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Baldwin, Billy (30 May 1903–25 November 1983), interior decorator, was born William Williar Baldwin, Jr., in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Baldwin, an insurance executive, and Julia Bartlett. He was brought up in a well-to-do, traditional family in the affluent section of Roland Park. He graduated from the Gilman Country School for Boys, and went on to Princeton University to study architecture. However, he dropped out because he preferred “spending time in New York at museums and galleries and [doing] things” ( ...

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Buckland, William (14 August 1734–Nov. or Dec. 1774), craftsman, designer, and architect, was born in Oxford, England, the son of Francis Buckland, a small property-owning farmer, and Mary Dunsdown. On 5 April 1748 he was apprenticed for a term of seven years to a London joiner, James Buckland, who may have been his uncle. Joinery, the craft of smoothly fitting together small pieces of wood, was taught according to rules and standards established by a trade organization, which was organized along the lines of a traditional medieval guild. In eighteenth-century England formal academic architectural training was absent, and it was primarily out of the ranks of the building trades that ambitious men, armed with drawing skills, rose to claim the title of architect....

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Colman, Samuel (04 March 1832–27 March 1920), painter and decorative artist, was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Samuel Colman, a publisher, and Pamela Chandler. By 1839 Colman’s father had established himself as a successful bookseller and publisher in New York City. The source of Colman’s artistic education is unclear; however, he is said to have studied, or at least sketched, with the Hudson River School painter ...

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de Wolfe, Elsie (20 December 1865–12 July 1950), actress and interior decorator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Stephen de Wolfe, a physician, and Georgina Copeland. She was baptized Ella Anderson de Wolfe. Her father had been raised in Nova Scotia and educated at the University of Pennsylvania; her mother, also reared in Canada, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Elsie attended private schools in New York until the age of fourteen and was then sent to Scotland to finish her education under the tutelage of her mother’s cousin, Dr. Archibald Charteris. Owing to Charteris’s connection to royal circles, she was presented to Queen Victoria and London society at age seventeen, an unusual honor then for an American girl. This experience focused her vision of life on elegance, refinement, fashion, and good taste....

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Deskey, Donald (23 November 1894–29 April 1989), industrial and interior designer, was born in Blue Earth, Minnesota, the son of Robert Deskey, a German immigrant and proprietor of a dry goods and clothing store, and Fannie Katsky. In 1912, after graduating from high school, he left rural Minnesota and moved to California. During the following three years he worked at a variety of jobs, including bartending, drafting, and surveying. Beginning in 1915 he also attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied architecture and painting. He left college in 1917 to enlist in the army, but at the end of the war he resumed his peregrinations in the West. In 1920 he began a career in advertising and publicity in Chicago, and the following year he moved to New York, where despite meager resources he opened a successful advertising agency....

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Draper, Dorothy (22 November 1889–10 March 1969), interior decorator and columnist, was born in Tuxedo Park, New York, the daughter of Paul Tuckerman and Susan Minturn. She grew up in the environs of New York in an exclusive resort community where her parents were among the founding members in 1886. Educated primarily at home with a governess and tutor, her formal schooling was minimal, including two years at the Brearley School, a private girls’ school in New York City. Annual trips to Europe gave her a cosmopolitan exposure to the world, and she was presented at Sherry’s in 1907. Although she did not have any academic design training, her background and upbringing among the elite families of the Northeast contributed to her subsequent success as a decorator. She had complete confidence in her taste, and her social connections proved to be important in acquiring future clientele....

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See Herter, Gustave

Article

Catherine Hoover Voorsanger

Herter, Gustave (14 May 1830–29 November 1898), and Christian Herter (08 January 1839–02 November 1883), craftsmen, were born in Stuttgart, Germany, the sons of Johanna Christiana Maria Barbara Hagenlocher and Christian Herter, a cabinetmaker and woodworker.

Gustave’s full name at birth was Julius Gustav Alexander Hagenlocher; his mother was unmarried at the time. When she married Christian Herter, Sr., he adopted Gustave, who eventually added the extra letter to his first name. Gustave immigrated to New York in 1848 at the age of eighteen, renounced his German citizenship two years later, and quickly distinguished himself among a burgeoning population of immigrant craftsmen. Although unsubstantiated, it is said that he was employed by Tiffany, Young & Ellis as a silver designer until 1851. He then established a short-lived cabinetmaking concern, called Herter, Pottier & Co., with a young French émigré craftsman named Auguste Pottier; this partnership lasted only until 1853. Concurrently, Herter seems to have been associated with Erastus Bulkley, a well-established New York cabinetmaker, and from 1853 until 1858 their firm, Bulkley & Herter, is listed in the local directories. From 1854 the firm was located at 547 Broadway, then at the heart of the carriage trade, an address at which Herter remained until 1869....

