Part 2:-- The The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Era of Gustav Stickley, 1900-1915

This section is in dire need of revision, but my time right now is dedicated to another topic..


The American Arts and Crafts Movement was responsible for sweeping changes in attitudes toward the decorative arts, and it fostered the beginnings of twentieth-century design. In America between 1900 and 1915, the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement spread through arts and crafts societies, periodicals, classes and merchandizing of domestic products that include furniture, ceramics, metal and silver objects, lamps and stained glass.

At that moment, America was itself in a formative stage. Waves of immigrants -- most of whom were illiterate, did not speak English, with limited talents and skills -- were making social and economic changes that indeliably changed "white" America: -- changed for ever, America became a "nation of immigrants". Read more here about immigration in America's history

Another factor associated with the impact of the Arts and Crafts Movement is home ownership, especially as home-ownership relates to "time, space, and money".

While Gustav Stickley is its chief exponent, America's Arts and Crafts Movement included architects and designers as such Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, the Greene and Greene brothers, and William L Price; designers such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, ceramicists such as Adelaide Alsop Robineau and the Rookwood pottery; the furniture of Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft Shops and the Stickley brothers, L & JG. The result was much more than a particular "style": widely encompassing, the American Arts and Crafts movement embraced a philosophy of life, a philosophy that promoted physical and moral well-being, a philosophy the -- remarkably -- still continues today, in the 21st century.

One of the most exciting and inspiring chapters in the history of our nation's decorative arts, the roots of the American Arts and Crafts Movement are in the English movement of the same name, it flourished when transplanted to American soil at the turn of the century.


Source:adapted from James D. Kornwolf M. H.Baillie Scott and the Arts and Crafts Movement: Pioneers of Modern Design The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore and London, 1972, pages 344-393, "Baillie-Scott in America"

The influence of the English Arts and Crafts movement in the United States was not as profound as it was in Europe, but its impact was wider and, in some instances, had greater impact.

According to the architectural historian, James D Kornwolf,

When the history of the movement is written, it may well be shown that it was more influential in America than in England itself: certainly it maintained its strength longer in America and, active in most major cities and publicized in a variety of widely read periodicals and books, it affected American architecture and design more widely than had any movement since the Gothic Revival. [ James D. Kornwolf M. H.Baillie Scott and the Arts and Crafts Movement: Pioneers of Modern Design The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore and London, 1972,page 345]

In his later work, Harvey Ellis (as a Stickley designer), and Gustav Stickley himself, became ardent protagonists of the Arts and Crafts and display a very pure English Arts and Crafts style.

Source: James D. Kornwolf M. H.Baillie Scott and the Arts and Crafts Movement: Pioneers of Modern Design The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore and London, 1972,page 345]

HARVEY ELLIS'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT IN AMERICA Karen Graham Wade, Landmarks Preservation Commission, City of New York

At the time of his death in January 1904, Harvey Ellis was regarded as one of the finest American draftsmen and architectural designers of the late nineteenth century, a recognition that has been regained over the last twenty years. Ellis's reputation, however, has generally been based upon his early works in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Of equal interest was Ellis's contribution to The Craftsman , a phase of his career which has until recently gone relatively unnoticed. This paper will focus upon those designs by Ellis appearing in the magazine that combined sophisticated adaptations of European Arts and Crafts forms with the more robust character indigenous to the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

Prior to his association with The Craftsman in 1903, Ellis had shown an interest in British Arts and Crafts forms, illustrated by three architectural renderings which appeared in the Fourteenth Annual Chicago Architectural Club Exhibition and catalog of 1901. Ellis relied heavily upon the works of M. H. Baillie Scott in these drawings, as he continued to do in his designs for The Craftsman which appeared in the issues between July 1903 and January 1904. These later works also frequently incorporated elements characteristic of designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and other protagonists of the British Arts and Crafts movement, such as Selwyn Image. Another broad source of influence for Ellis's late designs were works by members of the Vienna Secession. The Viennese designs affecting Ellis had been derived from motifs by Mackintosh and his collaborators, although the Viennese motifs were frequently more structured and symmetrical than their prototypes.

