Turcoman Portieres and Arabia's Sweetest Perfumes:
The Turkish Style in American Middle-Class Interiors, 1890-1930
Karina Helen Hiltje Corrigan
The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
Presented to the faculties
of the University of Pennsylvania
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Science
Gail Caskey_Winkler, Lecturer in Historic Preservation, Advisor
Professor in Historic Preservation, Reader
David G. De Long, Professor of Architecture, Graduate Group Chair
Preface i v
List of Illustrations v
Chapter 1: The Grand Tour and the "Streets of Cairo"
Nineteenth-Century Perceptions of the Near East
Travel Literature 4
The World's Columbian Exposition 11
International Pavilions 14
The Midway Plaisance 15
Chapter Two: Furnishings in the Turkish Style
Ottomans and Hassocks 26
Tabouret Tables 27
Latticework Grilles 29
Narghiles and Smoking Alcoves 30
Turkish Baths 32
Turkish Tufting and Upholstered Seating 36
Chapter 3: Textiles and Carpets in the Turkish Style
Cosy Corners 39
Divan and Couch Covers 49
Oriental Rugs 50
John Stephenson's Drapers' Catalogue: 1913 and 1926 54
The Demise of the Cosy Corner 56
Chapter Four: A "Fabulous Secret Room"
The Moorish Study of Dr. Joseph Jastrow 59
Tim Marr offered a host of thoughts on the subject of Orientalism and
reassured me that this topic was not completely absurd. Jane Bowerfind has
earned my eternal thanks. Her clear guidance allowed this thesis to be
completed only slightly off course. Without her, it surely would never have
been finished. My sister, Caitlin Corrigan has earned special recognition for
her willingness to proofread when she would have preferred to surf.
Spiritual and financial support for this thesis was provided by my remarkable
and loving parents. They deserve particular thanks for trying so hard not to
nag. I hope that they are ready for another round!
Dr. Roger W. Moss has assisted with this thesis at nearly every step of
its progress. The resources of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia were
invaluable and his willingness to read this thesis amidst the heat wave of
1995 should not go unnoticed. I would especially like to thank my advisor,
Gail Caskey Winkler, whose intellect is astounding and laughter is
contagious. Whatever is useful or intriguing within this thesis is due to her
patience, generosity, and support. Drs. Winkler and Moss encouraged my
first tentative steps into the world of Material Culture, the study of which I
hope will last a lifetime.
The Middle East the Far East, and South Asia are the design sources
incorporated into the exotic Islamic style, also known as the Moorish style, a
nineteenth-century trend in American and European homes. I have limited
the study for this thesis to American manifestations of Middle Eastern, more
specifically Turkish design. Both the cosy corner and the smoking alcove, two
key elements of this thesis, had direct connections to Turkey in the minds of
nineteenth-century Americans. Consequently, I have chosen to refer to the
trend discussed herein as the 'Turkish style."
I examined trade catalogues, travel literature, postcards, contemporary
newspaper articles, and magazines directed at middle-income families while
researching this thesis. Wanting a body of evidence that followed middle-
class design tastes throughout the period, I turned to the mail order
catalogues which debuted at the end of the nineteenth century. I chose to
examine the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogues from 1896 to 1940.
Known as the "Wish Book," the Sears catalogue advertised inexpensive and
sought after merchandise through the mail for middle-income Americans.
The Sears catalogue was chosen in favor of the Montgomery, Ward catalogue
and other nineteenth-century mail order catalogues because the Free Library
of Philadelphia has a complete run of the Sears catalogue on microfilm.
1.1 John Frederick Lewis, The Siesta 75
1.2 Moorish Women taking a Walk 75
1.3 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Odalisque 76
1.4 Women (young girls) at Home 77
1.5 Femme Arabe dans son Interieur 78
1.6 Arabian Woman with a Yachmak 79
1.7 The Central Basin at the World's Columbian Exposition 80
1.8 Map of the World's Columbian Exposition 81
1.9 The Turkish Building at the World's Columbian Expostion 80
1.10 The Midway, Looking East from the Ferris Wheel 82
1.11 The Turkish Bazaar at the World's Columbian Exposition 82
1.12 Elia Souhami Sadullah's Concession at the Exposition 83
1.13 The "Streets of Cairo" at the World's Columbian Exposition 83
1.14 Daily Wedding Procession on the "Streets of Cairo" 84
1.15 The Ottoman Hippodrome at the World's Columbian Exposition 85
1.16 Turkish Guard in customary pose at the Exposition 85
2.1 Turkish Lounge, circa 1910 86
2.2 Hassocks and Ottomans 86
2.3 Belle Fatma 87
2.4 Jardinier Stand (Sears) 88
2.5 "Artistic Grilles" (Sears) 88
2.6 Alcove showing grilles in doorway and window 89
2.7 Turkish Water Pipe, (Sears) 90
2.8 Smoking Jackets 91
2.9 Turkish Towels (Sears) 92
2.10 Turkish Bath (Sears) 93
2.11 Turkish Parlor Suite (Sears) 93
2.12 Turkish frame sofa, displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition 94
2.13 Turkish leather chair 94
3.1 The Poire ts' 1002nd night party 95
3.2 A Coy Comer (Morrison) %
3.3 Parlor in the John Cvirtis house, 1910 - prior to renovations 97
3.4 Parlor in the John Curti house, 1910 - addition of a cosy comer 97
3.5 A Cosy Comer (Milhau) 98
3.6 Mrs. Hughes' Turkish Cosy Corner 99
3.7 A Cosy Corner (Streitenfeld) 100
3.8 Portieres (Sears) 101
3.9 Bagdad Curtains 101
3.10 Rope Portieres 102
3.11 Turkish Couch Cover, circa 1910 102
3.12 Artloom Tapestry Curtains 103
3.13 Waverly Wilton Rugs 104
3.14 Temple Brussels Rugs 105
3.15 Smyrna Rugs, 1897 106
4.1 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study, 1954 107
4.2 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study, 1954 108
4.3 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study, 1961 109
4.4 Joseph Jastrow's Study, 1954 110
4.5 Joseph Jastrow's Study, 1961 111
"The Eternal East," as the Near East was often coined in the
nineteenth century, conjured up images of turbaned men smoking
hashish in hookahs and their many wives lounging on divans, gazing
longingly out of the latticed windows of harems. Westerners were
enchanted with the Near East and the seemingly languorous lifestyle of all
its inhabitants. This fascination with Eastern life led many Westerners to
incorporate furnishings and textiles reminiscent of Middle-Eastern
interiors into their homes. Most design histories regard the Turkish craze
of the 1880s and 1890s in the United States and Europe as one of the many
fashion phases of Victorians' fickle tastes, overlooking the fact that many
American middle-income families maintained a fascination with this
style until well into the 1930s. ^
Like nearly all design trends, the Turkish style emerged among the
upper echelons of American and European society. Traveling between
Europe and the Middle East became easier in the early decades of the
nineteenth century and by the 1850's, wealthy Americans were visiting the
Near East in larger numbers. Visitors brought back rugs, tabouret tables,
narghiles, and elaborately embroidered fabrics to the fashionable parlors
and smoking rooms of their families and friends. ^ Frederick Edwin
^Katherine Grier discussed the upholstered Turkish furnishings of both elaborate and
simple American parlors in her book. Culture and Comfort: People, Parlors, and Upholstery
1850-1930. published in 1988.
^Amanda Lange examined how the American elite used these souvenirs to replicate their
image of the East in her 1990 Winterthur thesis, The Islamic Taste in American Domestic
Church's home, Olana, in Hudson, New York is perhaps the most famous
American building in the exotic Islamic style. Built between 1870 and 187^
Olana was the first American home designed in this style on both the
interior and the exterior. Although the house was based on a Beaux- Arts
plan, the exterior was ornamented with Moorish arches and mosaics.
Church filled the interior with Turkish portieres and smoldering mosque
lanterns. Jay Gould and Frederick Lautenberg, both from prominent New
York families, also incorporated elaborate elements of the exotic Islamic
style in their homes.3
Powerful and wealthy people like Gould, Lautenberg and Church
were at the pinnacle of American society during the nineteenth century
and their luscious interiors were often carefully documented through
descriptions and photographs. Modest American interiors were less
consciously documented, but surviving photographs of late nineteenth
and early twentieth-century middle-class interiors reveal that many
contained elements of Turkish design. The depth and length of this
design trend becomes more apparent when exanuning the mail order
catalogues and prescriptive design literature of the period. Magazines like
Art Amateur and Household News, which were written for women
managing households on a limited budget, published articles on
"Oriental" interiors in nearly every issue at the end of the century. These
articles and the availability of Near Eastern-inspired objects in the
catalogues of Sears, Roebuck and Company until the 1930s reveal a
•'Joseph Byron photographed these and other New York interiors at the end of the
nineteenth century. His collection is now housed at the Museum of the City of New York.
previously underestimated American fascination for all things Eastern in
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The World's Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893
introduced tremendous numbers of Americans to the Near East at the
exhibits on the Midway Plaisance. Chapter One explores the relationship
between mid-nineteenth century travel accounts of the Near East and the
journey that many less affluent Americans took half a century later to the
"Streets of Cairo" and the "Turkish Bazaar" at the Columbian Exposition."^
Chapters Two and Three focus specifically on the marufestations of this
style in furniture and in textiles and carpets. Chapter Four addresses a
uruque Moorish interior, the jewel box of a study which Joseph Jastrow, a
professor at the University of Wisconsin, constructed in the attic of his
home from 1910 to 1928.
"^The centennial of the Ex]X)sition encouraged the publication of many histories of the Fair.
Contesting Images: Photography and the World's Columbian Exposition, by Julie Brown
was particularly helpful for my research, as was Constructing the Fair: Platinum
Photographs by CD. Arnold of the World's Columbian Exposition, by Peter B. Hales.
THE GRAND TOUR AND THE "STREETS OF CAIRO"
Nineteenth-Century Perceptions of the Near East
Western visitors to the Near East were not unheard of in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but as travel in the region became
increasingly safe and less arduous, members of affluent families in Europe
and the United States began including Egj^t, Palestine, and Turkey on
their list of Grand Tour destinations. After the mid-1860's, Turkish cosy
corners and Islamicized smoking alcoves were added to upper-class parlors
to reflect these visits.
Travelers brought home with them stories of the enchanted East
and exotic souverurs as testimony to their adventures. Amateur and
professional artists frequently documented their travels with sketches and
paintings. During the second half of the century, photographs documented
life in Constantinople and Cairo with increased detail. The plethora of
nineteenth-century books chronicling travel in the Near East might lead
one to believe that every Western visitor to Constantinople felt compelled
to reveal to the rest of the world the story of his or her journey to the East.
The demand for these accounts encouraged their staggering publication
If a traveling party to the Near East were fortunate enough to
include women who were granted entrance into a harem, any accounts of
the journey would naturally include a description of the interior and the
odalisques who inhabited it. The lure of the harems was so great that
most travel accounts included some description of life within them, even
if the writer lacked first-hand knowledge. Turkish baths were only slightly
less fascinating to Western readers; the vast majority of nineteenth-
century travel literature on Turkey included descriptions and discussions
James Boulden was fully aware of the appeal of his topic when he
titled his travel account of 1855, An American among the Orientals,
including an Audience with the Sultan and a Visit to the Interior of a
Turkish Harem . He described the furniture in the Sultan's Palace, noting
the basic design sinularities between the Sultan's house and most Turkish
homes: "Divans .... as in almost every Turkish house, extended around
three sides of the room."^ Boulden noted on a trip to the home of Fuad
Effendi, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, that the divans in the
house of this cosmopolitan politician "were almost the only relic of the
luxurious past."6 Communication with the West "was rapidly
revolutionizing the mode of living among the Orientals of the better class,
at least," and Effendi's furniture reflected this contact.^
Over fifty years later, Lucy Garnett recorded her impressions of
Turkish living conditions in her book. Home Life in Turkey . Most
Turkish homes were "irregularly built, rambling edifices of two stories,
divided internally into two establishments: the haremlik and the
^James A. P. Boulden. An American among the Orientals, including an Audience with the
Sultan and a Visit to the Interior of a Turkish Harem . Philadelphia: Lindsay and
Blakiston, 1855: 72.
salemlik."^ The space within Turkish homes was segregated by sex. The
public area within the house, the salemlik, was the domain of the aduh
men of the house. Women of the household could join their husbands in
this space only when they were not visited by guests. The haremlik was
the women's realm of the house, where non-family males were not
permitted. Whether accurate or not, many Western accounts asserted that
the matriarch of the house was not permitted out of the harem, whereas
the patriarch had access to the entire house. The mabeyn, which in Arabic
means "the space between two objects," linked the haremlik and the
salemlik. Goods were transferred from the mabeyn into the haremlik
through a revolving cupboard. Only the patriarch had the keys to the
mabeyn and thus access to the haremlik.^ Although Turkish and other
Islamic women's actions were certainly regulated in many ways. Western
writers often appear to have exaggerated the restrictions upon Islamic
women's movements within their homes.
