AN AMERICAN OAK BOOK CABINET FROM THE PERSONAL LIBRARY OF EDWARD S. CURTIS, BUILT TO HOLD THE VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTAL FOLIOS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN
AN AMERICAN OAK BOOK CABINET FROM THE PERSONAL LIBRARY OF EDWARD S. CURTIS, BUILT TO HOLD THE VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTAL FOLIOS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN

STICKLEY BROTHERS, GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, EARLY 20TH CENTURY

Details
AN AMERICAN OAK BOOK CABINET FROM THE PERSONAL LIBRARY OF EDWARD S. CURTIS, BUILT TO HOLD THE VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTAL FOLIOS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN
STICKLEY BROTHERS, GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, EARLY 20TH CENTURY
55 ¾ in. (141.6 cm.) high, 47 3/8 in. (120.3 cm.) wide, 19 ¾ in. (50.1 cm.) deep
Provenance
Marah Ellis Ryan (c. 1866–1934);
gifted by the above to Edward S. Curtis (1858–1952), c. 1930;
acquired from the above by the artist's daughter, Beth Curtis Magnuson, 1935;
acquired from the family of the above by the present owner, 1980.

Brought to you by

Shlomi Rabi
Shlomi Rabi

Lot Essay

In the March 1906 issue of The Craftsman magazine, an article about Edward S. Curtis's work appeared. The editor of the magazine at the time was the notable advocate of the Arts & Crafts movement, Gustav Stickley, oldest of the Stickley brothers. Gustav was an admirer of Curtis' work and so it is likely that he wrote the piece himself. Later, at some point during the making of Curtis' monumental North American Indian project (1907–1930), the photographer started advertising a cabinet designed by the Stickley Brothers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, a company started by Gustav's brothers Albert and John George (see Fig. 1). The cabinet would be custom-made to hold the full set of books and portfolios and was apparently available in two versions: a larger cabinet as well as a smaller 'more compact' version. The copy for the advertisement was as follows:

'A book and folio cabinet to hold the volumes and supplemental folios of "The North American Indian."

The centre space of the cabinet contains the twenty portfolios, each on a separate shelf, giving easy access to the material. The side wings of the case give three book compartments on either side, furnishing ample space for four volumes in each, thus containing the complete work, and furnishing room for other volumes of like size. Many subscribers to the work will use this space for a scrapbook containing references to the work, and such fragmentary material as has a direct bearing on the subject. The cabinet is small, considering the material contained, its sloping side panels give splendid lines, and it is a well-made, beautiful piece of furniture, suitable for either the city residence, the bungalow, or the public library. It is from the shop of Stickley Brothers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The dimensions are forty-eight inches by fifty-eight inches, and it can be had in either mahogany or oak. Mr. Curtis will gladly act as the subscriber's agent in securing one of these cabinets...'

This particular cabinet was gifted to Curtis by the writer Marah Ellis Ryan. She and Curtis were both ardent supporters of causes for indigenous peoples of the Americas and had become close friends. Curtis supplied the illustrations for one of her books, The Flute of the Gods (New York & Toronto, 1909). Shortly before Ryan’s death in 1934, she gifted both this cabinet and a set of The North American Indian to the photographer.

?

More from Photographs

View All
View All