Lathrop, Elsie. Historic houses of early America. New York: Tudor Pub. Co., 1941, [c1927].
When I first saw Historic Houses of Early America sitting on the library shelf I didn’t even consider it for a blog post. With such a dry, straightforward title I was expecting plans and diagrams which, although useful for architectural scholarship, don’t often equate to riveting reading. This book, however, proved to be anything but boring! Written by Elsie Lathrop in 1927, Historic Houses was popular enough to enjoy several editions, including this 1941 publication bequeathed to the library by Blake Alexander. With 464 pages and copious illustrations, Historic Houses of Early America is more than your average architectural history book. Not only does the book provide detailed descriptions of some of this country’s earliest dwellings, it contains colorful stories and amusing anecdotes which truly make the homes, and their inhabitants, come alive! So if you’d like to see history through the lens of domestic architecture or if you just want to read some good ghost (!) stories, check out Lathrop’s Historic Houses of Early America.
Library of Congress call number: E 159 L34 1941
Metzger, Max Josef. Konstruktions-Arbeiten des Kunst-und Bauschlossers. Düsseldorf: F. Wolfrum 190-.
Collection: Weinreb Architectural Collection
Konstruktions-Arbeiten des Kunst-und Bauschlossers is a portfolio documenting original designs for iron staircases, gazebos, pavilions, bridges, windows, porticos and more. The portfolio’s 100 plates provide detailed plans for these elements, including scaled renderings and exact weight calculations to assure design integrity after construction. The graphic assembly of each plate ensures maximum legibility while presenting plans and sections as not simply part of the design process, but, rather, as discrete works of art.
Library of Congress call number: NA 3450 M434
Fry, Charles Rahn. Art deco interiors in color. New York: Dover, c1977.
Sometimes the images in a book are too good not to share with a wider audience! That is definitely the case with Art Deco Interiors in Color by Charles Rahn Fry (1943-1990). Filled with 62 watercolor drawings, Art Deco Interiors in Color showcases important and rare illustrations from several French design portfolios of the 1920s. The author, Charles Rahn Fry was a founding member of the Lenox Society of the New York Public Library and a fellow of the Morgan Library. He was also an avid collector of pochoir, a hand-colored stenciling method that flourished in France at the turn of the century. Many of the book’s plates were produced by this technique, which was popularly used in the creation of Art Nouveau and Art Deco design, fashion, and architecture publications. Although the colors and patterns (check out that…zebra?) might seem ridiculous to today’s tastes, the images are historically interesting for their representation of what was, at the time, considered to be the height of fashion.
Library of Congress call number: NK 1986 A78 A77
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