James Boulden maintained in his account of travels in 1855 that
"the windows of the harem are closely latticed to prevent its irunates from
being observed by outsiders. No male infidel vision ever penetrates into
those sacred recesses, where, reclining luxuriously upon rich gold
embroidered doth divans, the air glowing with Arabia's sweetest
perfumes .... these houris while away the time in blissful indolence." 10
The haremlik's inaccessibility to all but a few fortunate female visitors
°Lucy M. Gamett. Home Life in Turkey . New York: The MacMillan Company, 1909: 260.
heightened Westerners' fascination with the world behind the latticed
Boulden's choice of the word "inmate" to describe the women of
the harem reflected a Western misconception of the Near East. Americans
often perceived these women as prisoners, held in their own homes by
ruthless husbands and fathers. A beautiful piece of antique embroidery,
found in a Constantinople bazaar, was described by a dealer as "the work of
some fair odalisque, of the harem of a Sultan long since gone to his
account with Allah." The dealer lamented that the embroidery was "the
one poor resource of pleasure in a life condemned to thralldom, which
was as hateful as its surroundings were mockingly gorgeous." ^^ The many
images and descriptions of the pale skinned odalisques lying down all day
portrayed Turkish women as well-kept prostitutes (see figure 1.1).
Although provided with their every material need, these women were
not free to leave their homes unless they were shrouded so completely in
cloth as to make them nearly invisible. Westerners curiously had little
difficulty in uniting the image of Turkish women in hejab, wrapped from
head to toe in fabric, with the luscious nudes in Ingres' paintings of the
Turkish baths (see figures 1.2 and 1.3). Western images of Eastern women
transformed the all-encompassing hejab into a sexually enticing object for
Western men's gaze and the source of as much interest as the haremlik
Lucy Garnett attempted to dispel the elaborate fantasies
surrounding women in harems. Despite many of the other
^'S.M. Putnam. "Draperies and Embroideries in the East." The Decorator and Furnisher,
vol. xix, no. 1 (October 1891): 19.
generalizations Garnett made about "Orientals," she asserted that harems
were not full of women "reclining on a divan, eating sweets and playing
with [their] jewels," an image made popular in so many paintings and
descriptions in the 19th century.^^ On the contrary, Garnett argued that the
daily schedules of Turkish women were quite full. Rising early to prepare
coffee and pipes for the men of the house, women proceeded to oversee
the cooking and cleaning. Garnett acknowledged that women never went
outside without being fully covered. However, these veiled women,
according to Garnett, moved freely through the streets of Constantinople
without an escort on their way to a women's luncheon or to the baths.
She concluded her section on the fate of women in the Near East by
maintaining that "Turkish women are legally as free or freer than
European women."i3 Yet, the fact that Garnett felt it necessary to dispel
these attitudes indicates their pervasiveness in American culture at the
Malek Alloula examined 19th century Freivch postcards in his long
essay entitled "The Colonial Harem." Alloula analyzed the many posed
photographs of "Moorish" and Algerian women in their homes. Because
photographers were unable to actually get inside harems, prostitutes were
hired to represent the women in harems in these photographic postcards.
In many of the photographs, women stand at a window, gazing longingly
out of the bars (see figure 1.4). The window bars used in these
photographs do not resemble the lattice work on the windows of real
harems precisely because the viewer/ photographer would not have been
l^Gamett: 269, 274, 27.
able to see through authentic lattice work. The window bars in the
photographs both provide a clear view of the interior of the harem and
resemble prison bars familiar to Western viewers. Many of the
photographs do not contain these window bars at all, implying that they
were taken "inside" the harem. ^^ Through these photographs, the viewer
is able to travel into the haremlik, overcoming the restrictions imposed
upon him by Turkish men.
Photographs like the Femme Arabe dans leur interieur in figure 1.5
showed Eastern women smoking (How shocking!) and enjoying cups of
coffee. Many of the women in these postcard photographs were semi-
dothed; the images served as an apparently acceptable form of erotic
imagery for the senders and receivers of these postcards. ^^ Figure 1.6 is a
particularly dramatic image of a Near Eastern woman. Clothed in a
yachmak, only her eyes and breasts are visible. Women in hejab were
normally entirely shrouded in fabric, their eyes being the only visible part
of their body. Western imaginations (and Eastern for that matter) were
normally forced to mentally recreate the alluring body underneath the
cloth. This image simultaneously provided the Western viewer with both
the exotic element of a hidden, inaccessible treasure and the visual
exposure and presentation of the forbidden body. During the nineteenth-
century, Americans defined the Near East through images like these and
^^Malek Alloula. The Colonial Harem , translated by Myma Godzich and Wlad Godzich.
Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1986.
^^Martha, a French tourist in Algeria, would probably have been more hesitant to send her
postcard of a bare chested Moorish woman carrying a tambourine if the woman pictured
had been a "proper" Western woman. Curiously Martha sent the postcard with the
greeting, "I am sending you a package to be picked up at the railway station. The babies
are doing well; they have just taken a walk by the beach. I shall write you shortly at
greater length. Warm kisses to all of you." quoted in Alloula: 26.
the writings of travelers like James Boulden and Lucy Garnett. Cosy
corners and smoking alcoves were derived from these images and
descriptions. Western impressions of the East, however inaccurate they
may have been, are important to examine because they shaped the
development of the Turkish style in American homes.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, awareness of the
Near East had been largely limited to the wealthy who could afford to
travel. These affluent families littered their parlors with references to the
Near East throughout the 1870s and 1880s. The decor of their homes was
intended to reflect their privileged status in society and their highly
developed aesthetic sense. Postcard representations of the East like those
in figures 1.1 to 1.6 from the early 1900s exposed a wider audience to the
wonders of distant regions of the world. Widely available travel accounts
offered glimpses of the East to Americans who could never have afforded
to travel to the region. Many of the emerging mail order catalogues began
offering inexpensive variations of luxurious Eastern textiles and carpets,
allowing middle and lower middle-income households on a limited
budget to also display their fine timed aesthetic sensibilities. Although
imported goods were always preferable to their domestic reproductions,
"to the great majority of our American homes, the imitations of wall
coverings, tapestries, etc. are appropriate and desirable," advised A.G.
Morrison in his 1906 handbook on interior decoration. ^^ By the turn of
the century, the Turkish decorating craze had already been largely
abandoned by the wealthy elite. As with most fads, once the Middle Class
^"A.G. Morrison. Drapery, Interior Decoration and Architecture: A Practical Handbook for
the Dealer. Decorator and the Workroom . New York: T.A. Cawthra and Company, 1906: 22.
began to adopt these elements of Eastern design in their own homes, the
upper-class trend setters mocked the masses' enthusiasm for the style.
Unlike the travelers who had returned to New York, Philadelphia,
or Boston, towing trvmks laden with Eastern goods and memories of
Constantinople lit by moonlight, the vast majority of Americans learned
about the Near East through the literature written by more fortunate
travelers and perhaps a trip to the Midway Plaisance, an international
bazaar at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1893, nearly
fifty years after James Boulden wrote of "rich, embroidered cloth divans"
and "Arabia's sweetest perfumes," millions of Americans made their own
symbolic journey to the Near East along the Midway Plaisance.
The World's Columbian Exposition
When Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, he could never
have anticipated the spectacle which the city of Chicago would orchestrate
in his honor four hundred years later. The World's Columbian Exposition
was designed as both a celebration of the "discovery of America" by
Christopher Columbus and an enormous expose on the latest
technological, artistic, and architectural advances. The Exposition officially
began with a dedication ceremony on October 21, 1892, but most of the
buildings were orUy partially constructed at that time. It opened to the
public on May 1, 1893.1"^ The Fairgrounds were constructed on six hundred
and sixty-four acres of land south of downtown Chicago and boasted a
mile long frontage on Lake Michigan. ^^
l^Lfldies' Home Journal. (July, 1892): 6.
^°Howard M. Rossen and John M. Kaduck. Columbian World's Fair Collectibles .
Des Moines, lA: Wallace-Homestead Book Company, 1976: vii.
The Exposition is perhaps remembered most through surviving
photographs of the colossal figure of "Columbia," designed by Daniel
Chester French, and the enormous classical buildings that surrounded the
giant central basin (see figure 1.7). These images are familiar to our eyes, as
they must have been to so many of the visitors who toured the grounds of
the Exposition and the millions of Americans who purchased any one
among the sea of pictorial records of the Fair. The presence of so many of
these souvenir books in library collections hints at the plethora of editions
that must have been available in 1893.1^
"The White City," as the Exposition was informally known, referred
specifically to the central basin, the lagoon and the buildings which
surrounded these bodies of water (see figure 1.8 for a map of the
fairgrounds). 20 In addition to the main concourse of buildings, most states
constructed a building at the north end of the fair, above the Art Galleries,
to display their trademark goods and to provide a place for visiting state
residents to rest during the day. Delegates from visiting countries also
constructed buildings to highlight each nation's culture and exported
^^The Free Library of Philadelphia has over 50 different contemporary pictorial and
textual explorations of the Exposition in its non-circulating collection.
^^The Adnrvinistration Building dominated the west end of the central basin, which was
also surrounded by the Agriculture Building, a Casino and a Music Hall. The enormous
Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building fronted on both the central basin and the lagoon.
The U.S. Government Building, the Women's Building, the Horticulture Building, the
Mines and Electricity Buildings, and the Transportation Building all surrounded the lagoon
as well. The Transportation Building, Louis Sullivan's golden-arched masterpiece with a
multicolored and glittering facade, was the only building on the main concourse which did
not imitate the Classical Style. The small porticoes on each side of the Transportation
Building's arch loosely resembled much of the "Islamic" architectural improvisations at
the Midway Plaisance, further distancing this building from the architecture on the rest of
the main concourse. "Columbia" and the Palace of Fine Arts are two of the few reminders of
the Exposition which survive on the fairgrounds south of Chicago. The Palace of Fine Arts
was considerably altered and now serves as the Museum of Science and Industry.
products. The classical buildings of the main basin and lagoon were
devoted largely to education, conunerce and industry. Buildings for the
display of industrial innovations stood beside buildings devoted to the
emerging field of anthropology.
Frederick W. Putnam, a curator from the Peabody Museum at
Harvard, was placed in charge of the Department of Ethnology and
Archaeology at the Exposition. Franz Boas, widely regarded as the father of
American professional anthropology, assisted Putnam with the exhibits. ^^
Both Putnam and Boas were interested in creating exhibits which would
be beneficial and educational for anthropologists and tourists alike. J.W.
Buel asserted that "an ethnologist might have gone no further than the
Chicago Fair to find the races of the world and .... study their
characteristics. "22 Boas acknowledged that viewers frequently did "not
want anything other than entertainment. "23 He hoped to be able to clarify
the purpose of each exhibit into an easily understood theme for those who
did not want to seek that message out for themselves. Putnam and Boas
were particularly concerned with the accuracy of their exhibits. Creating a
clear message for reluctant viewers was useful only if the message being
conveyed was accurate. The Department of Ethnology and Archaeology
funded both anthropological field research and digs in order to ensure this
2llra Jacknis. "Franz Boas and Exhibits: On the Limitations of the Museum Method of
Anthropology." In Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture, ed. George
Stocking. Madison: University of Wisconsin, Madison Press, 1985: 75.
22j.W. Buel. The Magic City: A Massive Portfolio of Original Photographic Views of the
Great World's Fair and its Treasures of Art, vol. I, no. 12 (April 2, 1894). St. Louis:
Historical Publishing Company, 1894: 91.
23Franz Boas. "Some Principles of Museum Administration." Science 25: 921-33.
In Jacknis: 86.