During Ellis's association with The Craftsman, he was also responsible for the designs of inlaid oak furniture that was manufactured by Gustav Stickley's United Crafts. Ellis's appreciation for and understanding of European Arts and Crafts forms are evident in the subtle refinement of both the structure and ornamentation of these pieces.

While many of the elements in Ellis's designs were adapted directly from European sources, he interpreted them in a uniquely American fashion. Through his skillful integration of styles, Harvey Ellis brought The Craftsman and, subsequently, the entire American Arts and Crafts movement up to a new level of excellence.

Such magazines as --

The House Beautiful (Chicago, 1896 --)

House and Garden (Phil­adelphia, 1901 --)

Indoors and Out (Boston, 1905-1907)

The Craftsman (New York, 1901-1916)

regularly featured news of American Arts and Crafts societies as well as Arts and Crafts-oriented articles.

The 1900-1907 issues of The Ladies' Home Journal,contain the im­portant Arts and Crafts-inspired houses of Wright, Spencer, and Bradley.

Some societies issued their own publications at irregular intervals: for example, Handicraft was published by the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts from 1910 to 1912

the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society published catalogues of its first and second exhibitions in 1898 and 1899.

Popular Architectural Organizations

Such archi­tectural organizations as the T-Square Club of Philadelphia and the Architectural Club of Chicago and that of St. Louis are also valuable indexes to Arts and Crafts influence in archi­tecture.

According to Mabel Tuke Priestman -- in The House Beautiful, October and November, 1906 -- the following organizations were especially productive and influential:Read Priestman's article here

Minneapolis Arts and Crafts Society (The Chalk and Chisel Club), 1895-,

Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, 1897-,

Chicago Arts and Crafts Society, founding date?

At the same time, the more youthful American architects of Baillie Scott's generation -- none of whom had created an art significantly distinct from that of the earlier generation before 1900: -- Wright, Pur­cell and Elmslie, Drummond, and others in Chicago and the brothers Greene and Gill in California -- suddenly found themselves equipped with a new sensibility and surged forward after that date, creating a new archi­tecture which, for all its variety and originality, found its common purpose in the ideals and aesthetic of the English Arts and Crafts movement. It is no exaggeration to state that the similarities between Wright's early houses and those of other Prairie School architects, between their work and that by the Greenes and Gill in California, and between this architecture and that of Voysey, Scott, Mackintosh, and Ashbee in Britain and of Olbrich, Hoffmann, Loos, and Behrens on the Con­tinent can be explained as a common international response to the Arts and Crafts movement?the primary architectural catalyst of the decade 1900-1910. As proof Kornwolf cites numerous studies [note 165].

Quite in harmony with Arts and Crafts principles, just as it had been of Voysey and Baillie Scott in England, a major goal of American architects -- most notably of Wright and the Prairie School in the Mid­west -- was the appropriation indigenous forms and functions, often drawn from the vernacular.

By 1905, evidence exists that similar prin­ciples motivated architects located in other parts of America:

New England architects were able to base their craving for the Colonial on something more than antiquarianism: the craftsmanly quality of that indigenous architecture, the frankness of its form and function, its honest use of materials, and its bold, yet sensitive, proportions became the rallying point instead.

Pennsylvania architects found stronger grounds for resurrecting, in Philadelphia suburbs, the state's tradition of heavy stone farmhouses, a tradition largely ignored in the later nineteenth century because of the effects of the Indus­trial Revolution. But these applications of the movement's principles, prevalent in the East, were not the significant ones, as will be seen.

Chicago, on the other hand, lacking an indigenous, let alone Colonial, tradition in architecture, discovered one in the Prairie School.

California, joining the movement a few years later, found that it could draw not only upon the suggestive Spanish Mission tradition and Japanese architecture but also upon the Arts and Crafts-inspired style of the Prairie School.

Colonial Revival in Northeast

Of the great regions of architectural activity in America around 1900?the Northeast, the Midwest, and California?the progressive aspect of the Arts and Crafts movement made least headway in the Northeast, although its influence ap­pears to have been first felt there. The turning away from the Shingle Style to the Colonial or to a renewal of the revival of historical European styles in the North­east in the late eighties was been noteworthy, as detailed by Vincent Joseph Scully, The shingle style, 1955 , pages 130ff., and this movement did not lose its force with the advent of the Arts and Crafts. Nor was the renewal of revivalism was not limited to the East Coast:

the Columbian Exposition in Chicago attests to its attraction there, just as the lack of unity and eclecticism in Wright's work of the early and mid-nineties attests to his difficulty in finding an alternative. Richardson, Sullivan, and Norman Shaw apparently were not strong enough in­fluences to sustain or to propel the younger American generation of architects without some added new stimulus.

