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How an American Father and Son Changed the Printing Industry
The ease with which we can choose a typeface today from a plethora of options to fit a particular need is something we may take for granted, but it is possible only because of the tremendous amount of labor and ingenuity that came before. The story of the lives and work of Linn Boyd Benton and Morris Fuller Benton is an important chapter in the history of type, recalling a time in American history when men quietly worked at developing and improving mechanical technologies that they thought would continue evolving incrementally into the future.
The traditional costumes worn by people in the Andes—women’s woolen skirts, men’s ponchos, woven belts, and white felt hats—instantly identify them as natives of the region and serve as revealing markers of ethnicity, social class, gender, age, and so on. Because costume expresses so much, scholars study it to learn how the indigenous people of the Andes have identified themselves over time, as well as how others have identified and influenced them. Costume and History in Highland Ecuador assembles for the first time for any Andean country the evidence for indigenous costume from the entire chronological range of prehistory and history. The contributors glean a remarkable amount of information from pre-Hispanic ceramics and textile tools, archaeological textiles from the Inca empire in Peru, written accounts from the colonial period, nineteenth-century European-style pictorial representations, and twentieth-century textiles in museum collections. Their findings reveal that several garments introduced by the Incas, including men’s tunics and women’s wrapped dresses, shawls, and belts, had a remarkable longevity. They also demonstrate that the hybrid poncho from Chile and the rebozo from Mexico diffused in South America during the colonial period, and that the development of the rebozo in particular was more interesting and complex than has previously been suggested. The adoption of Spanish garments such as the pollera (skirt) and man’s shirt were also less straightforward and of more recent vintage than might be expected.
In this masterful intellectual and cultural biography of Denman Ross (1853-1935), the American design theorist, educator, art collector, and painter who taught at Harvard for over 25 years, Marie Frank has produced a significant artistic resurrection. An important regional figure in Boston's fine arts scene (he remains one of the largest single donors to the collections of the MFA to this day), Ross was a friend and colleague of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bernard Berenson, Jay Hambidge, and others. He gained national and international renown with his design theory, which ushered in a shift from John Ruskin's romantic naturalism to the formalist aesthetic that characterizes modern art and architecture. Ross's theory attracted artists, Arts and Crafts artisans, and architects, and helped shape architectural education, scholarship, and museum practices. This biography of an important intellectual figure is also a fascinating and illuminating guide to a pivotal point in American cultural history and a reminder of the days when Boston was America's salon.
A Design History
Graceland Cemetery in Chicago was founded in 1860 and developed over several decades by a series of landscape gardeners whose reputations today figure among the most important in the field. An exemplar of the rural cemetery type, Graceland was Chicago’s answer to its eastern counterparts, Mount Auburn in Cambridge and Laurel Hill in Philadelphia. While the initial layout of the cemetery was the work of William Saunders, designer of Laurel Hill, the cemetery is most often associated with a later style of design that featured exclusive use of native plants. Graceland was considered one of the most perfect expressions of this design approach, hailed as the most “modern” cemetery in existence and “the admiration of the world.” In this book, Christopher Vernon carefully recovers the history of Graceland and the many hands that helped to shape its influential layout. Following Saunders’s work, a succession of individuals contributed to the long evolution of Graceland’s landscape, including H. W. S. Cleveland, William Le Baron Jenney, and O. C. Simonds. In recent years, renewed interest in native plants and principles associated with the Prairie School of landscape design has led to a focus on Simonds’s contributions. While Vernon discusses Simonds’s work, he also considers the work of the cemetery’s other designers. Known as the “Cemetery of Architects” because so many notable ones are buried there, Graceland remains a heavily visited attraction. This richly illustrated book helps readers understand how the influential and still beautiful landscape was developed over many generations, casting new light on the careers of several important landscape architects.
In eighteenth-century America, fashion served as a site of contests over various forms of gendered power. Here, Kate Haulman explores how and why fashion--both as a concept and as the changing style of personal adornment--linked gender relations, social order, commerce, and political authority during a time when traditional hierarchies were in flux. In the see-and-be-seen port cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, fashion, a form of power and distinction, was conceptually feminized yet pursued by both men and women across class ranks. Haulman shows that elite men and women in these cities relied on fashion to present their status but also attempted to undercut its ability to do so for others. Disdain for others' fashionability was a means of safeguarding social position in cities where the modes of dress were particularly fluid and a way to maintain gender hierarchy in a world in which women's power as consumers was expanding. Concerns over gendered power expressed through fashion in dress, Haulman reveals, shaped the revolutionary-era struggles of the 1760s and 1770s, influenced national political debates, and helped to secure the exclusions of the new political order.