Chapter 1: 1900 and Before 1:2. Magazines and newspapers with woodworking content; woodworker's manuals

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Under construction 3-23-10


Sources yet to be examined: Recent inroads into the understanding of prescriptive literature for the home as a specific form of visual and literary representation were made in a special issue of this journal, edited by G. Lees-Maffei, "Domestic design advice", Journal of Design History 16, no. 1, 2003.

Grace Lees-Maffei, Studying Advice: Historiography, Methodology, Commentary, Bibliography Journal of Design History, 2003; 16: 1 - 14.

Grace Lees-Maffei, Dangerous Liaisons: Relationships between Design, Craft and Art Journal of Design History, Sep 2004; 17: 207 - 220

Grace Lees-Maffei, Architecture, Design and the Family in Britain 1900–1970 Journal of Design History, 2001; 14: 80 - 82.

Grace Lees-Maffei, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth Journal of Design History, 2002; 15: 124 - 126.

Grace Lees-Maffei, Women's Leisure in England 1920–1960, Journal of Design History, 2001; 14: 162 - 164.

Grace Lees-Maffei, Elsie de Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration, Journal of Design History, Summer 2006; 19: 173 - 176.

L. Sandino, `Crafts for Crafts' Sake, 1973±1988', in J. Aynsley (ed.), Promoting Design through Magazines, Manchester University Press .

G. Julier, The Culture of Design, Sage, 2000, pp. 71±5.

Grace Lees-Maffei, `Introduction studying advice: historiography, methodology, commentary, bibliography', Journal of Design History, vol. 16, no. 1, 2003, pp. 1±14, n. 16.

Both Popular Mechanics and Popular Science contained articles on woodworking, either about tools and/or projects for woodworkers.

In London, the  weekly, Work: an illustrated magazine of practice and theory for all ...,, was published from 1889 to 1893. The editor of Work, the Australian, Paul N Hasluck, was a prolific writer, and today much of what he contributed to amateur woodworking is preserved in the inexpensive paperback book, The Handyman's Book. (Hasluck also edited the monthly, Amateur Mechanics.)

Impact of the British magazine, The Studio

From the year 1893 onwards the journal, The Studio, founded by Gleeson White - whom the German architect, Hermann Muthesius, describes as "a writer and artist of unusual merit" - and devoted to the new movement, disseminated the new ideas about the "new art", that is, news about the emergent movement called "Arts and Crafts". For example, in five issues published in 1899 and early 1900, The Studio devoted over 100 pages to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society's sixth exhibition. This was the first British Arts and Crafts Exhibition that had been written about at length in a periodical, and which was readily available in the United States.

Source: Hermann Muthesius, The English House London: Frances Lincoln, 2007, v 1 -- Written and published in German in 1905-1906, and in a second edition, 1908-1911, this multi-volume study is an important source of activities of the Arts and Crafts movement. That it wasn't translated into English until late in the 20th century -- a hard-cover abridged edition in 1979, a paperback in 1987 -- or, in its entirety, unitl 2007, is regretable. English readers were deprived of significant insights by a German architect -- an outsider able to write with an "insider's" point-of-view -- who spent several years observing "the English house", including its history, its furnishings and current situation. His attention to significant contributors to Arts and Crafts -- Arthur H. Mackmurdo, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, C F A Voysey, and M. H. Baillie Scott, Ernest Gimson, and ? Barnsley -- shows the insight of a shrewd chronicler of unfolding developments which would have lasting impact. For more on these architect/designers, read this webpage

Baillie Scott was very much a figure of his time, the 1890s,

"when the arts were sublimated by symbolism and in many cases fused together by a desire to explore myth and origin in elemental terms."

The wish to make the material speak -- wood grain, exposed joints, veneered inlays -- was emphasised by Scott in an article in The Studio in 1903:

Architecture considered in this way [as an expression of structural facts] becomes a kind of sculpture, and is concerned rather with the modelling of masses than the adornment of surfaces. In dealing with these the claims of the structure to supply its own decoration in the stonework of the walling or the beams of the ceiling are not disregarded, and if these are partially concealed by superficial decoration it is always realised that in so obscuring the structural facts and the history they have to tell, a certain loss is sustained which must be replaced by something of equal, if not greater, interest of a superficial nature.