But the younger generation in Britain:-- Voysey, Baillie Scott, Ashbee, and Mackintosh -- had not fully formed or publicized their principles or their architecture before the mid- or late nineties. It is much more than mere coincidence that shortly after they did so, similar developments began in American architecture, as in that of the Continent.

The other major center of Arts and Crafts activity in the East, with the widest possible ramifications, was western New York State. At East Aurora, outside Buffalo, and at Eastwood, near Syracuse, were two enterprises created and run by two midwesterners who manipulated the Arts and Crafts movement into flourish­ing business operations. One, founded and managed by Elbert Hubbard?called the -Sage of East Aurora" although he was a native of Illinois?built Roycroft furniture there, starting in 1895.

Hubbard be­lieved that the gospel of Ruskin, Morris, and the English Arts and Crafts move­ment was capable of great popularity among an American public increasingly governed by industrialization and urbanization, and as a self-anointed prophet, he popularized Ruskin's and Morris' ideas to the point of boredom, the Arts and Crafts to the point of vulgarity. The other, The Craftsman Shops, near Syracuse, founded in 1901, was managed by Wisconsin-born Gustav Stickley.

Stickley (1857-1942) also found means of expressing the credo in words and works: The Craftsman magazine, also begun in 1901, handled the former, his ever-expanding factory the latter. Stickley's attitude and contribution were similar to Hubbard's, but he showed considerably more

As John Crosby Freeman suggests, Stickley is probably more responsible than any other single individual for bringing Arts and Crafts into the American home and achiev­ing that wide base of support which the English movement never acquired. But this was the result of Stickley's talent as an entrepreneur more than that as an artist, which can readily be confirmed by his innocuous designs for small houses and his somewhat less than original furniture and writings.185 [185 See John Crosby Freeman, Forgotten Rebel: Gustav Stickley and His Craftsman Mission Furniture, pp. 25ff. Freeman states that Hubbard's manufacture of Roycroft furniture post­dates Stickley's "Mission" furniture, which, he claims, established "a new aesthetic." While Freeman is certainly correct in emphasizing the differences between the two men in their understanding of the Arts and Crafts movement and in appraising Stickley's contribution as the more important one, he overestimates its importance. Stickley produced mainly bad re­production furniture before 1898; in that year, according to Freeman's own account, Stickley, "under the tutelage of Irene Sargent, ... lost interest in the production of imitation stuff and turned his attention to the study of modern European furniture. Perhaps he was first drawn to it by articles appearing in such magazines as International Studio" (ibid., p. 15).]

Stickley's magazine -- The Craftsman -- had its greatest impact its earliest issues; it loses both force and quality year by year after about 1906. The decline repeats the pattern of The Studio itself and, to some extent, the course of the movement in America.

The first number of The Craftsman September, 1901, consisted of five articles on the life and work of William Morris, all written by Irene Sargent;

the sec­ond number was largely dedicated to Ruskin.

Until 1916, references to and articles on both men continued.

Stickley himself does not appear to have written for the magazine or designed houses until about 1903, after which date both activities made him its dominant personality. Kornwolf's analysis of the appropriation by articles in The Craftsmanof the architectural ideas of Baillie-Scott and Voysey into the plans for houses is echoed by others[?]

As one of numerous examples from pages of The Craftsman, Kornwolf [347-360] states

The similarity of the exterior of this design to Scott's bungalow of 1889 and its American sources (Figs. 51-54) makes it singularly unoriginal and retardataire. Internally, as the drawing for the dining room inglenook shows, Stickley and Dietrich were content merely to emulate Baillie Scott. Stickley's next published designs for Craftsman houses were delayed, it seems, by his good fortune in finding in nearby Rochester a designer far more competent than he to create his ideal in America, Harvey Ellis. In 1903 and early 1904 Ellis contributed about a dozen illustrated articles to The Craftsman, assuming a position relative to the magazine identical to that which Gleeson White had bestowed upon Baillie Scott in 1894. Had Ellis not died prematurely in 1904, the subsequent history of The Craftsman magazine and the Arts and Crafts movement in America might have been different, and the change would have been for the better, considering Ellis' capability as a designer and the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues.189 [189 Ellis wrote ten or so illustrated articles in:

The Craftsman in 1903-1904.