Boas and Putnam's insistence on anthropological "accuracy" was
most clearly articulated in the Exposition-funded archaeological digs at
Labna and Uxmal in the Yucatan, two important Mesoamerican sites.
Putnam used photographs taken on these digs to construct full-size
replicas of the Portal of Labna and of the twenty-seven foot arch from the
Governor's Palace at Uxmal outside the Anthropological Building at the
Exposition.24 Photographs of these and other sites were exhibited inside
the building. The replicas of the ruins functioned as Boas' clear and
simple message to which most of the visitors to the Fair could respond
with little or no effort. The exhibits and photographs inside the ruins
were designed for those people who wanted to learn more about the site
and the culture from which it emerged.
The international buildings north of the lagoon largely ignored
Boas and Putnam's interest in scholarly-based representations of other
cultures in favor of a more entertaining perspective. Like the state
buildings throughout the Exposition, the international buildings were
designed to encourage trade and travel. Most of these structures were
reminiscent of vernacular architectural styles in their respective countries.
Exhibits within these buildings highlighted the major exports of each
country as well as some of its artistic and cultural traditions.
The Turkish Building and its exhibits were designed to try to dispel
the pervasive image of Turkey as a nation of languorous men and women
(see figure 1.9). Immediately upon entering the building, one was
2** Julie K. Brown. Contesting Images: Photography and the World's Columbian Exposition.
Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1994: 41.
confronted by "a huge torpedo, exploded by an electric cap, made in
Constantinople .... it is sixteen feet long and looks anything but the
offspring of the somnolent Orient. "^5 Display cases filled with mineral
salts, Turkish coffee, and a map in stucco of Constantinople accompanied
the torpedo. A fire engine, proudly displayed in the center of the room,
provided Constantinople's best defense against the fires which frequently
raged within the dty.
When commenting on the Turkish Building near the lagoon,
James Shepp, in Shepp's World's Fair Photographed, expressed his
astonishment at the efficiency of the Turks. He offered a somewhat
backhanded compliment at their ability to complete the exhibit on
schedule: "Strange as it may appear, this semi-oriental nation was the first
to complete her exhibits at the Fair. Turkey has been called the 'sick man
of Europe,' but here, there is no evidence of decrepitude. "^6 Despite the
overall impression of technological advances in the exhibit and the
efficiency of the building's construction, Shepp was quick to associate the
elaborate embroidery and needlework on display with the "women of the
Turkish harems [who had] ample time to spend upon needlework,"
because they were locked in their harems for a lifetime.^^
The Midway Plaisance
The Midway Plaisance at the World's Columbian Exposition also
presented a fashion show of cultures, albeit in a slightly more irreverent
manner. West of the central basin and reflecting its less serious function
■^^James E. Shepp and Daniel B. Shepp. Shepp's World's Fair Photographed . Chicago:
Globe Bible Publishing Company, 1893: 482.
as a center of entertainment, the Midway stood in marked contrast to the
gleaming white classical buildings of the "White City" (see figure 1.10).
A single street extending west from the outskirts of the main promenade,
the Midway contained a variety of "villages." Visitors could enter the
enclosed displays for a fee, generally twenty-five cents per village. The
Irish Village was located nearest to the rest of the fair, followed closely by
the New England Log Cabin. The German Village, the Turkish Village,
Old Vienna, the Moorish Palace, and the Cairo Street were the largest
concessions within the Midway Plaisance.^^
Four years after the Exposition closed, Rossiter Johnson described
the Midway's function in the larger plan of the Exposition: "The Midway
Plaisance . . . offered an admirable location for picturesque displays,
characteristic of the customs of foreign nations and various forms of
amusement, refreshment, comfort, and rest. This narrow strip of land had
the advantage of isolating these special features from the grand ensemble
of the Exposition grounds, thus preventing jarring contrasts between the
beautiful buildings and grounds on the one hand, and the amusing,
distracting, ludicrous, and sometimes noisy attractions of the Midway. "^9
Most of the rest of the Exposition functioned as a technological exhibit or
museum, whereas the Midway functioned as an amusement park and
Nearly everyone who visited the Exposition also visited the
Midway on their way to the Ferris wheel, whether they went inside any of
^^ Rand, McNally & Company's Standard Guide of the World's Columbian Exposition at
Chicago, 1893. Republished in Contesting Images, 1994: xiv-xv.
^^Rossiter Johnson. A History of the World's Columbian Exp>osition, vol. I. New York:
D. Appleton and Company, 1897: 75.
the villages or not. Nine out of ten visitors to the fair rode the Ferris
Wheel, which was located halfway down the Plaisance.^O Hawkers
outside all of the exhibits attempted to lure visitors inside their
concessions, for indeed, that is what these villages were.
Ardeshi and Byramji's East India Palace sold "black-wood and
sandal-wood furniture, boxes, tables, chairs, .... moradabad-brass and
copper hand-chased and enameled vases, .... a large assortment of shawls,
table covers and cushions .... [and] old battle axes."^^ Having been to
many of the Expositions in Europe, Ardeshir and Byramji were well
ir\formed about which goods appealed to European consumers.
Consequently, they claimed to have "placed on sale a collection of
[merchandise] seldom, if ever seen outside India. "^2 With factories in
London as well as in India, they were well suited to provide Westerners
with all of their Eastern design needs.
Visitors were enticed to take another trip to the "Orient" by the
women who beckoned from the open portiere at the Turkish Bazaar.
Unlike the Turkish Building on the lagoon, the Turkish Village and
Bazaar were primarily commercial ventures. The photograph of the
Turkish Bazaar in figure 1.11 includes two women dressed in Turkish
garb, although neither appear to be Turkish. One of them was probably
Josephine Dolson, Chief Saleslady in the Turkish Village, whose employee
^"George Ferris, a steel bridge engineer, designed the wheel which t>oasted a diameter of
two hundred and fify feet. Each of the thirty-six cars comfortably carried forty passengers.
The Ferris Wheel was dismantled after the Fair and continues to operate at the Prater in
Vienna. Brown: 103, 155n.48.
3^Harry T. Smith. Pictorial Album and History of the World's Fair and Midway . Chicago:
Harry T. Smith and Company, 1893: unpaginated.
^^Smith, 1893: unpaginated.
photograph was included at the end of Harry T. Sniith's Pictorial Album
and History of the World's Fair and Midway . In the photograph. Miss
Dolson and her companion hold open the portiere, welcoming the viewer
with smiles. The portiere is surrounded by an elaborate wood frieze,
which covers the entire wall. Small rugs and tabouret tables for sale are
scattered before the entrance. A handmade sign tacked to the wall states,
"silver bedstead-300 years old. Persian War Tent 400 years old - $10. to-
day. "^^ The entrance provided a taste of the luxuries that visitors might
find behind the portiere if they offered up their twenty-five cent
admission fee. Once inside the Turkish Bazaar, one could purchase a wide
assortment of household goods and trinkets at stands like the one in
figure 1.12, constructed by Elia Souhami Sadulla and Company, a
The "Streets of Cairo" in the Midway "proved to be the most
spectacular financial success of all" (see figure 1.13).^"^ The popularity of
the Rue du Caire at the Paris Exposition of 1889 inspired the exhibit in
Chicago.35 Thanks to "Egyptomania," stockholders in the Egypt-Chicago
Exposition Company, which organized the exhibit, made more than a one
hundred percent profit on their initial investment. 36 The drab exterior
wall of the Egyptian concession opened onto a bustling and exciting
fabricated city. Just as the recreated archaeological sites of the Yucatan and
the exhibits inside these "ruins" allowed visitors to symbolically travel to
^^C.D. Arnold. Official Views of the World's Columbian Exposition . Chicago: Press
Chicago Photo-Gravure Company, 1894: 104. Smith: unpaginated.
South America and learn about that region, the repUca of the Temple of
Luxor within the "Streets of Cairo" allowed visitors to travel to the Valley
of the Kings. Inside the temple, display cases held wax mummies,
reproductions of the tombs of Thi, drca 3800 BC, and the Sacred Bull Apis,
circa 260 BC.37
Yet, unlike the Yucatan exhibit, the variably dated materials in the
"Streets of Cairo" were presented as a collage, rather than a clear picture of
Egyptian history. The Temple's sponsor, John M. Cook, a partner in
Thomas Cook and Sons, the travel organization, was primarily interested
in encouraging people to take trips to Egypt through his travel agency. ^^
Consequently, accuracy was not as important an issue as it had been for
Boas and Putnam in their anthropological exhibitions. Despite the
variations in dating and the speculative nature of some of the
reconstruction and decoration, the Temple of Luxor was geared more at
education than most of the other activities within the "Streets of Cairo."
Buildings with latticed windows and overhanging second stories
dominated the landscape. Snake charmers, boys on donkeys, men in
unfamiliar clothing on camels, strange cooking smells, and women in
hejab filled the streets with the spirit of the East. A wedding procession
filed daily through the streets like a parade (see figure 1.14). A tall, white
minaret dominated the landscape and was one of the few elements of the
street which was visible from outside the gates on the Midway. The
"Streets of Cairo" offered for sale a wide assortment of Eastern goods.
Visitors could acquire "ivories, brass-work, Soudanese arms and draperies,
gold and silver coins of ancient Egyptian dynasties, genuine mummies [!]
.... slippers, scarves, and caps," from the sixty-one vendors within.39
Although not as successful as the "Streets of Cairo," most of the
other exhibits also offered never-before seen sights for visitors. The
Ottoman Hippodrome offered "racing on dromedaries, Arabian sports and
horsemanship, dancing, feasting, and wedding ceremonies, showing life
in the wild East" (see figure I.IS).'*^ The Midway also featured a Colorado
gold mining exhibit, a California ostrich farm, Bulgarian curiosities, a
Lapland village, stereopticon views of Pompeii, and curiously, amid these
exotic displays, a "reproduction of a model cottage, such as are owned by
workingmen in Philadelphia/"^^
Harry Smith, in his book. Pictorial Album and History of the
World's Fair and Midway, expressed the delight, which so many visitors
to the World's Columbian Exposition must also have experienced, of
traveling to the far corners of the world: "Citizens of Chicago, and
Americans in general have read, no doubt, columns of the maimers and
customs of the far East .... but few who attended [the] Fair, have trod the
streets of those Oriental cities. ... To make a tour of the Holy-land and
spend several months of sight seeing, a small fortime would have to be
expended. The World's Fair gave you all the privileges for a trifle. '"^^
Although the Exposition was inaccessible to the poorest class of
Americans, it was an affordable and exdting vacation destination for
many middle-class Americans.
In Contesting Images. Julie Brown discussed the popularity of
amateur photography at the Fair. Many "members of the living-people
exhibits" charged amateur photographers for the privilege of taking their J
portrait. Costumed participants often assumed poses that they had learned
through experience were popular among the tourists, thereby reinforcing
Americans' preconceived impressions of Near-Easterners (see figure 1.16).
Brown recounted the story of Carl Koerner who paid two Turkish sedan-
chair carriers before photographing them. Koerner observed that they
"adopted a pose of standing with heads and shoulders erect, with one foot
a little in advance of the other as if in the act of walking."'*3 These
photographic opportunities provided mementos of a visitor's journey in
the same way that photos of real streets in Cairo and bazaars in
Constantinople would have done for trans-Atlantic travelers.
Visitors to the Exposition could also acquire many of the souvenirs
of a grand tour. Hester Poole described in Household News, a monthly
magazine for barely middle-income families, the home of a cosmopolitan
woman who had decorated her parlor with mementos of her trips around
the globe. Poole asked, "has she visited the old world? If so, a glaring
picture of Vesuvius in eruption, coruscating with orange and crimson,
overhangs a copy of Apollo, or the Marble Fawn, while beside it is placed a
life-size bust, in plaster, of the latest fashionable Spanish dancer. Below
^^Carl C. Koerner, Jr. "Snap Shooting at the Great Fair: Interesting Experiences of an
Amateur with a Hand-Camera at the World's Columbian Exp)osition," American Amateur
Photographer 5 (July 1893): 297-98, quoted in Brown: 110.
may stand a low Turkish table, inlaid with ivory, and on the sofa beside it
a Navajo blanket hanging over a Daghestan rug."^ All of these "telltale
signs" of travel in Europe and the Middle East could have been purchased
at the concession stands at the Exposition.
