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Preliminary Reflections About Gustav Stickley And The American Arts & Crafts Movement  (2010) by Kevin W. Tucker et al

I found particularly interesting in one of this books's essays, "Gustav Stickley At Home" by Beth and Tommy McPherson, the statement that some of Stickley's employees stopped working for him because they felt betrayed. Although I have been reading about the American Arts and Crafts movement and Stickley for many years, I had not previously encountered that idea and therefore looked up its citation in the end notes. I was surprised -- actually more like shocked -- to read that the source of that idea was my book, Reconfiguring Harvey Ellis (2004); however, departing from standard bibliographic protocol, no specific page was cited. No doubt that would be because nowhere in my book can that statement be found. I am mystified that this citation of my book is false and that another one, in the essay "Art From Industry: The Evolution of Craftsman Furniture" by the often verbose Kevin W. Tucker, too eagerly dismisses in just forty-one words the reasons for my conclusion, presented six years ago in an entire chapter, that Harvey Ellis did not design the furniture for Stickley then commonly attributed to him. Such stunningly simplistic brevity of course distorts my scholasrhip. That Ellis was a furniture designer for Stickley is a concept that was launched about thirty years ago. It prevailed until recently in many commercial, collecting and curatorial circles but is now being modified in those same circles to point to LaMont Warner as the designer of certain items previously unequivocally ascribed solely to Ellis, a posibility I also suggested. Another theory also has recently emerged, namely that Warner and Ellis worked together as a team to co-design these items. No documentation has been offered to support this new idea. Chapter 14 in Reconfiging Harvey Ellis, pp. 305-21, and an older post in this blog, "Furniture Designs for Gustav Stickley?", address in detail the issue of whether or not Ellis designed furniture for Stickley.

....find more information in Reconfiguring Harvey Ellis

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Reconfiguring Harvey Ellis
Beaver's Pond Press (Minneapolis, Minn.: 2004)
9x12 hard cover, 364 pages, 245 b&w and 43 color illustrations, $70
Find details of the contents at
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© Eileen Manning Michels December, 2010