Stickley's later designs are collected in:

Craftsman Homes (New York, 1909) and in More Craftsman Homes (New York, 1912), which together appear to have been responsible for altering the course of vernacular housebuilding all over the United States in the period 1905-1920.]

The Craftsman Shops, launched in 1901, prospered, so that by 1912, Stickley moved most of his operation from Syracuse to its own twelve-story building in New York City.

With his New York city operations, he seems to have achieved the status of tastemaker in American design -- comparable to the British counterpart productions in London, but with two important differences:

First, in the true spirit of the movement, Stickley aimed his productions at a "mass"- public.


Second, Craftsman output remained derivative. The furniture illustrated in his cata­logues shows that Stickley virtually never went beyond what Voysey, Baillie-Scott, or Mackintosh had already achieved and that, even while following closely in their footsteps, he was less individual than Wright or the Greenes in his imitation.

The important distinction between Stick­ley's furniture and that of the British is not that Stickley's is "Americanized", al­though this probably was one of his intentions, but that it is heavier, less sensitively proportioned, and cruder in detail than the British furniture and had a wider in­fluence. Sources: on "derivative", Kornwolf, Davidoff .

Leopold Stickley's furniture is disparaged as "derivative" of Gustav Stickley's, Some of Leopold's work is derivative, in a way, being inferior copies of Gustav's seminal pieces. Other pieces deriving from Gustav's work extend the vocabulary of the style and cannot be dismissed. And some pieces are innovative and propel the movement in directions not taken by Gustav. Source: Davidoff,

Bartlett, below, is introduced in Document 8

The originality?derivity issue has been discussed by the Cambridge University psychologist, Frederic Bartlett, whom I would describe as original (and derivative) with his book Remembering published in 1932. Through that work he brought cultural issues, particularly conventionalization, to the level of the individual and to the concerns of psychology. His studies and theoretical explanations dealt with the problem of how individuals remember cultural artifacts, including texts, that come from a culture other than their own. In writing that book, he used, along with other sources, some writings of his Cambridge University colleagues in anthropology and borrowed a theoretical explanation from a colleague in physiology.


Inspired by the thinking and designs produced by William Morris and many others in the English Arts and Crafts movement, in the late 1890s, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston (SACB) begun its famous quest for spreading "usefulness and beauty" throughout the land.

(Also see the account of the origins of the movement in America in the 19th century.)

Among members of in the SACB were design critics, architects, designers, craft workers, educators, and theorists. The formative years of the SACB was 1897-1917, or roughly the same period as Gustav Stickley's operations. The SACB's existence spawned formation of similar groups in many cities, and its competitions and prizes generated much interest, all helping to spread a wide net of inflence of Arts and Crafts ideas and ideals.

The period covered in this part more or less encompasses the era when Gustav Stickley's "empire" prevailed in America. Since Stickley was selling "a way of life", and not just furniture, or house plans, or publishing a magazine and books, "empire" dose not seem out of place.

This era in which Stickley dominates divides into three roughly distinct periods: Experimental Period, 1898-1900; First Mission Period, 1900-1904; includes Harvey Ellis' brief sojourn, 1903-1904; Mature Period, 1904-1910.

As a movement, inevitably, it appealed more to more affluent Americans because while leaders of the movement -- Gustav Stickley was a prime player -- held the ideal that their products would be purchased by all of the American population, production costs dictated that prices for these products were beyond the economic means of much of the population.

