This lavishly illustrated book first appeared thirty-five years ago and remains the most complete and authoritative work on the subject of furniture making in America’s heartland. While the scope of the book covers the entire 150 years from Chicago’s founding to 1983, perhaps its most interesting chapters deal with the period of the Arts and Crafts Movement (chapter 13), mission furniture (chapter 14), prairie school furniture (chapter 15), and “modern” furniture (chapter 16).
Noted author and scholar Sharon Darling thoroughly covers Chicago’s preeminent role in the evolution of American decorative arts, including the English antecedents to the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Gustav Stickley and Chicago’s Tobey Furniture Company, the Chicago’s Arts & Crafts Society, Hull House and the settlement house movement, Chicago’s many guilds and workshops, mission furniture makers George Clingman (Tobey Furniture Company), J.S. Ford, Johnson & Co. and Karpen & Bros. and many others, Oscar Lovell Triggs (early contributor to Stickley’s The Craftsman magazine), architects and furniture designers G.W. Maher, Purcell & Elmslie, and of course Frank Lloyd Wright. Obviously Chicago had a lot going on in the last century, and this book tells it all very well. You will want to read it and then refer to it often as an invaluable reference.