Who needed to actually journey to the Near East when the exhibits
at the Exposition allowed one to photograph the sights and purchase the
merchandise of foreign nations? Most members of the Middle Class were
not fortunate enough to accompany the throngs of wealthy Americans
and Europeans who began touring the Near East in the nineteenth
century. Many had probably read accounts of these countries in novels
and in travelogues. For the majority, a trip to "Turkey" on the Midway
Plaisance was their first direct exposure to Turkish people and culture and
probably the closest that many would ever get to the Near East.'*^
After the Exposition finally closed, the editor of a New York journal
asked a variety of prominent men and women their impressions of the
fair in Chicago. E.C. Stedman heartily defended of the architecture of the
White City, which many others had criticized. Stedman maintained that
"to rouse the sense of beauty itself among our faraway plain people was
the highest rnission of the Fair. It sent thousands back to unlovely homes
with the beginning of a noble discontent. "^^ Although Stedman himself
may have detested the Midway Plaisance and the orchestrated chaos of its
exhibits, his words underlie the impact of the Midway and the various
Near Eastern exhibits within it. American middle-class families returned
'*'*Hester Poole. "A Japanese Room." Household News, vol. Ill (1893): 89.
^"Elizabeth Brown and Alan Fern. "Introduction." In Revisiting the White City: American
Art at the 1893 World's Fair . Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1993: 13.
to their homes with the Smyrna rugs, portieres, tabouret tables, hookah
pipes, and tapestries which they had accumulated at the Exposition and
integrated them into the decorative schemes of their homes.
The often inaccurate image of the Near East projected by the
Midway Plaisance and the subsequent publications surrounding the
Exposition supported the "vivid mythology" of the Near East which
irutially had been generated by the Orientalist painters and writers of the
nineteenth-century. The Midway Plaisance brought this previously elite
imagery into the minds, lives, and living rooms of millions of
^'Brandon Brome Fortune and Michelle Mead point out in Revisiting the White City:
American Art at the 1893 World's Fair that many American and Europ)ean Orientalist
painters created combinations of images, scenes and people, "striving for visual effect
rather than ethnographical authenticity," in paintings of Eastern scenes. Like the
Orientalist painters of the period, the Midway Plaisance sought to create a visually
pleasing scene rather than an accurate representation of the Near East. Fortune and Mead.
"Catalogue of American Paintings and Sculptures exhibited at the World's Columbian
Exposition." In Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair .
National Museum of American Art. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1994: 162.
FURNISHINGS IN THE TURKISH STYLE
Although textiles and carpets were frequently imported from the
Near East, the furniture which was incorporated in exotic Islamic, or
Turkish style interiors was largely constructed in the United States.
Tabouret tables were one of the few imported items of furniture to be
included in nineteenth-century American interiors of the Turkish style.
The American furniture which came to be described as "Turkish,"
"Oriental" or "Moorish" and which occupied prominent positions in
American parlors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bore
little resemblance to anything of the furnishings in the Near East. The
distinction between the source and its offspring became even greater after
the tvirn of the century, when the pieces identified as "Turkish" bore closer
resemblance to a Lazy-Boy recliner than any of the furnishings in the
divan khane, or main living space, in Turkish homes.
Low couches and lounges, which resembled the divans in so many
of the late nineteenth-century Orientalist paintings of elaborate Eastern
interiors, were an all-purpose furniture item in Victorian homes: "The
first requisite of a family room is a good, wide lounge, not a narrow, stiff,
short affair, nor one with tufted upholstery. Much as the old box lounge
has been ridiculed, nothing can quite supersede it."' These lounges were
ideal for children's naps or a relaxing afternoon snooze. They provided a
^ Hester Poole. "The Family Room - Continued." Household News, vol. IV (1896): 309.
convenient respite for nurses assisting at the side of a sick bed and the
drawer below the mattress could be used for extra storage space.
Jamestown Lounge Company offered such a "wardrobe couch," covered in
a kilim-pattered fabric, in 1906.2 Sears, Roebuck and Company, offering
goods for those unable to patronize the Jamestown Lounge Company,
advertised a seemingly endless selection of Turkish divans and lounges
from the 1890's until well into the 1930's. The rather expensive leather
covered Turkish lounge in figure 2.1 was made in about 1910 and is
believed to have been from a home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.^
Hester Poole, whose monthly column on interior decorating was
surrounded by recipes and cost-cutting home management tips in
Household News, offered specific guidelines about the lounges within the
ever-popular cosy comer. Cosy comers and their role in the Turkish style
in America are discussed in greater detail in chapter three. Poole
recommended that the couch in a cosy corner be made "out of pine, six
feet long, thirty inches wide and eighteen inches high, with wire springs
and a good mattress; [it] may be covered with blue corduroy, which sells
from 60 cents upward. It should have plenty of pillows in all shades of
yellow and yellowish red.""* Several months later Poole insisted that, for a
reception room, "the only covered furnishings [should be] a long divan.
2 Jamestown Lounge Company advertisement. In Drapery. Interior Decoration and
Architecture: A Practical Handbook for the Deale. Decorator, and the Workroom, by A.G.
Morrison. New York: Cawthra and Comany, 1906: viii.
^ Katherine Grier. Culture & Comfort: People. Parlors and Upholstery 1850-1930 .
Rochester, NY: The Sti-ong Museum, 1988, plate 19 between pp.180-181.
^ Hester Poole. "Answers to Inquirers." Household News, vol III (1895): 165.
where the room is exceedingly spadous. The covering of this piece of
furniture should be self-colored, deep and rich, rather than bright."^
In a column on "Economy in Decoration," Poole provided
instructions for those who could not afford a new lounge on how to
rehabilitate an old lounge. "Rub it well with coarse sand-paper and paint it
with black enamel .... touch the carvings .... with a narrow line of gilt,
such as is sold in powder, with liquid for mixing. Make a soft cushion for
the bottom and cover it with rep, tapestry, or cretonne; whatever is
suitable. At either end arrange a couple of square pillows, covered with a
Poole was sjnnpathetic to those families even too poor to have a
lounge to be salvaged. Undaunted, she offered directions for constructing a
lounge from scratch. "Press pater familias or one of the boys into service to
make a frame for a lounge," to which she added instructions on
dimensions and hints on materials, construction, the interior webbing and
filling, and covers. She concluded these directions with a finishing
decorative suggestion: "two or three large square pillows, covered with the
stuff upon the lounge or with India silk, standing against the wall, finishes
a handsome piece of furniture, and one that is serviceable."''
Ottomans and Hassocks
Small hassocks, pillows in leather or tapestry, were used as foot rests
in American parlors. Their affordability made them a frequent addition to
middle-class homes. Sears offered eleven different varieties of hassocks
5 Hester Poole. "The Reception Hall." Household News, vol III (1895): 448.
6 ibid: 41.
7 ibid: 41.
and footrests in the 1905 Catalogue (see figure 2.2). A children's hassock
was available for 19 cents. The "octagon ottoman foot rest," covered in
tapestry cost 75 cents. Sears claimed to be the sole producer of a "grand
Oriental sumptuous hassock," a large velvet footstool, available for 85
Because practicality was as important as beauty to the readers of
Household News, Hester Poole suggested that "window seats [were]
especially luxurious receptacles for clothing that is not too fine, while
square box ottomans, covered and valenced with a durable material, make
shoe boxes that a queen might envy."^ Sears offered such a "hassock and
slipper box combined" in 1905 for 89 cents. Ottomans carried the cultural
associations of the East in their name, which referred to the Turkish
djmasty founded by Osman I in 1300.
The main room in a Turkish home was generally surrounded on
three sides by divans. The forth side contained a storage console of some
kind where ornamental and functional objects were displayed. In each
room, "one or two irUaid walnut-wood tray-stools [were] placed .... near
the divan to hold cigarette boxes, ashtrays, and other trifles. "^° The
tabouret in figure 2.3, on which "Belle Fatmah" rested her coffee, was
similar to many of the tabouret tables imported to the United States. Even
American parlors which did not incorporate any other aspects of the Near
Eastern style frequently contained one of these little all-purpose tabouret
^ Sears, Roebuck Company Catalogue for Spring 1905. vol. 114. Chicago: Sears, Roebuck and
Company, 1905: 803.
' Hester Poole. "Decoration: Carpets." Household News, vol II (1894): 749.
^^Lucy M. Gamett. Home Life in Turkey . New York: The MacMillan Company, 1909: 261.
tables. Sears asserted that "jardinier stands" were a "very stylish ornament
for any parlor." These small tables, illustrated in figure 2.4, were available
in oak or "imitation mahogany finish" for $1.70 in 1897.il Zella Milhau
considered the tabouret table, or Karan inlaid stool, a fundamental
component of the Near Eastern interior. She included them in all of the
illustrations of cosy corners for her article in The Decorator and
The Flemish Art Company sold small tabouret tables in plain wood,
without the mother of pearl and ivory commonly inlaid on imported
tabouret tables. Consumers added their own decoration to the Flemish
Art Company's tabouret tables with pyrography kits they sold. Pyrography,
a widely popular "craft" activity in the nineteenth century, entailed
creating designs on the surface of the wood with a burning poker. After
their application, these burned sections could be left plain or colored. A
pamphlet published by the Flemish Art Company detailed the procedure
of this "simple, artistic and fascinating pastime." Pyrography was useful
both as a leisure activity and a way to "increase ones income."!^ Hester
Poole assured her readers that "pyrography ... is done after a little practice
by any one (sic) having the least art-training or dexterity and precision in
drawing. "1"* The column also instructed readers on how to avoid creating
llpred Israel. 1897 Sears. Roebuck . New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1968: 669.
1^ Zella Milhau. "Home Decoration. "T^e Decorator and Furnisher, vol. xix, no. 3
(August, 1888): 109-112.
1 3 Koenig. Pyrography: A Complete Course of Instructions, Practical. Simple, and
Progressive . New York: Flemish Art Company, undated: 2.
1"^ Hester Poole. "The Reception Hall." Household News, vol III (1895): 447.
unwanted dots, how to shade the background and the best types of woods
Because the harem held such fascination for American readers,
latticework became a popular ornamental feature in American homes of
the nineteenth century. But, American consumers incorporated this
symbol of the harem window in a decidedly impotent manner. Lucy
Garnett described the "latticed blinds of unpainted wood" which covered
the windows of the haremlikA^ The windows contained "circular
openings through which the hanums, themselves unseen, may gaze from
their cushioned divans on the ever changing scene below. "^^ The fret
work grilles which resembled the lattice-work of harem windows were
sometimes placed into the window frames of American parlors. Far more
frequently, these grilles supported the portieres which draped doorways in
many American homes. Sears, Roebuck and Company sold the grilles in
figure 2.5 in 1910.17
N.W. Jacobs addressed the "considerable controversy . . concerning
lattice-work, fret-work, and grilles," in his Practical Handbook on Cutting
Drapery, published in 1890. He maintained that "grilles are used to the
best advantage in doorways where the spaces are too high to drape with
good effect, but of late they have been used in windows as well."^^ In an
"Indo-Saracenic Smoking Room," A.G. Morrison suggested hanging
15 Garnett: 258.
16 Gamett: 259.
17 Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalogue (1910), illustrated in Winkler and Moss: 215.
1° N.W. Jacobs. Practical Handbook on Cutting Drapery . Minneapolis: Harrison & Smith,
"India Mehrut print [curtains] from a twelve-inch ebonized grille with a
shelf, [and lining] the shelf with yellow silk."i9 Jacobs illustrated the
majority of the grilles from his book in the more conventional American
position over doorways (see figure 2.6). These grilles, which supported
portieres, allowed for tantalizing views into the next room of the house,
in much the same way that the harem postcards discussed in chapter one
provided a coveted view into the impenetrable recesses of the harem.
In 1905, House and Garden, a magazine whose readers had already
abandoned the Turkish style, armounced that "fortunately with the
passing of the jig-saw work and grills from the wooden trim of the
interior, the brass and onyx table, the plush covered rocker, with all that
these stand for in furniture, is fast disappearing."20 House and Garden
filled the void created by the demise of so many of the nineteenth century
women's magazines; its articles reflected the journal's cutting edge
approach to design in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Narghiles and Smoking Alcoves
Americans associated smoking with life in the Near East. A water
pipe, narghile, or hookah was a clear moniker of an Eastern interior.^i
James Boulden, in An American among the Orientals (1855). described
these ubiquitous narghiles "with their long tubes gracefully winding over
^" Morrison: 16.