Document 62:--HISTORY OF THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT, written by Mabel Tuke Priestman, 1906

Mabel Tuke Priestman's brief but dense account might surprise modern day con­verts to the civic religion of American Arts and Crafts. That movement is popularly understood as origi­nating with the trinity of John Ruskin, William Morris, and Gustav Stickley, and being disseminated at the turn of the century by key "missionary" visionaries such as Elbert Hubbard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles and Henry Greene. Priestman gives credit to some of the British forefathers, but she never mentions the archi­tects or architecture we revere at the turn of the twen­ty-first century: no mention of Arthur H. Mackmurdo, Charles F. A. Voysey, M H Baillie Scott, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Britain -- as detailed here-- nor the Craftsman homes, Prairie School houses, and the California bungalow. Indeed, California goes to­tally unmentioned in her assessment, certainly an oversight, one that might have been different if Tukeman were writing in 1910 instead of 1906.

What did Priestman overlook?

cross-section for four-sided post

Priestman doesn't mention the transmission of British and European ideas about Arts and Crafts designs, both directly through articles in periodicals like The Studio and International Studio.

Many of these magazine articles were authored by the British originators -- Mackmurdo, Voysey, Baillie Scott, Mackintosh -- of the ver­nacular styles that these designers visualized -- in their unembel­lished structure and natural materials, that:--

their creations were indigenous to Britain

their designs evolved from human needs rather than stylistic pre­scriptions

they provided a retreat from an impersonal urban present

they evoked a preindustrial past


The work of C. F. A. Voysey first began appearing in American journals. Voysey's work was exhibited at the Boston Architectural Club. The first number of I he studio was published in April, including an interview with C. F. A. Voysey, articles on Morris' decoration at Stanmore Hall, the work by students at Birmingham Town Hall, and work by Walter Crane, A. H. Mackmurdo and Frank Brangwyn. It was this propagandist magazine which disseminated the activities and ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement.Voysey's work first appeared in the International Studio and was also exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair.


For example, C F A Voysey -- one of the most prominent among the British Arts and Crafts architect?designers --

preferred the simplicity of the vernacular not only for aesthetic rea­sons but because he believed it to be morally superior to complex ornamen­tation and classically derived styles. Voysey preferred not to use finish on furniture -- mostly created out white oak- and let the metal strap hinges remain unpolished.Voysey deplored shoddy craftsmanship:

"A mean man will inevitably tend to shab­biness in the hidden parts of his work; he will put deal bottoms to his satin­wood casket, and fasten up his joinery with screws or nails to save the labour of dovetailing and mortising."12

[12. Quoted in Duncan Simpson, C.F. A. Voysey: An Archi­tect of Individuality (London: Lund Humphries, 1979), page 109, as cited by Robert Judson Clark and Wendy Kaplan , page 83.]

"simplicity in decoration is one of the most essential qualities without which no true richness is possible. To know where to stop and what not to do is a long way on the road to being a great decorator."13

[13. Quoted in "Some Recent Designs by Mr. C.F.A. Voysey," Studio 7 (May 1896), p 216, as cited by Robert Judson Clark and Wendy Kaplan , page 83.]

American Interpreters

American interpreters such as Will Bradley. (On the left is the illustrator Will Bradley's design for a library (fig. 4), which shows clearly an indebtedness to British precedent.)

A case in point: As part of a campaign to im­prove American domestic architecture, from Nov­ember 1901 to August 1902,the Ladies' Home Journal published a series of Bradley interiors which incorporate much of the "vocabulary" of English de­sign reform. Many of Bradley's design features: for links, click here

exposed ceiling beams,

leaded windows,

exposed mortise-­and-tenon joinery

are endemic to the British Arts and Crafts ideal of "honest" structure, and are commonplace as design motifs, so commonplace that we do not give them special notice. Bradley's elongated metal hinges probably come from the furniture of C.F A. Voysey; the hooded fireplace, pictorial frieze, and stylized botanical motifs are very close to those found in M.H. Baillie Scott's interiors. Many of these designs, or variations of them, sprinkle today's woodworker magazines, and we do not give them special notice.For examples of several British architect/designers, go to Appendix 36: Notes on Britain's Post-Morris Architect/Designers

With frequent articles in International Studio and other periodicals, Voysey's work had a measurable impact on furniture makers such as L. and J.G. Stickley and Stickley Brothers. Both groups adapted his designs to factory pro­duction. (nos. 53 and 105) found his lines readily adaptable to

[The development of these Handcraft pieces signaled a new maturity in the work of L. & J.G. Stickley. The new designs exemplified a fresh approach whose roots could be traced to four stylistic sources:

the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Midwestern contemporaries,

English Arts and Crafts masters such as C. F. A. Voysey, A. H. Mackmurdo and Ernest Gimson,

the European reform movement espoused by Viennese architect-designers and

the Glasgow School and C. R. Mackintosh.


