the library’s online, searchable catalogs and image files.

Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us.” The same can be said for the public market. A community coming together for commerce demonstrates pride in where the citizens come from, who they are and where they live. As part of the Library’s Local Legacies Project, initiated by members of Congress and individuals across the nation to commemorate the Library of Congress Bicentennial in 2000 and to celebrate America's richly diverse culture, several communities in the United States chose their local market as the signature tradition that defines them. Searching the site for the word “market” turns up info on such institutions as the Spanish Market in New Mexico, the Royal Oak Farmers Market in Michigan and the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market.

A. “Public Markets” by Helen Tangires. 2008. Library of Congress and W.W. Norton & Company. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. A public city market, close-up view. Jan. 16, 1925. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-93773 (b&w film copy neg. of half stereo); Call No.: STEREO SUBJ FILE - Markets--1925 <item> [P&P]