20 Margaret Greeleaf. "The Interior Finish and Furnishing of the Small House, Part I."
House and Garden, vol viii, no. 3 (October, 1905): 207.
2^ The word "hookah" is derived from the Arabic word "huqqah," a casket, vase, or cup. It
made its debut in the English language in 1783. "Narghile" did not enter the English
language until 1836. Narghile is derived from the Persian wor, "narghil," which means
cocoanut, from which the bowl of early water pipes was made. William Little. The Oxford
Universal Dictionary on Historical Principles . C.T. Onions, editor. Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1955: 919, 930.
them, their cut glass and decanter formed bodies half filled with rose
water, and their perforated earthen bowls holding the grateful tobacco."22
These "peace pipes" were generally of immense value. Turkish
dignitaries brought their own pipes with them when visiting each other.
Boulden maintained that "Franks," otherwise known as Westerners, were
not expected to bring their own water pipes when visiting Turkish
homes. 23 From 1897 to 1905, Sears, Roebuck offered a "Turkish Water
Pipe," alongside the more familiar German Meerschaum and American
pipes (see figure 2.7). The narghile sold by Sears had a colored glass bowl
with painted ornamentation. A "long flexible stem with small amber
mouthpiece" was attached to the neck of the pipe. A more elaborate pipe
with two stems, "so two persons can smoke at the same time," would
have permitted the men reclining on divans in their smoking rooms to
partake of the "grateful tobacco" without moving. Smoking jackets, like
those in figure 2.8 were often made of imported fabric with Indian paisleys
and Near Eastern designs. Small Turkish slippers were also made for
lounging in these smoking rooms. 24
In many ways, the nineteenth-century smoking room was a cosy
corner which occupied an entire room. A.G. Morrison offered the
smoking room as a respite for the rigors of life in an emerging industrial
22 James A. P. Boulden. An American among the Orientals, including an Audience with the
Sultan and a Visit to the interior of a Harem. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston,
23 Boulden: 73-4.
24 Richard Martin and Harold Koda. Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress .
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994: 44.
Conversant as we are with the strenuous Ufe the average
American leads, be it in the stock n^arket, at the desk, or in
other spheres of activity, one thing is evident, that the home
should supply the retreat where the cares of the day, are
forgotten in home-like comforts and congenial surroundings,
where the association of a nicely flavored cigar will not
trespass on dainty hangings, .... there are times in every
one's experience where absolute rest and quiet is required to
restore the shattered nerves, to soothe the aching head and to
rest the weary muscles, and what better place than such a
room, which we will call the Gentleman's Den .... Such a
room, if arranged comfortably, would in a great measure
offset the charms of the club, and could contain all the
ingredients necessary for comfort and rest. 25
Unlike cosy corners, which will be discussed in greater detail in chapter
three, smoking rooms were decidedly male spaces in nineteenth century
homes. Cosy corners were associated with women because they were
frequently located in the parlor, a more feminine area of the house.
In addition to the descriptions of the reclining women in harems
and the mosques of Constantinople, nearly all of the nineteenth-century
European travel literature on Turkey discussed the public bath houses.
Turkish baths titillated American Victorian sensibilities with fantasies of
steamy rooms filled with sen\i-clad and nude people. Nearly all of the
descriptions of the baths were written by men. They spoke of the bath
attendants who washed and flogged the bathers into a state of cleanliness.
After this apparently painful experience, the battered Western man in
question was carried to a separate room by another bath worker, wo^apped
in a towel (a Turkish towel!) and left to recline with tea or coffee and a
25 Morrison: 20.
languorous smoke on a narghile, surrounded by Turkish men who had
also gone through this or deal. ^6
Westerners' descriptions of their experiences in a Turkish bath
embodied their general perceptions of the Near East: savagery and
languorous indolence. Americans intrigued by tales of the bath could
recreate this experience in the far less threatening environment of their
own homes by purchasing imported Turkish towels. Lucy Garnett, in her
description of Home Life in Turkey (1909), remarked that the "East has of
late been almost emptied by the demand for [these "chevreh towels"] in
the West.27 Constance Gary Harrison suggested to her readers in 1881 that
they appliqu^ the embroidery on "Turkish towels, so much used now for
tidies" onto maroon plush or sage-green velvet as an inexpensive way to
make mantel lambrequins. ^^ Although she herself was a member of the
Upper Glass, Harrison wrote for poorer women. She offered suggestions
on how her readers could earn money and decorate their own homes in
inexpensive ways. The towels which Harrison suggested could be made
into lambrequins were available in nearly every mail order catalogue at
the turn of the century. Bloomingdales offered, "striped Turkish towels,
VERY GHEAP" for seventeen cents each in the summer of 1891.29 Sears,
Roebuck continued to offer Turkish towels well into the 1940s, though
they removed the sdmitar-wielding, beturbaned man in figure 2.9 from
26 Boulden: 107.
27 Garnett: 275.
28 Constance Gary Harrison. Woman's Handiwork in Modem Homes . New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1881: 203.
29 Bloomingdale Brothers. Illustrated Fashion Catalogue. Spring and Summer 1891 . New
York: Bloomingdales Brothers, 1891: 84.
the advertisement after 1902. Expensive towels continue to be advertised
as "Turkish" in contemporary catalogues of luxury household linens,
whether or not these towels were actually imported from Turkey.
Although less pervasive in American homes than the Turkish
towel, the "Turkish bath," a type of portable sauna also appeared in
American homes in the early decades of the 20th century. Sears, Roebuck
advertised "What a Turkish Bath Will Do For You" in its 1915 catalogue,
maintaining that "a Turkish bath, taken just before retiring opens the
pores of the skin, thereby aiding elimination. There is nothing that will
produce a clean healthy body as will a hot Turkish bath" (see figure 2.10).30
These portable screens promised to sweat dirt out of the pores and aid
The appearance of this appliance in the Sears Catalogue cannot be
attributed solely to Americans' fascination with the Near East. Its appeal
to consumers was also undoubtedly related to the emerging interest in
hygiene, spas, and assisted weight loss. Once again, Americans imposed a
Near Eastern aura on a primarily Western object. This square box had
little to do with the cavernous stone arched series of rooms with hot
steam, cold water, and teams of bath attendants at the Turkish baths. The
woman standing next to the open box in the Sears catalogue illustration
wears a slim sarong of unknown origin. Although her dress does not
correspond to the clothing worn by Turkish women, it is sufficiently
foreign to evoke in the advertisement a sense of the "other". 3 1 By
■^0 Sears. Roebuck Company Catalogue for Fall 1915, volume 131. Chicago: Sears, Roebuck
and Company, 1915: 762.
3 1 James Boulden wrote about this inaccurate appropriation of Eastern dress in his book. An
American among the Orientals, published in 1855.
ascribing the word "Turkish" to this appliance. Sears made it more
appealing to consumers. Customers were given the privilege of feeling
that they were expanding their horizons and knowledge of the world
without really challenging their way of life.
A comic strip, the Adventures of Peck's Bad Boy, published in 1908,
parodied American's interest in the "Turkish bath." A young boy brings
his rotund father a "Home Turkish Bath," saying, "Doc Wingert sent this
and he says you must take a turkey bath tonight!" The entire family
gathers around the box to admire it. Initially, Pa responds positively to his
son's query about how it feels: "It's "out o'sight! Just fasten that hasp for
me sose to make it feel snug! I feel like a broiled frankfurter!" The animals
of the house are quicker to dismiss this appliance than their human
companions. A parrot declares that it "smells like glue cooking" and the
cat worries that "trouble is coming." Rapidly, the Turkish bath becomes
too hot to stand and the lamp inside begins to smoke. After nearly being
"cremated," Pa is released from the contraption and doused with water by
That most readers had a basic awareness of Turkish baths is implicit
in the story line of this particular comic. Pa's misfortune comically
criticized the introduction of these new-fangled contraptions. The cartoon
ends with Pa swathed in bandages and lying in bed after his brief
interaction with this marvelous new invention. The doctor in attendance
recommends that the family "get him to perspire" in order to help him
heal. Ironically, getting him to perspire (in order to lose weight) was
precisely what the Turkish bath was intended to do in the first place.
Turkish Tufting and Upholstered Seating
Americans at the end of the nineteenth century began to ascribe the
"Turkish" label to nearly anything that they perceived as excessive,
luxurious, or encouraging sloth like behavior. Turkish men and women
would have found the "Turkish" furniture in figures 2.11 to 2.13
perplexing. Nothing even vaguely resembling these pieces would have
been found in a nineteenth-century interior in Turkey. Steel spring
frames made these upholstered pieces more comfortable than furniture
previously available in the United States. Curiously, S. Karpen and
Brothers offered a "rococo suite of parlor furniture," which was "made in
the diamond tufted Turkish style of ... . upholstery of the finest
workmanship. "32 In 1897, Sears, Roebuck and Company offered a
considerably more affordable parlor suite in the Turkish style
(see figure 2.11).
A large "Turkish frame sofa" was exhibited at the World's
Columbian Exposition in 1893 (see figure 2.12). Perhaps the most
outrageous of these later manifestations of Turko-American design were
the leather chairs with elaborate "Turkish tufting" popular in the 1910's.
Karpen offered a "Turkish Rocker," which "belonged to the highest type of
the Turkish design. The frame is fashioned into shape by hand and is
made of high carbon steel wire. The upholstery is ... . perfect in every
detail." The bottom of the frame was decorated with fringe which touched
the floor. This rocker sold for $86 in 1906.33 An even more elaborate arm
32 S. Karpen and Brothers. Upholstered Furniture . Chicago: S. Karpen and Brothers, 1906:
33 ibid: 30
chair was constructed specifically for the St. Louis World's Fair, where it
"attracted the attention of manufacturers and craftsmen as one of the
finest examples of American craftsmanship shown at the Fair. "34
In 1928, Martha Van Rensselaer included an illustration of a
similar, elaborately tufted "Turkish" leather chair in her Manual of
Home-Making, classifying it as a "type of furniture ugly in proportion,
erratic in line, overdecorated in finish, that should be avoided" (see figure
2.13). 3^ Although few people would presumably disagree with Ms. Van
Rensselaer's suggestion, her words indicated that at least a few of her
readers still retained these chairs in their homes. Van Rensselaer hoped to
convince these holdouts to discard them. She offered drawings of
different "davenports," a reproduction cricket table, and a tea table as more
appropriate household furnishings. ^^
The p)opularity of Turkish tufting filled many homes with
elaborately darted furniture. Hester Poole expressed the widely held
concern about the health risks of this type of upholstery: "Avoid
purchasing upholstered tufted furniture. It harbors dust and disease
germs and is out of date among people gifted with common sense .... If
there is anything of the kind new, the bamboo or cane chairs are best.
Stained brown, black or white, and fiiushed with a cushion, they are fit for
any apartment. "^^ The popularity of bamboo furniture spread rapidly: for
"chairs, divans, settees, stands and tables, cabinets, screen, the tops of chair
34 ibid: 30.
35 Martha Van Rensselaer, Flora Rose and Helen Canon. A Manual of Home-Making . New
York: The Macnrvillan Company, 1928: 76.
36 ibid: 87.
37 Hester Poole. "Economy in Decoration." Household News, vol III (1895): 42.
railings and dados, as a trim for light wood beds, bureaus and other
furnishings, bamboo is superior. "38 Bamboo furniture was incorporated
into many "Turkish" interiors and often successfully made the transition
into the "modem" decor of American homes in the late 1930s and 1940's,
after the cosy corners and smoking alcoves of the previous decades had
long been abandoned.
38 Hester Poole. "Decorative Notes." Household News, vol III (1895): 343.
TEXTILES AND CARPETS IN TURKISH STYLE INTERIORS
From the Turkey carpets laid across tables in eighteenth-century
American portraits and the elaborate drapery and costumes at Paul Poiret's
1002nd Night festivities (see figure 3.1) to the Oriental rugs which adorn
many late twentieth-century interiors, textiles have always played a
prominent role in the transference of Eastern culture to Western society J
In the eighteenth century, the difficulty of manufacturing textiles made
them highly valued items in any estate. As the textile industry became
increasingly mechanized, textiles became less expensive. In spite of their
increased affordability, fabrics retained some of their cultural associations
to wealth. Middle-income Americans, who were less able to afford the
elaborate woodworking, furniture and other permanent elements of the
exotic Islamic style, defined their "Eastern interiors" by adorning their
homes with inexpensive fabrics. This chapter explores the ways in which
cosy corners, portieres, divan covers, and Oriental rugs were used in
American homes. Through these textiles, less affluent Americans were
able to emulate the luxurious interiors of the East.