The infusion of these disparate influences, especially that of Prairie-school architects, revitalized the simple mission style and pushed the firm into a new prominence in the marketplace. The full realization of this new aesthetic would not be achieved for several years, but the work reproduced in the first Handcraft catalog illustrates the new directions.

Source: Donald A. Davidoff and Stephen Gray, Innovation and Derivation: the Contribution of L.& J.G. Stickley to the Arts and Crafts Movement Morris Plains, NJ: The Craftsman Farms Foundation, 1995. Stephen Gray, in his "This Exibition: A Preview", on pages 15-19, usefully lays out the terms "innovation" and "derivation" in relation to the creative of impulses of Gustav's brothers, Leopold and J. G. Stickley, noting in particular

Leopold [Stickley's] production has been disparaged as "derivative" of Gustav's, so it must be examined in reference to it and in the context of other designers of the Arts and Crafts movement as well. Some of Leopold's work is derivative, in a way, being inferior copies of Gustav's seminal pieces. Other pieces deriving from Gustav's work extend the vocabulary of the style and cannot be dismissed. And some pieces are innovative and propel the movement in directions not taken by Gustav.

Citations from JSTOR

1. David Gebhard, "C. F. A. Voysey- to and from America C. F. A. Voysey- to and from America", The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Dec., 1971), pages 304-312

2. William S. Ayres, Review: Utopian Craftsmen, The Arts and Crafts Movement from the Cotswolds to Chicago by Lionel Lambourne, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 41, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), pages 352-353

3.Stuart Evans, Review: The Arts and Crafts Movement by Elizabeth Cumming; Wendy Kaplan William Morris: Design and Enterprise in Victorian Britain by Charles Harvey; Jon Press, Journal of Design History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1993), pages 57-62

Equally influential were Baillie Scott's furniture designs. His 1901 line -- eighty-one pieces of furniture to be manufactured by John page White's Pyghtle Works in Bedford, England -- was featured in the Pyghtle Works catalog and magzine articles that included photographs.

The essential point then in the choice of furniture may be said to be not so much the individual merit of a particular thing as its relation to everything else in the room. The furniture should appear to grow out of the requirements of the room, to represent the finishing touches of a scheme which had its inception when the first stone of the house was laid, and not an alien importation from the upholsterer's of spick and span suites, at war with themselves and their surroundings.

Source: M H Baillie-Scott, "On the Choice of Simple Furniture", The Studio April 1897, page 152.

Also M H Baillie Scott, "On the Choice of Simple Furniture", The International studio 1 1897, pages 152-156

American furniture makers imitated sev­eral of the designs, for the most part undecorated pieces.

baillie scott trestle table 1908

Stark, rectinlear, designs showed America's preference for machine produc­tion, primarily for economic expediency. [need to account for "handcraft" use by stickley -- check cathers] Moreover, according to Clark and Kaplan, Arts and Crafts reformers were, if anything, even more resolute than their British counterparts about simplic­ity in design.

bailliescott 1901-trestle table copied by GS 1904

About 1904, Stickley copied a Baillie Scott version of an English trestle table both for his own house in Syracuse [make link to appendix 33] and to sell -- was this table designed by harvey ellis?

His broth­ers L. and J.G. Stickley made some mi­nor changes and added the table to their own line of production about 1910 (see no. 104).

16 [16. See, for example, "A House in Vancouver that Shows English Tradition Blended with the Frank Ex­pression of Western Life," Craftsman 13 (March 1908), pages 675-688. The author states that the furniture in the central hall and drawing room was designed by M.H. Baillie Scott and made by John page White in Bedford, England. A version of tea table no. 34 from the cata­logue is seen in the photograph on page 679. For a record of Baillie Scott's Pyghtle Works furniture, see Furniture Made at the Pyghtle Works, Bedford by John page White, Designed by M.H. Baillie Scott (London: Bemrose & Sons, 1901).]

