Quantity: 1 available
Book Condition: very good
Not dated (assembled c. 1960s). Light blue card stock binder with three round-head brass fasteners, with the 1960s American Seating logo printed on the front cover, contents written on the front cover in pencil, 22 by 29 cm, with 46 glossy black and white photographs and 2 more photographs laid in, approx. 21 by 25.5 cm ea. Condition of the images ranges from near fine with only faint corner wear to fair with small edge tears and chipping. The binder is fair with edge and corner wear, small tears, and creases, and there is a layer of tape over the brass fasteners. An impressive collection of gelatin silver photographs from American Seating’s carving and church division. The well-known office furniture company American Seating was founded in New York in 1906, and eventually moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan – Furniture City – by 1906.1 “Probably the names most associated with American Seating,” in the words of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission,2 “were the master carvers in its Church Division. Alois Lang, who learned woodcarving in his hometown of Oberammergau, Bavaria, began in the American School Furniture Company carving studios in 1902. Joseph F. Wolters, who began as an apprentice carver in Germany, came to American Seating’s Church Division in 1923. Both were known for their carved statuary, plaques, and architectural details, including ‘Last Supper’ altar pieces, memorials, and special commissions that grace many churches and public buildings throughout West Michigan and the nation.” The photographs, which include three images of Joseph Wolters, include shots of carved altars, wall and ceiling panels, baptismal font covers, statues, and many carved images of Jesus, as well as three non-religious carvings, the U.S. presidential coat of arms, an unidentified coat of arms, an image of Wolters working on the unidentified arms, and a carved panel of Arthur Hendrick Vandenburg, U.S. Senator from Michigan from 1928 until his death in 1951.3 Most of the images have either no text on the verso, or some sort of typed product code (for example, 12,341 CC 553). Ten of the images have hand-written or typed notations on the verso from simple descriptions like “Christ overlooking Chicago,” or with a bit more detail, “St. Mark’s Pro Cathedral / Hastings, Nebraska / Cram & Ferguson, Archts. / Boston, Massachusetts / Manufactured by American Seating Company / Grand Rapids, Mich.” One image has a sketch of a ceiling decoration in blue ballpoint. Of those marked, the cities include churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Detroit; Hastings, Nebraska; Camden, Maine; Springfield, Illinois; and Chicago. All but one of the images, which is stamped “Tribune Photocraft / Hastings, Nebraska,” appear to be in-house promotional photographs. While the logo on the binder dates to the 1960s,4 the photographs are certainly much earlier.
Title: Carvings, Statues, Plaques, Furniture from Carving Studios of American Seating Co. [Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wood Carving, Furniture Making, American Ecclesiastical Carving]
Publisher: Grand Rapids, Michigan, American Seating: nd
Book Condition: very good
Item: 1.00 Item
Seller ID: 3703