Perhaps the most distinct adaptation of the "Moorish Style" in
textiles were the Turkish cosy corners which appeared in both affluent and
^ The Poirets hosted their "1002nd Night" festivities in 1911. The evening was widely
regarded as the most significant fashion party of its time. Richard Martin and Harold
Koda. Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress . New York: The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 1995: 12.
humble homes. Cosy corners were generally located, as their name
implies, in the comer of a room. A low sofa or divan was often arranged
in the comer below a tent-like draping of fabric that created a room within
a room. John Stephenson, in Cutting and Draping: A Practical Handbook
for Drapers, stressed that "the simple desire for its possession should be no
excuse for its introduction in a location where coziness or even comfort
would be an impossibility. "^
Hester Poole, writing in the Household News to an audience too
poor to patronize the drapers using Stephenson's handbook, suggested
that with "half a dozen pillows of various sizes and different colors,
square, oblong, and round," and a divan, a resourceful housekeeper could
"convert [a] corner into a fascinating nook, especially for the younger
members of the family."^ By emphasizing that the children of the family
would particularly enjoy the cosy corner, Poole successfully stripped the
cosy comer of all of its subdued sexual innuendoes, thereby making it an
appropriate addition to the homes of her readers.
A. G. Morrison illustrated the cosy corner in figure 3.2 in his
handbook for decorators and drapers. The John Curtis family added a
considerably more modest cosy corner to their parlor in Dorchester,
Massachusetts in 1910 and were kind enough to document both the
"before" and "after" views of their efforts (see figures 3.3 and 3.4).'* The
Curtis family's cosy corner, complete with wood grille above the portiere
^ John W. Stephenson. Cutting and Draping: A Practical Handbook for Upholsterers and
Decorators . New York: Clifford and Lawton, 1913: 93.
3 Poole, vol III: 309.
^ Katherine Grier. Culture and Comfort: People. Parlors and Upholstery 1850-1930 .
Rochester, NY: The Strong Museum, 1988: 196, figures 37 and 38.
draperies, replaced a dresser that would have been more appropriate for a
bedroom than a parlor.
Hester Poole included a description of a cosy corner in her
suggestions for ornamenting a sitting room. She recommended, "in one
corner, a triangular, low-cushioned seat, the front slightly rounded, ....
covered with blue corduroy. Overhead it may be draped with the curtain
material over a crane-shaped arm fastened to the wall, and looped back at
either side, a yard from the floor, making a cosy corner. At one side of it
place a low stand, upholding a palm or rubber-tree, or a low screen, and
across another comer place the large table, with a low bookcase reaching
from mantle to corner. "^
Poole revisited the cosy corner several months later in a section on
decorating "the family room." Straying from a strictly Turkish motif, she
recommended "dark-hued Japanese .... material, adorned with wavy gilt
lines, stars, dragons or other conceptions of the curious artists of the 'Land
of the Rising Sun'." These fabrics were,
just suited to distinguish such a retreat from the remainder
of the room. Should it be large, quite a section might be
spaced off by placing a curtain pole across from side to side,
about seven feet from the floor. From it suspend a pair of
portieres differing in texture and material from the other
hangings, but harmonizing in color. At pleasure they may
hang perpendicularly or be looped at the sides. ^
Poole placed a small table within the folds of the portiere, next to the
couch and illuminated the space with a modern "Moorish lantern."
5 Hester M. Poole. "Answers to Inquirers: Cottage Decorations." Household News, vol III.
6 Poole, vol III: 309.
In 1888, writing for the generally privileged readers of The
Decorator and Furnisher, Zella Milhau asserted that "every well ordered
home now has its den or cosey (sic) corner, a nook where my lady may sit
and sew, or the master in slippers repose, smoke, ponder or read" (see
figure 3.5).^ Milhau maintained that "cosy corners make a most
comfortable addition to any room and can be arranged in various ways."
Pen and ink illustrations of various arrangements accompany her
descriptions of these corners. Her first example was intended for a
A wide bracket in the shape of a mantelshelf is fixed against
the wall, and an ottoman placed beneath, with an easy chair
and a small table on either side. The drapery above the
bracket is arranged over a brass rod, an Eastern rug taking the
place of the looking-glass .... To form a corner another
Eastern drapery is suspended from a branch of hammered
iron, which has a decorative lantern attached. To the right of
the ottoman stands a statuette on pedestal against a
background of palm fronds. ^
The backdrop cloth of the cosy corner was generally a plain colored fabric.
This plain background accentuated the Nubian head, pipes, chains,
crescent stars, "frequently displayed above the divan in a cosy corner. "9
Mrs. Hughes, whose New York apartment was photographed by
Joseph Byron in 1899, added a cosy corner to her predominantly French
Empire parlor. The photograph in figure 3.6 illustrated this cosy corner,
complete with a divan, enormous pillows, a tabouret table, a banjo, and a
' Zella Milhau. "Home Decoration." The Decorator and Furnisher, vol xix, no. 3 (August,
8 ibid: 112.
^ A.G. Morrison. Drapery, Interior Decoration and Architecture: A Practical Handbook for
the Dealer. Decorator and the Workroom . New York: T. A. Cawthra & Company, 1906: 22.
small arsenal of Eastern weaponry. lO Mrs. Hughes presumably derived
the composition of her cosy corner from illustrations like figure 3.7, which
appeared in Streitenfeld's Decorator's Portfolio, published concurrently in
New York and Berlin in 1885.il
The Islamic style in America was not defined solely by the cosy
corner. Several other key elements of design in fabric were almost as
synonymous with the exotic East. The portiere, perhaps the most
ubiquitous drapery of the turn of the century, played a prominent and
long lasting role in Americans' conception of Eastern interiors. In 1881, at
the height of the exotic Islamic rage, Constance Cary Harrison noted that
"there is something thoroughly Eastern in the conception of a portiere.
The stirring of its stately drapery seems to bring to the senses a waft from
'far Cathay.' Throughout all the glittering phantasmagoria of the Arabian
Nights, this curtain plays an important part." 1 2 in addition to the
associations replete in each swishing portiere, its (relative) affordability
may account for its lengthy popularity. Harrison went on to point out
that, "difficult as it would be for most of us to provide the house fittings
mentioned as accompanying the portieres for the Arabian Nights,
'columns of jasper with bases and capitals of purest gold,' 'urns of
porphyry and carpets of cloth of gold strewn with precious stones and
10 Joseph Byron. New York Interiors at the Turn of the Century . New York: Dover
Publishing, 1976: figure 35.
1 1 A. & L. Streitenfeld. The Decorator's Portfolio . New York: Hessling and Spielmeyer,
1^ Constance Cary Harrison. Woman's Handiwork in Modem Homes . New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1881: 160.
musk and ambergris,' there is no doubt of a [portiere's] picturesque effect
in any home."^^
Many design critics emphasized that portieres were largely intended
as a winter decoration. Hester Poole, in her description of a summer parlor
stated that "Heavy hangings have long been shaken and packed away, and
all the textile fabrics, such as tidies, "throws" and needless draperies
stripped from the parlor .... To see bright, deep, brilliant colors in
midsummer, is to feel warm whether one is or is not."^'*
Portieres were advocated as an easy way to create a comforting space
in which people wanted to linger. Zella Milhau described in Decorator
and Furnisher how many "modern homes" had alcoves in the second
floor hallway. She recommended that if this alcove were not being used
as a supplemental bedroom, it could be converted into a cosy nook.
Portieres could be used to "cut off the alcove from the larger apartment."
They functioned as the transition between the more public space into this
quiet private space, ornamented with the "Moresque lattice work, now so
much in vogue". ^^ Constance Cary Harrison reminded her readers that,
"the portiere should not repeat the curtains of a room .... the tint of the
drapery in the doorway may be more vivid, or less so, than the window
curtains. But be sure the coloring is controlled by the other decorations of
the room." 16
13 Harrison: 160.
1'* Hester M. Poole. "Housekeeping: Up Stairs, Down Stairs and in my Lady's Chamber."
Household News, vol. IV (1896): 276.
15 Milhau: 111-112.
16 Harrison: 120.
Ten years after Harrison had praised the use of portieres,
Bloomingdale's offered "Turcoman portieres" in garnet, blue, ohve, gold,
terra-cotta or steel for $4.25 per pair.^^ Sears, Roebuck and Company first
advertised a pair chenille portieres in their 1896 catalogue. The curtains
offered by Sears were three yards long with "handsome wide chenille
fringe on the top, four inches deep, with chenille tassels on the bottom"
and cost $2.50 per pair. Imported portieres, though the catalogue does not
specify from where they were imported, were available for $3.25 per pair.
Only one type of portiere was illustrated in the 1897 catalogue though
Sears offered five types. The following year. Sears added another style of
portiere and chose to illustrate four of the varieties they offered for sale.
The eastern ambiance of these portieres, which had only been implied in
the 1896 catalogue, was more fully articulated in the 1897 catalogue where
illustrations depicted a pair of tapestry curtains hanging before a room
with a low divan (see figure 3.8). An exotic animal rug lay on the floor in
front of the divan and a shield with two swords was displayed on the wall
behind the divan. This and other illustrations in the catalogue specifically
articulated the direct connection between portieres and "Eastern" interiors
for readers who might not have otherwise been aware of this design trend.
By 1902, Sears, Roebuck offered three pages of "wonderful values in
chenille, tapestry, and Oriental curtains." These included "Oriental
portieres" for $5.75 per pair, "ottoman portieres" for $4.25, and "new
1^ Bloomingdale Brothers. Illustrated Fashion Catalogue. Spring and Summer 1891 . New
York: Bloonungdale Brothers, 1891: 79.
handsome 36 inch Bagdad (sic) Draperies," which sold for 15 cents per yard
and could be constructed by the consumer (see figure 3.9). ^^
Portieres still maintained a prominent place in the Sears Catalogue
of 1915. In fact, most styles offered that year were less expensive than their
turn of the century counterparts, with prices ranging from $1.49 to $4.75.
Although three portiere patterns were advertised in the 1929 Sears
catalogue, their prominence as the most fashionable parlor accessory had
waned by the 1930s.
The pervasive use of portieres during the second half of the
nineteenth century sparmed all classes. Even those people who were
unable to afford the portieres sold in the Sears Catalogue were given
guidance on how to make their own. Almon Varney published a book in
1882 on decorating houses with limited financial resources. He advocated
the use of portieres as an element of hospitality. "A beautiful room is far
more beautiful when there is no square means of egress suggesting the
unpleasant idea of departure. Where, however, the means are limited,
one pretty portiere covering, or replacing an ugly door, or curtaining an
outside one, gives an air of taste and elegance. "^^ Varney emphasized the
ease with which these elements of "elegance" could be made with little
monetary expenditure. In addition to providing the directions for creating
inexpensive portieres, he assured his readers that their homemade efforts
at decorating could be tasteful, as well as inexpensive. He related the story
of a "friend [who] had a bare, cheap, new cottage. Money was not
1^ Sears, Roebuck, and Company. Catalogue #111 . Chicago: Sears, Roebuck and Company,
1^ Almon Varney. Our Homes and their Adornments . Detroit: J.C. Chilton and Company,
abundant. Old grandmother-woven indigo-blue woolen blankets were.
She began sewing in little figures - stars, crescents, and odd stitches in
colored silks - and the woolen blanket became a gorgeous fabric. It was
hung with wooden rungs on a length of gilded gas pipe midway in the
bare hall, and your first impressions entering were of Eastern richness. "20
Vamey went so far as to recommend that portieres be made of fabric
that was useless for any other purpose, "though the temptation is great to
cut up what might be turned to better account."^^ Varney suggested that
both portieres and curtains could be made "out of old silk rag carpets, yes!,
nothing more or less. Old silks, even soiled and faded, are cut in strips as
for carpet and either woven with cotton warp, or better still knitted upon
fine ivory needles in stripes and tastefully joined together. "22
Twenty-five years after Almon Varney suggested making portieres
out of fabric scraps, Clara Laughlin offered suggestions on how women
could sew their own portieres. Laughlin, a leader in the emerging field of
domestic science and an advocate for lower-middle-class women,
published The Complete Home in 1907, which offered advice to
housewives on the maintenance and inexpensive decoration of their
homes. She maintained that the portieres made from "plain goods in
dull, soft greens, blues and browns with conventional designs in applique
or outlining, are not only inexpensive but artistic to a high degree and are
easily fashioned by home talent. "23
20 ibid: 260.