Source: Robert Judson Clark and Wendy Kaplan, "Arts and Crafts: Matters of Style", in Wendy Kaplan, ed., "The Art That Is Life": The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920 Boston: Museum of Fine Arts/Little, Brown and Company, 1987, pages 78-100.

University of Wisconsin's Home Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture:--

Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Image and Text Collections

(To access the options listed below for retrieving digitized material, including a full text version of The Craftsman, published by Gustav Stickley between 1900 and 1915, click on the link above)

Decorative arts home
Search the image collection
Search the text collection
Subject guides for text collection


[under construction 5-4-09]

cross-section for four-sided post

Stickley's "United Crafts" Period: As Captured by an 1901 Unsigned Irene Sargent Booklet, "A Revival of Old Arts and Crafts Aplied to Wood and Leather"

At this era of Stickley's operations, his designer, Lamont Warner (1876-1970), rendered the "heavy" versions of the initial Stickley turn -- in 1900 -- toward the quarter-sawn white-oak furniture with the exposed tenons, tenons-and-keys, corbels, and slats, that distinctively marked his "signature" products for the rest of his activity as a furniture manufacturer. The "Morris chair", patented in this era, became an icon. Is Lamont Warner responsible for designing the "straight-arm" 1901 patented Morris chair? (Image below on left from 1st issue of The Craftsman.) For image of patented for chair, click here; for descriptive account of Lamont Warner archives at the winterthur Library, click here.

Click here for a pdf of the booklet written by Sargent and the furniture designed by Warner.

Following the scholarly path forged by Gustav Stickley's indefatigable biographer, David Cathers, we know that attribution of the authorship of the booklet in the link above comes from archives at Syrcuse University. Cleota Reed, Research Associate at the College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University, discovered a hand-written version among Sargent's papers in the late 1970s. It is dated 13 January 1901.

Sources: Cleota Reed, " Irene Sargent: Rediscovering a Lost Legend", Courier 16 Summer 1979, pages 3-13; Cleota Reed, "Gustav Stickley and Irene Sargent: United Crafts and The Craftsman", Courier 30 1995, pages 35-50; and Cleota Reed, "Near the Yates: Craft, Machine, and Ideology in Arts and Crafts Syracuse; 1900-1910." in Bert Denker, ed. The Substance of Style Winterthur, DE: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1996, as cited by David Cathers, Gustav Stickley New York: Phaidon, 2003, pages 225 and 235.

During his first years as an Arts and Crafts furniture maker, from about mid-1900 to early 1904, Gustav Stickley and his designers created the most significant cabinetwork his firm would ever produce. For the most part made of white, quarter-sawn American oak, this furniture was substantial, subtly proportioned, essentially rectilinear, and built using traditional joinery:--

(more work needed on the items mentioned below)

tenons and keys,


exposed tenons,

many pieces ornamented with hand-wrought copper or iron hardware.

These structural elements -- both functional and symbolic -- not only held the furniture together but also expressed moral and aesthetic values.

The Craftsman magazine, and plans for Craftsman homes were also included.

Stickley Factories

Gustav Stickley's factory was powered by a line shaft system that was driven by a 150 hp steam engine.

Stickley had large coal burning boilers that provided the steam to power the steam engine, to heat the factory, to heat the wood drying sheds and to drive the line shaft system.

The steam engine -- i.e., the set-up that drove the line shaft system of the factory--was a C and G Cooper, 16 x 36 horizontal right-hand Corliss valve steam engine that drove a 12 foot fly wheel. This set-up had no dynamo or electrical generator associated with it. Via Mike McCracken, this info comes from the 1914 factory inventory for the Stickley factory housed at the Benson Ford Research Center Library. According to Professor McCracken, although other inventories (1901-1916) also refer to this steam engine, the most complete info on it is in Benson Ford archive.

Sources: Stickley inventories housed at the Winterthur and the Benson Ford Research Library, info courtsey Mike McCracken, History Dept, Georgia Tech University.

