Wallace Nutting and the Invention of Old America

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Yale University Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
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For devotees of American decorative arts, Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) needs little introduction. A Congregational minister turned author, photographer, and wildly successful entrepreneur, Nutting was the principal authority on early American furniture for much of the twentieth century and played an important role in the development of a colonial revival aesthetic and ideology. He collected, reproduced, and marketed colonial artifacts, and the goods and experiences he offered his middle-class customers promoted his idealized notion of a time and place that he called "Old America." This handsomely illustrated book is the first full-length study of Nutting's life and work. Thomas Andrew Denenberg describes Nutting's interrelated endeavors, from his varied writings (including Furniture of the Pilgrim Century and the monumental three-volume Furniture Treasury) to his photography (both amateur and professional), chain of restored museum houses, renowned collection of seventeenth-century furniture, reproduction colonial furniture business, and advertising program. By charting Nutting's activities, Denenberg creates a picture of an influential cultural critic who deftly combined myth and materialism, contributing significantly to both the growth of consumerism and the development of an antimodern worldview in the twentieth-century United States.
 

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Wallace Nutting and the invention of old America

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Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) climbed the ladder of success from Rockbottom (a small town in Massachusetts) to being the Martha Stewart of his time. Ordained as a Congregational minister, he ... Read full review

Contents

Spinsters Widows and a Minister
23
MiddleClass Art or The Expansible Old America
45
Picture Houses Period Rooms and Print
87
Chapters Pilgrim Furniture of the Modern Century
123
Beauty Construction and Style
153
Contemporary Ancestors
171
Waiting for the Auto to Pass
185
Selected Bibliography
217
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