“Home reflects character.  More, it moulds character. Home is the image of thought, exposed, inviting the gaze of the world.  As your home is, so are you.  Then make your home as you want to be—in good taste, dignified, ennobling, to be admired” (Building with Assurance, 1921).  
The dream of home ownership has been a constant in the American psyche for more than a century; this selection of house plan booklets from the 1890s to the 1950s demonstrates how diversely that dream has been realised, mirroring the profound changes in the lifestyle of the American middle class.  We hope that you will enjoy browsing this catalogue, poring over different versions of the American dream.



    Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1856. Agriculture.                   Cottages of England. Water-Colours by Helen Allingham.                   This is Paris.                    Bismark Ein Weltroman in bier Banden.


Marlborough Square in the Beautiful Wilshire DistrictSOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT 1900 to 1935

Fueled by Southern California’s unabated growth in population, the maps in the present collection reflect the real estate boom unfolding in the 1920s. Los Angeles, in particular, was viewed as a land of limitless opportunity. For the city’s elite, wealth had been created in a variety of ways: manufacturing, surface transportation, publishing, the film industry, oil, and of course real estate. With prosperity and the growth in population came the creation of new, vigorously marketed, subdivisions: Palos Verdes, the Hollywood Hills, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, the Wilshire District, etc. Similar transformations brought about by real estate development were unfolding throughout Southern California, but the heady prospects of the 1920s (and with them various grandiose real estate ventures) came to a sudden end with the economic collapse of 1929. However, during the prime years of growth and prosperity there was, as one prospectus proclaimed, "Big Lot Demand" with "Monster Gains" to be made in real estate. The following listing reflects, through an engaging collection of real estate maps (many with notations regarding price etc.), the growth of Los Angeles and other areas of Southern California during the roaring twenties.

We've been cataloguing antique botanical prints to celebrate the Spring to Summer feeling that we have in Portland this week!  Included in the list are aselection of very modestly priced 18th century French botanical engravings from the Encyclopedie Methodique, which are exquisitely printed on a rag laid paper.

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Story Map of the United States of America - Colortext Publications

Here at one of our special interests is the revival of decorative mapmaking in the twentieth century.  It's surprising and frustrating how difficult it is to find information on the artists and publishers of these wonderful graphics.  So we're asking for leads to pursue in gathering information on a Chicago depression-era firm that issued a number of engaging and, at times, astonishing, pictorial maps, Colortext Publications.  Read here a short article on what owner and researcher Craig Clinton has learned to date.