The Origin and Impact of the Arts and Crafts Societies

2. Marilyn Fish, "Assessing Recent Interpretations of the Arts and Crafts Movement Review: [Reviewed work(s): Inspiring Reform: Boston's Arts and Crafts Movement by Edward S. Cooke, et al, Art Journal 56, No. 3, Digital Reflections: The Dialogue of Art and Technology (Autumn, 1997), pages 90-92

Note: This (brief) account of the Arts and Crafts Societies is indebted primarily to several sources: Max West, "The Revival of Handicraft in America," U.S. Bureau ofLabor, Bulletin 55 (November 1904); Mabel Tuke Priestman's 1906 article, Allen H Eaton's 1930s book (not published until 1949) on Handicrafts of New England, and Beverly K. Brandt's 2009 The Craftsman and the Critic.

"Usefulness and Beauty": A Civic Religion

One of the roles the Arts and Crafts societies adopted was to help members develop a sense of "taste", but -- for some -- at bottom, this was an "antimodern" impulse.

"There is a growing demand from thinking people of good taste for simple and well made furniture, something entirely unlike that to be found in the ordinary furniture market...."

J Vaughan Dennett, "Honest Furniture" Handicraft 2 1904 pages ? For complete article, click here

If Arts and Crafts Societies stand for one particular thing more than another, is it not for the promotion of good taste or the fitness of things in matters of decorative art -- by exhibitions, by keeping a shop, by making themselves felt in the community? (Here's the link.)

Source: William Hagerman Graves, "Pottery: Its Limitations and Possibilities," Handicraft 2 March 1904, pages 253; also cited by T. J. Jackson Lears No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture New York: Pantheon, 1981, page 77

In the wake of its rapid spread across the country' in 1906 the Arts and Crafts movement is the "most democratic of art movements," says Mrs. M. F. Johnston, of the American Civic Association. Americans were subscribing to dozens of periodicals devoted to Arts and Crafts concerns, joining hundreds of Arts and Crafts societies, and taking classes at a variety of summer schools, night schools, design schools, and settlement houses. They also viewed the works of craftsmen from all over the world at international expositions (see no. 6) and at exhibitions sponsored by societies and schools. These agents of dissemination affected amateurs as well as professionals, consumers and appreciators as well as makers.

Source: As "Arts and Crafts," Leaflet No. 10, Department Pamphlet No. 4-I, American Civic Association, Department of Arts and Crafts,page 1 , as cited by Wendy Kaplan, Spreading the Crafts: The Role of the Schools, in Wendy Kaplan, ed., "The Art That is Life": The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920 Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987, page 298. Below is a link to an online fulltext version of Max Wests's "Revival of Handicrafts in America", which contains on page 1598 over a half page of these organizations

Instruction was offered in a variety of settings, including summer schools, design schools, and settlement houses, as well as public schools. Working people were part of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain, but in the United States, the movement was predominately embraced by middle- and upper-classes.

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A contemporary record (1904) -- available in an online format -- of the organizations and activities associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn-of-the-century is by Max West, an economist with the United States Department of Labor. For the entire text -- there are no images -- of West's report, "Revival of Handicrafts in America" look at pages 1573-1622 of this online pdf. From the pages of West's report, one gets a "feel" for the eagerness -- "passion" doesn't seem like an exaggeration -- among the populations of larger urban centers, mostly in America's Northeast, for engaging in handicrafts. Most frequently West mentions ceramics, weaving and rug making, but woodcarving and even furniture and cabinetmaking are mentioned. Not mentioned by West, but the implication is there: people turned to these organizations primarily because of the "space" they could access, because of lack of the spaciousness of homes in that era. (For background on how home ownership factors into amateur woodworking, check out this webpage.) For modest fees, club members were given access to work areas, materials, and equipment.

These societies similarly the focus of educating consumers' taste by mounting exhibitions of handcrafted items and maintaining salesrooms that offered handcrafted items for sale

Sources: Max West, "The Revival of Handicraft in America," U.S. Bureau of Labor, Bulletin 55 (November 1904); Vaughn and Mays, pages 37-38; Eileen Boris, 1986; Robert Judson Clark and Wendy Kaplan, ?Arts and Crafts: Matters of Style?, in Wendy Kaplan, ed., "The Art That Is Life": The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920 Boston: Museum of Fine Arts/Little, Brown and Company, 1987, pages 78-100; Kaplan, 1987; Cooke, 1997; Mary Ann Stankiewicz, et al, Questioning the Past: Contexts, Functions, and Stakeholders in 19th Century Art Education, in Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education, ed. by Elliot W. Eisner, Michael D. Day, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004