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La Farge, John Frederick Lewis Joseph (31 March 1835–14 November 1910), artist and writer, was born in New York City, the son of John Frederick La Farge, a French émigré, and Louisa Josephine Binsse de Saint-Victor, the daughter of French émigrés. La Farge was raised near Washington Square in New York. His father’s success in real estate provided a prosperous home environment. Surrounded by books and fine art, La Farge learned early in life to appreciate his French Catholic heritage. At age six, he took drawing lessons from his maternal grandfather, Louis Binsse de Saint-Victor, a successful miniaturist. Later, at Columbia Grammar School in New York City, La Farge learned to paint with watercolors in the English manner....

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Lathrop, Francis Augustus (22 June 1849–18 October 1909), artist and decorator, was born at sea two days’ sail from the Sandwich Islands, the son of George Alfred Lathrop, a physician, and Frances M. Smith. When Francis was born the Lathrops were heading to Hawaii, where Dr. Lathrop, later a U.S. consul to Honolulu, became administrator of the Marine Hospital. In 1858 the family moved back to the mainland, settling in New York. Francis subsequently attended Columbia Grammar School, and in 1863 he began studying with the American Pre-Raphaelite painter Thomas Charles Farrer....

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Marcotte, Léon Alexandre (15 May 1824–25 January 1887), cabinetmaker and interior decorator, was born in Valognes, Manche, France, the son of Pierre Alexandre Marcotte, a lawyer, and Mélanie Julie Ringuet. He was educated as an architect at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and trained in the studio of Henri Labrouste, who designed the Bibliotheque Ste. Geneviève in Paris. Marcotte had been introduced into the world of cabinetmaking by the time that his sister married the Parisian ...

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Reiss, Winold Fritz (16 September 1886–29 August 1953), portrait painter, illustrator, and interior designer, was born in Karlsrühe, Germany, the son of Fritz Mahler Reiss, a landscape painter and portraitist; his mother’s name is not known. His early training with his father was followed by enrolling in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was influenced by Franz von Stuck, who also taught Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Later Reiss enrolled in the School of Applied Arts, where he learned commercial design skills. While at the School of Applied Arts, he met and married fellow art student Henrietta Lüthy. From his classes and the exhibitions of Die Brücke and Der Bläue Reiter, Reiss synthesized elements of cubism, fauvism, and jungendstil into his own work....

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Louis C. Tiffany Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115996).

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Tiffany, Louis Comfort (18 February 1848–17 January 1933), artist and decorator, was born in New York City, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the jewelry and silver firm Tiffany & Company, and Harriet Olivia Young. Tiffany was educated in boarding schools, first at the Flushing Academy on Long Island and later at the Eagleswood Military Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. At the age of eighteen, following a trip to Europe, Tiffany decided to pursue a career as an artist and attended the National Academy of Design for one year. He also received private instruction at the Washington Square studio of landscape painter ...

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Tillinghast, Mary Elizabeth (31 December 1845–15 December 1912), artist and decorator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Phillip Tillinghast, a merchant, and Julia Anna Cozzens Titus. Around age nine, Tillinghast moved with her parents and six siblings from Manhattan to Orange, New Jersey. In 1867, following the birth of three more children, the family returned to New York. The Tillinghasts were wealthy and socially prominent; Mary was privately educated by a tutor at home. Her parents recognized her artistic proclivities and sent her abroad in 1872 for formal training. Tillinghast studied in Paris with Carolus-Duran and Jean Jacques Henner. She stayed there for six years, returning to New York in 1878....

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Wheeler, Candace Thurber (24 March 1827–05 August 1923), textile designer and interior decorator, was born in Delhi, New York, the daughter of Abner Thurber, a dairy farmer, and Lucy Dunham. Educated at home and at the Delaware Academy in Delhi, she married Thomas M. Wheeler, a shipowner, on 28 June 1844 and lived in Brooklyn and New York City most of her life....