Source: M.H. Baillie Scott The Studio 28, 1903, p. 191, as cited by Simon Houfe, [Introduction to Baillie Scott's 1906 book, House and Gardens: Arts and Crafts Interiors, June, 1995, pages 9-16] Other articles by Baillie Scott in The Studio include:

1 The Studio, Vol. 25, 1902, p. 86.

2 The Studio, Vol. 6, 1896, p.104.

3 The Studio, Vol. 32, 1904, p. 120.

4 The Studio, Vol. 6, 1896, p.105.

5 The Studio, Vol. 31, 1903, p. 57.

6 The Studio, Vol. 28, 1903, p. 283..

cross-section for four-sided post

While Frank Lloyd Wright and others could have seen Voysey's decorative designs at the Chicago exposition and in the pages of several journals, there is no direct evidence in their own work that they were specifically affectedby it. All that one can say is that the Midwestern Prairie architect did feel a strong kinship with the English Arts and Crafts Movement and its exponents, as opposed to Paris and the Beaux Arts, and certainly did keep abreastof what was published in the English art and architectural magazines. George Grant Elmslie, who worked closely with Sullivan for many years, once remarked that while Adler and Sullivan (and later Sullivan alone) received The British Architect, was seldom it looked at, while on the other hand, The Studio (or its American version, International Studio)was received with enthusiasm.22 The Studio, then, unquestionably provides the major link between England and America.

After 1901, the presentation of the ideas and products of the English Arts and Crafts Movement was supplemented by the United States publication, The Craftsman (19O1-1917), edited by Gustav Stickley.

Voysey's work was illustrated in The Studio, but neither as extensively nor as often as one would have thought; for while his furnitureand decorative arts were well presented, it was not until 1894 that one of his architectural designs was published. It was not until 1897 that his architecture received any extensive coverage, and no other buildings of his were illustrated in The Studio until I905.

Source: David Gebhard, C. F. A. Voysey- to and from America Author(s): Source: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Dec., 1971), page 307.

The American monthly periodical, International Studio -- v.1 1897-v.99 1931 -- is patterned on its London-based model, The Studio. From its beginning, this upscale magazine included photographs as a regular feature of its articles. The International Studio became a leading influence of aesthetic taste in the early decades of the 20th century, especially as a source for the exciting "new art" from England called Arts and Crafts.

According to the authoriative biographer of Gustav Stickley, David Cathers, Stickley and his designers "must have read the text and examined the many illustrations." like the inlaid cabinet on the left. Not only did these events help generate public interest in the Arts and Crafts movement, but in the next decade, Stickley's periodical, The Craftsman, published articles amateur Woodworkers about, first, how to create a home workshop and, later, in subsequent issues, some projects that amateur could build. For more, read this webpage dedicated to Gustav Stickley.

Source: David Cathers, "In a Higher Plane"; edited by Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry; International Arts and Crafts London: V&A Publications, 2005

Begun in 1896, The House Beautiful grew in impact as an outlet for new styles, including Arts and Crafts. Example: October, 1900, page 653, an .A House Beautiful article about Stickley furniture by Margaret Edgewood -- "Some Simple Furniture" -- describes it as "new in form and color ... made of American wood, designed and executed by American artisans"

Woodworker's Manuals

Click here for a selected and partially annotated list of woodworker's manuals published between 1900 and Before

Week by week, brief notices for new and reissued books published in America  are listed in the Bowker periodical, Publishers Weekly. Begun in 1873,  PW also lists new bookstores and bookstores ceasing operation. Today, over a century later, PW is still being published weekly.

Source: John Tebbel, History of Book Publishing in the United States, NY, Bowker, 1975, v 2, pages 589 and following.

Lippincott, the mainline Philadelphia publisher and important publisher of woodworker's manuals, established a London office in 1875, "to handle its growing import business".

Source: John Tebbel, History of Book Publishing in the United States, NY, Bowker, 1975, v 2, page 284.

For statistics on number of woodworker's manuals published decade by decade, see manuals access page  -- more and more frequently, copies of woodworker's manuals are being digitized and uploaded to the Internet by Google Books.

I try to keep up with these events, and indicate appropriately the titles of woodworker's manuals that can be read on the Web, but it is a large job, so I ask that readers inform me if they encounter web-based manuals.

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