21 ibid: 261.
22 ibid: 261.
23 Oara Laughlin, editor. The Complete Home . New York: D. Appleton & Company,
The large Oriental textile portieres, whether purchased from a
dealer, the Sears Catalogue, or homemade, were soon joined in American
homes by portieres in materials even more tenuously linked to their
Eastern design sources than the fabric portieres. Portieres made of velvet
cord, known as "rope portieres" were added to the Sears Catalogue in 1900
(see figure 3.10). Sears offered this sampling of alternative portieres in
1915: "hand made leather portieres or mission draperies"; "strictly Mission
style .... beautiful California Leather drapery"; and "a leather portiere
specially designed to meet the demands of the modern home. "24 Sears
also offered a red and green rope portiere for 87 cents in the Christmas
section of the 1925 Catalogue.25 Hester Poole described several of these
new types of portieres to her readers:
Bamboo and bead portieres as a rule, are about three yards
long, though some are made shorter. For five dollars one can
be procured that is made entirely of beads, either with colored
on a white ground or vice versaP-^
Clara Laughlin disapproved of these alternative portieres: "Beaded,
bamboo, and rope affairs are neither draperies nor curtain, graceful, useful,
nor ornamental, and care consequently not to be considered. "^"^
Hester Poole suggested in the Household News that her financially-
limited readers decorate their portieres by sewing one foot of fish netting
to the bottom of portieres and tying small silk tassels to the bottom of the
24 Sears, Roebuck, and Company. Catalogue #131 . Chicago: Sears, Roebuck and Company,
25 Sears, Roebuck and Company. Catalog ue. Chicago: Sears, Roebuck and Company,
26 Poole. "Homekeeping: Up Stairs, Down Stairs and in my Lady's Chamber." Household
News, vol IV (1896): 276.
27 Laughlin: 257.
netting. The dark recesses of a room could be enlivened with "two or
three rows of those cheap, brass sequins sold at trimming shops, [which]
would illuminate the portiere of a dark room." She also recommended
that "when a dark hanging is used in a dark room, it can be enlivened by
edging the trimming with a row of small Turkish coins. "28 Poole asserted
that many of her cost cutting measures resulted in better products than
those available for sale, perhaps to give her readers the impression that
through their own handiwork, they were creating more tasteful interiors.
She maintained that "Bagdad portieres and couch covers have been so
popular that the latter weaves are exceedingly flimsy and coarse." Sears
Roebuck offered a wide variety of Bagdad portieres and couch covers in
their catalogues until the mid 1930's. Poole suggested that her readers
acquire one of these portieres and some "common narrow grey crash." By
ripping the portiere into bands and sewing it onto "any plain coarse cotton
or woolen stuff". . . ."[t]he stripes may then be made into beautiful borders
for plain portieres. Although the stripes are of different colors, the effect is
better than if the edges were all alike."29 This technique would allow a
frugal housewife to ornament all of the doorways and windows of her
house with the purchase of only one pair of Bagdad portieres.
Divan and Couch Covers
Tapestry couch covers were used to cover old and frayed couches as
well as to augment the room's ornamental decor. Imported couch covers
were constructed of strips of fabric in different colors, which were
subsequently sewn together. Couch covers were initially imported from
28 ibid: 612, 660.
29 ibid: 613.
the Near East but as they became harder to find, companies like John Pray,
Bloomingdales and Sears all began offering couch covers reproduced in
domestic mills. The domestic cover in figure 3.11 is one piece of cloth; the
stitching along the bands was meant to imitate an imported cover which
had been pieced together. In 1906, John H. Pray and Sons offered Artloom
Tapestry curtains, which could also be used as couch covers, in Roman
and Baghdad stripes for between $1.50 and $2.50 (see figure 3.12). 30 A five
dollar reversible, "rich and heavy couch cover .... of eastern design .... is
just the thing for a cosy corner, library, or living room .... A cover
thrown over an old couch gives to the surroundings an air of luxury. "31
Sears, Roebuck and Company devoted two pages of the 1915 catalogue to
Oriental couch covers which ranged in price from $1.25 to $4.25.32 The
Ladies Home Journal encouraged its middle-income readers to subscribe
by offering "the pearl rug-maker" to a "club of five yearly subscribers."
This 75 cent contraption was advertised as "the easiest and most
economical process ever invented for making rag- and Turkish rugs,
Ottoman and Furniture covers and Cloak trimmings. "3 3
Oriental rugs were (and are) the last vestige of this style to figure
prominently in American interiors. They were among the first objects
imported into Europe in the 15th century. Despite the continued
preference for imported rugs, most nineteenth-century Americans were
30 John H. Pray. Ru g and Carpet Book, catalogue no. 31. Boston: John H. Pray and Sons
Company, 1906: 54.
31 Pray: 54.
32 Sears, Roebuck and Company. Catalogue # 131 . 1915: 1017-1018.
33 "The Pearl Rug-Maker." Ladies Home Journal. (June 1890): 33.
unable to afford them. Consequently, machine woven rugs became quite
popular. In 1906, John Pray and Sons offered the Waverly Wiltons in
figure 3.13, which were based on Oriental designs and the Temple Brussels
carpets in figure 3.14, which recall Islamic prayer rugs. 3"*
Hester Poole reassured her readers that, "if an Oriental rug is too
expensive, then an American Smyrna, 9x12, will be sufficiently large for a
room 16x16."^^ Sears, Roebuck and Company, that arbiter of struggling
middle-class taste, offered small "Smyrna Rugs" for $1.08 in their 1897
catalogue (see figure 3.15). 36 In the event that readers did not associate
"Smyrna" with the port in Asia Minor, the advertisement was
accompanied by an illustration of a wise old man wearing an enormous
fez and a Turkish vest, kneeling on the Smyrna rug in prayer.37 In a
section devoted to the variety of reproduction Orientals, Poole offered her
readers suggestions on the choice of colors and patterns among the
imitation Daghestan carpeting, the Wiltons with "designs on sombre (sic)
ground, and Moorish figures in geometrical designs," and the "medium
dark carpetings" which mimic the "dull coloring of Turkish rugs. "38
Poole acknowledged the debt that the Western world owed to the
East for elevating American design standards via these imported rugs.
She "rejoiced in the popularization of [Oriental] patterns, as they are the
34 Pray: 3.
35 Hester Poole. "Answers to Inquirers: Cottage Decorations." Household News, vol III.
3o Fred L. Israel, editor. 1897 Sears. Roebuck Catalogue . New York: Chelsea house
37 Smyrna, now Iznrvir, is a large port city on the Turkish coast, south of Istanbul.
38 Israel: 745.
educators for our people. "^^ A.G. Morrison shared Hester Poole's opinion
on Oriental rugs. He believed that "the Oriental rug will give the finishing
touch to a room, even if of American manufacture .... I believe in using
the constructive and decorative ideas of older nations to the advancement
of our own civilization. It will take centuries of investigation to exhaust
the reservoirs of Oriental art.'^^^
Art Amateur lamented the arrival of the "British Civilizer" into
Turkey, who brought with him a "various array of aniline
abominations."**^ These dyes threatened to destroy the "tradition of
Eastern carpet makers. "'*2 Americans in the post-industrial world were
nostalgically drawn to hand-made Oriental carpets. Hester Poole asserted
that, "no machine work can ever vie with that handwork. "'^^ Art
Amateur maintained that "the Oriental rug [was] a product of Eastern life
.... the religion of the people became the impulse and guiding spirit of
the deft women's fingers, that spread the knotted mystic cover in the
homes and shrines of the Orient.'"*'* While celebrating the handicrafts of
what they believed to be a pre-industrial nation, Americans also celebrated
their own advanced culture.
Even after machine woven carpeting became available, design
critics encouraged people to purchase an "authentic" Oriental rug. Charles
Locke Eastlake asserted that he preferred Oriental rugs which emerged
39 Poole, vol ni: 744.
'*^ Morrison: 24.
'*! "Turkey Carpets." Art Amateur, vol xiii, no. 4 (March, 1886): 90.
'*3 Hester Poole. "Home Decoration-How to Beautify the Home-Rugs of Various Kinds."
Household News, vol II (1894): 370.
'^ Art Amateur, vol xxiii, no. 1 (January, 1889): 51.
from the individual ability of the weaver, rather than the mass-produced
oriental carpets produced by a machine.'*^ Eastlake, a prosperous and well-
educated Englishman, distinguished the expensive (and therefore more
stylish) hand-woven Oriental rugs from more affordable mass-produced
rugs. Eastlake surreptitiously focused on the craftsmanship of the rugs
rather than their prices to differentiate these rugs. The expense of hand-
woven Oriental rugs prohibited most people from acquiring them.
Affluent members of society, terrified of losing their positions of
superiority, needed only to deem the most expensive versions of any
object as the trendiest, thereby keeping the middle-class forever at bay.
In 1881, Ella Rodman Church offered advice on how to furnish a
home in her book of the same title. She acknowledged the basic
connection between the Oriental rug and the exotic Islamic or Turkish
style which emerged in American homes at the time. She discouraged the
installation of wall to wall carpeting because the individualization of a
carpet for a room frequently made it useless in a different space. She also
advocated a "large square, or oblong rug, showing all around it a yard or so
of dark polished floor. A bordering of inlaid woodwork is very pretty, and
not much more expensive than first class Brussels carpet. Such a floor-
covering has a sort of old-time and Eastern look about it.'"^^ A column in
Art Amateur on "suggestions for an Oriental room" recommended that
"if detached Persian rugs are to be used, the floor should be first covered
^^ Charles Locke Eastlake. Hints on Household Taste, dted in Victorian Interior
Decoration: American Interiors 1830-1900, by Gail Caskey Winkler and Roger W. Moss.
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1986: 153.
^" Ella Rodman Church. How to Furnish a Home . New York: D. Appleton and Company,
with a good Indian red matting, or if that be considered too bold, a sombre-
colored ingrain carpet, without design, or a felt.'"*^
The Oriental rug was retained in many homes even after people
had abandoned all of the other design elements discussed in this thesis.
Ironically the first metaphor for the East to enter Western homes remains
the oiUy vestige of this style to be found in American homes today.
John Stephenson's Drapers' Catalogue: 1913 and 1926
Tracking the dissemination of any style is difficult when comparing
dated material from sources which were created for different audiences.
An extremely fashionable text geared toward an elite audience bore little
resemblance to the Sears Catalogue published the same year. Editions of a
drapers' handbook published by John Stephenson in 1913 and again in
1926, invite a unique comparison of how the "Turkish style" changed over
the interverung years. These books were presumably intended for similar
audiences and reflect the interests of a specific body of Americans during
The 1913 edition of John Stephenson's Cutting and Draping: a
Practical Handbook included a section on "interior groupings, cosy
corners, and wall hangings." Stephenson advised his readers that cosy
corners were "applicable and suitable in almost every room of the house."
He emphasized that care should be taken in placing the cosy corner in an
appropriate space." A cosy seat should never be placed in a position where
its presence would cause a nuisance, as its atmosphere is retiring, it should
occupy the least conspicuous position. It is not intended as a single seat.
^^ "The Decoration of Our Homes, vii: Suggestions for an Oriental Room," Art Amateur, vol
xiv, no. 5 (April, 1887): 110.
and should therefore be fairly commodious but not oppressively large.'"^^
Stephenson offered suggestions on the color of these cosy seats and
included a variety of ink drawings of simple tufted seats and benches. The
drawing with the most overt references to the East illustrated a low couch
piled with pillows. Four swords were arranged on the wall behind the
couch and a canopy of fabric over the couch was constructed out of "two
scarf draperies and a pair of curtains. '"^^ Although this edition still
retained a section on cosy corners, few of the drawings bore any
resemblance to the elaborately draped, festooned, and armored cosy
comers of the 1890s.
