Relying on my trusted method of serendipity, I found three books that I wanted to share today. They are not thematically related; however, due to their small size, they are housed near each other.
Frederick Post Co. Catalog and Price List of the Frederick Post Company: Manufacturers and Importers of Drawing Materials and Mathematical Instruments. Chicago: Frederick Post Co., 1910.
I was intrigued by both the tiny size and title of the book. “Frederick Post Company” was stamped on the spine; having no prior knowledge of the company, I was curious about the contents. I was quite surprised to discover a supply catalogue of drawing instruments and other equipment related to drafting and construction. The Frederick Post Company offered blue print papers, slide rules, drawing instruments, surveying equipment, plum bobs, and a whole host of related items.
A stamp on the title page identified local architect Roy L. Thomas, whose papers are housed in the Alexander Architectural Archive, as the previous owner. The catalogue seems like a curious thing to save, though I am glad Mr. Thomas did. The items for purchase speak to a rather different process of design than that of CAD.
Lux, Joseph August. Schöne Gartenkunst. Esslingen: P. Neff Verlag (Max Schreiber), 1907. (Part of the Martin S. Kermacy Collection)
This slim little book contains several interesting drawings of gardens by Max Benirschke and Franz Lebísch. While I am unfamiliar with both the author and the illustrators, the drawings reminded me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Flinn, Joseph J. Official Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition. Chicago: The Columbian Guide Co., 1893.
The Official Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition may rate as one of my favorite finds in Special Collections to date. While the images contained in the text might be familiar to those who study American architecture, there is something rather special about being able to examine the guide first hand. In addition to the illustrations and map, it provides an overview of the fair, descriptions of the buildings, useful advice for travelers, and information about Chicago. While the Ferris Wheel is not illustrated, I rather like the description: This to some extent, takes the place of the Eiffel tower. Visitors are hurled 250 feet into the air, in cars similar to railway coaches in construction (pg. 152). I also had no idea there was a New England Clam Bake Building (pg. 153)!
Our copy is inscribed by several previous owners: Dr. N. S. Davis at State and Randolph; V. Weldon of Chicago; and Mr. S. E. Weldon of Cuero, Texas. S. E. Weldon left explicit instructions that his book should be returned to him if found. He writes:
The finder of this book, if at any time it be lost, will please send it through the [missing text] to the last address. Put one cent on it. I will pay [potentially missing text] rest. S.E.W.