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Distributed for The Grolier Club

Selling the Dwelling

The Books That Built America’s Houses, 1775–2000

With Selling the Dwelling: The Books That Built America’s Houses, Richard W. Cheek has assembled more than 200 rare books, periodicals, drawings, and printed ephemera documenting the history of the American dream of home ownership. Beginning in 1775, with George Bell’s reproduction of Abraham Swan’s The British Architect, the catalogue, which supported the eponymous Grolier Club exhibition, proceeds chronologically, covering such developments as the post-Civil War explosion of architectural book publishing, the growing importance of magazines like House Beautiful in the 1880s, the precut homes produced by Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, the post-World War II home-building boom, the rapid changes to the literature of house building after 1970, and the significance of the Internet, which offered CD-ROMS in place of printed catalogues. Throughout, Cheek highlights the more visually arresting and socially compelling examples of this genre, focusing on books that reveal the character of our country as much as they do the style of our houses.

288 pages | 735 color plates | 9 x 12

Architecture: American Architecture, History of Architecture

Reference and Bibliography

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Table of Contents

Collector’s Perspective and Acknowledgements
The First American Architectural Books: Builders Guides in the New Republic
Honoring the Democratic Ideal: The Heyday of the Greek Revival
Popular Taste Making: Pattern Books and Gothic Fantasies
Optimism and Mid-Century: Every Man Can Build His House
Big Firms, Big Sales: Marketing House Plans to the Nation
Passion for the Past: The Colonial Revival Begins
Mansions for Millionaires: Beaux Arts Country Houses, 1890-1930
Smaller Homes for the Millions: Plans by Mail or Houses by Rail
Bungalows: Artful Houses for the Common Man
The Homes We Fought For: Modern or Traditional?
More Developments, Fewer Designs: The Demise of the House Plan Book
Illustration Sources, Additional Resources, and Bibliography

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