Stephenson eliminated the entire section on wall hangings and cosy
comers from the 1926 edition. The designs in general are much crisper and
more modern than those in the 1913 edition. Curiously, the "Turkish
style" resurfaced in a different section of the second addition. A bed
canopy which had been described in the 1913 edition as a "French
Canopy," was enlarged and labeled in the 1926 edition as a "Turkish
Canopy .... which adapts itself very readily to the decoration of some
simple types of beds."^^ This elaborate ornamentation with fabrics
demanded that much of the furniture in the room be comparatively
simple. The onion dome of the canopy and the author's residual interest
in the Near East may have inspired the alteration of the canopy's title.
^^ John W. Stephenson. Cutting and Draping: A Practical Handbook for Upholsterers and
Decorators . New York: Clifford & Lawton, 1913: 93.
49 ibid: 93, figure 136.
^^ John W. Stephenson. Drapery Cutting and Making: A Practical Handbook for Drapery
Workers. Upholsterers, and Interior Decorators . New York: Clifford & Lawton, 1926: 76.
The Demise of the Cosy Corner
By the turn of the century, weahhy and fashion-conscious
Americans had ceased to "Islamicize" their interiors, preferring instead
the sparser Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts interiors featured in the
new women's magazines like House Beautiful and House and Garden.
These publications replaced the many out-dated and limping or defunct
women's magazines of the nineteenth century.
In the early years of the twentieth century, many writers on interior
decoration were critical of the opulence of Victorian interiors. The
lingering popularity of the cosy corner among middle-class Americans was
perhaps best proven by frequent and vehement denouncements of it after
the turn of the century. Critics rarely felt compelled to condemn design
trends adopted by a minority of the population. One of the most scathing
of these critiques appeared in The Practical Handbook of Interior
Decoration, published in 1919. After a relatively emotionless history of
the evolution of interior design, the authors devoted an entire chapter to
bombasting the "Nineteenth Century Episodes and After."
By their standards, all design for nearly a century had been
thoroughly offensive: "After about 1830, architecture, furniture design and
the practice of decorative furnishing slumped into a dismal vale of
barrenness or of revolting vulgarities and simpering inanities, a
deplorable state with almost no bright spots at all to relieve the artificiality,
dreariness, and stupidity." After ridiculing Gothic Revival and the Empire
Style, they tackled, "the still more atrocious whimsicalities of the
Centennial fashion with bird-box masses and details that were a most
unhappy medley derived from Gothic tracery, Moorish fretwork, and
Hamburg edging. "^i The cosy corner was given individual attention later
in the text of this roasting. In a section on "other decorative accessories
and moveable decoration," they maintained that "this dreary period of
progressive horrors .... reached its culmination in the Turkish cosy
corner with all the grotesque and inappropriate accompaniments thereto
As the industrial revolution made a wide variety of goods more
accessible to middle-income Americans, differentiating oneself as a
member of the elite became more complicated. In the conclusion of The
Practical Book of Interior Decoration, the authors betray their anxiety over
class consciousness through their interpretation of nineteenth-century
One cause, perhaps, for all the dreary, expensive banality and
lack of either humanity or a modicum of taste was the fact
that it was a period of preeminently material prosperity and
rapid accumulation of wealth which brought to the fore a
vast crowd of nouveaux riches who had neither the
knowledge nor traditions back of them to impel them to
The elite abandoned design styles and fashions almost as soon as they
were adopted by Americans with more limited incomes. Industrialization
of the textile industry allowed lower-middle and middle-income
Americans to copy wealthy Americans more quickly than they had ever
5 ^ Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot McQure and Edward Stratton Holloway. The
Practical Book of Interior Decoration . Philadelphia and London: J.B. Lippincott Company,
53 ibid: 175.
been able to do before. Loath to be mistaken for middle-class Americans,
upper-class Americans were forced to develop new and increasingly
complex ways to differentiate themselves. The concept of "authenticity"
assumed an increasingly important role because of its usefulness in, often
arbitrarily, differentiating those "in the know" from the masses. A.G.
Morrison asked the rhetorical question, "What kind of a cosy corner can
you get for $7.98? The first corner I ever saw, about fifteen years ago [circa
1890], was upholstered in hair and springs and cost $60 at retail." He
criticized the, "unscrupulous dealers who try to cheapen everything and
thereby kill the sale of respectable stiiff."54 Asserting that the simple act of
developing inexpensive varieties of fashionable goods would invariably
destroy their stylishness, conveniently allowed wealthy Americans to
dismiss more affordable mass-produced goods.
A "FABULOUS SECRET ROOM"
The Moorish Study of Dr. Joseph Jastrow
One of the most interesting manifestations of a Turkish interior in
a modest American home survived until the mid 1970's in the attic of a
house in Madison, Wisconsin. Joseph Jastrow, who was a professor of
psychology at the University of Wisconsin, and his wife, Rachel Jastrow,
built the four story house on Langdon Street in 1892. Jastrow and several
assistants spent almost twenty years constructing a Moorish private study
on the top floor of the house. Jastrow's comparatively limited financial
situation and his identity as a recently immigrated Polish Jew denied him
a place in the blue-blooded bastions of society. Yet, as an intellectual and a
highly educated leader in his field, Jastrow's Moorish study differed from
the many Turkish interiors created in American homes with purchases
from Sears, Bloomingdales and the bazaars at the World's Columbian
Exposition. Like Boas and Putnam, the heads of the Department of
Ethnology and Archaeology at the World's Columbian Exposition, Jastrow
was concerned with the accuracy of his recreated interior. He filled his
study with "authentic" woodwork, fabrics, lamps and furniture gathered
in the Near East.
Joseph Jastrow had immigrated to the United States from Poland
with his parents in 1869. His father, who was a rabbi, assumed the
leadership of the Rodeph Shalom congregation upon his arrival in
Philadelphia. Joseph Jastrow received both his undergraduate degree and
master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1886, he earned
his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first recipient of a
Ph.D. in psychology from that institution. ^
In 1888, Jastrow married Rachel Szold, the daughter of a Baltimore
rabbi. Together, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where Jastrow
became the first professor of experimental and comparative psychology at
the University. They remained in Wisconsin until Rachel Jastrow's death
in 1927, when Jastrow returned to the East coast to work at the New School
for Sodal Research in New York. He retired in 1933 and died in 1944, at
the age of 79.2
While in Wisconsin, the Jastrows built a comfortable and spacious
home, which they named the Altruria, at 237 Langdon Street. They had
initially lived in a small apartment provided by the University. They
chose to build the house on Langdon Street because Joseph Jastrow "had a
penchant for entertaining - both because he enjoyed it and because it was
essential for advancement. "^ However, after living in the house for
several years, the Jastrows determined that the house was too large for
them. The couple chose to renovate the house into a series of apartments
because it was "far too large for a childless couple and far too expensive to
maintain on a professor's salary.'"* They proceeded to convert the first two
1 Unpublished biography of Joseph Jastrow. Mss 276 in the Archives of the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin.
^ Alexandra Lee Levin. "U. Co-ed Finds Uncle's Moorish Den is Still Fantastic." The
Capitol Times (Madison, Wisconsin), May 4, 1962. In File 2808, Sound and Visual Archives
of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
floors into apartments for rent, reserving the third floor and the attic for
their own use.
Despite Jastrow's primary interest in psychology, he was also an
amateur architect and interior designer. Jastrow recounted the process of
the renovation in an article he wrote for House Beautiful in 1909: "A Top-
Floor Apartment: An Amateur Adventure." Referring to himself in the
third person as "the Professor," Jastrow asserted that he had "just enough
skill of hand and knowledge of processes to be able to appreciate the
possibilities of things. He also [had] some amateur notions in regard to
matters architectural and decorative. "5 Jastrow hired a professional
architect to ensure that his proposed changes were structurally sound, but
designed all of the aesthetic changes to the space himself. He transformed
the third floor into an apartment consisting of a reception room, study,
dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and three bedrooms.^
Pen and ink drawings and photographs included in the article
illustrated many of the imique additions to the apartment. Jastrow
maintained that the candleabrum and wrought iron fixtures had
"originally - some two hundred years ago or more - dimly illuminated
some castle wall in the north of England."^ Each of the rooms in the
apartment were decorated in a different style. The dining room suggested
a seventeenth-century Dutch interior with the tiles around the fireplace
mantle and the tiles on floor of the adjoining conservatory. The reception
^ Joseph Jastrow. "A Tof>-Floor Apartment: An Amateur Adventure." Reprinted with
additional illustrations from House Beautiful, August 1909: 4. In File 2808, Sound and
Visual Archives of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
6 ibid: 6.
7 ibid: 17.
room was decorated in the French Empire Style, though, "the ceiUng is a
soUd Japanese gilt paper-cloth. "* Jastrow regarded the fireplace in the
study as the "center of all family and social life." He designed a mantle for
the fireplace in the study which incorporated the panels of a Germanic
blanket chest from 1780.9
Jastrow only made a passing reference to the component of the
renovation with the most lasting interest for our purposes. He stated that
"it should be noted that the apartment has an extension in a commodious
attic under the roof."^^ He spoke briefly about the ladder which provided
the only access to the attic space and about the skylight in the roof which
illuminated both the attic and the third floor passageway. The attic study
was meant to provide a place "to which the Professor may retire when he
desires a retreat from the life of the apartment." ii This seemingly
straightforward description of the attic belied the wondrous alterations
which Jastrow had undertaken in his private retreat for study and
Further hints of the Eastern oasis in the attic were found on a
standardized invitation to tea with the Jatrows which survives in the
collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. This card, with
blanks for the appropriate date and time, states that "a cup of tea and a
welcome await you at The Studio." A pen and ink drawing illustrates the
1780 chest-fireplace mantle which was ornamented with a menorah and a
8 ibid: 13.
9 ibid: 7,9.
10 ibid: 23.
fringed shawl. A steaming teapot rests on a small tabouret table, which
stands in front of a low divan with pillows. ^^
Two newspaper articles from 1953 and 1954 and a series of
photographs taken in the early 1960's document the surprisingly
unchanged interior. The "Fabulous Secret Room" was described in 1953 as
"one of the most beautiful and unusual rooms on this continent." ^^
Despite these rather hyperbolic assertions, Jastrow's private study was
certainly one of the most elaborate exotic Islamic interiors in the United
States to survive long after the penchant for decorating in the Moorish
style had passed.
The ladder to the attic from the third floor provided access to a
hcdlway which was "six feet wide and twenty feet long, where soft lights
glowed behind delicately carved walnut walls and pierced brass hanging
lamps shed a soft glow on a silver ceiling painted in a blue and green
design. "''^ All of the walls were ornamented with elaborately tooled wood
panelling; many sections were inlaid with mother of pearl (see figures 4.1,
4.2, and 4.3). The skylight in the hallway resembled a sunset and was
purportedly copied from an Egyptian skylight in the collection of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Electric lights behind the latticed wall-
carvings enhanced the glow of the skylight on gray days and at night. Both
ends of the hall were dominated by a pair of doors. In a letter written in
^2 Invitation in File 2808, Sound and Visual Archives of the State Historical Society of
13 "Fabulous Secret Room in Home Here." The Capitol Times. (Madison, Wisconsin),
February 19, 1953. The Sound and Visual Archives of the State Historical Society of
Wisconsin, folder 2808: unpaginated.
1932, Jastrow explained that he had designed the hallway to represent the
division between men's and women's spaces in a "Moorish house.''^^
Despite his desire to create the two distinct spaces implied by these doors,
space in the attic was limited. One set of these doors was false; the other set
opened into the main room of the floor. One wonders which space, the
haremlik or the salemlik, Jastrow envisioned entering each time he
passed through the doorway.
The room beyond the doors was a square room, eighteen feet wide.
A large dome dominated the otherwise low ceiling of the room (see figure
4.4). The dome was painted green and blue on silver leaf like the ceiling in
the hall, but was also ornamented with inlaid mother of pearl. Jastrow
claimed that most of the woodwork incorporated in the interior was
imported from Syria for an "Oriental shop" in New York City. He hired F.
Furman Martin, a student at the University of Wisconsin, and an assistant
to carve the additional woodwork. ^^ In her hand- written annotations to a
published article about the renovations, Martin's daughter asserted that
her father had carved nearly all of the woodwork in the attic himself. ^^
Sally Levin, Jastrow's grandniece visited the house in 1961 and
found the "Moorish room" still largely intact. Levin took the photographs
in figures 4.3 and 4.5 during this visit. She described the room in a letter
to her parents: "The walls are all inlaid with mother-of-pearl in lovely
designs, while the door is carved in elaborate detail. Behind the carved
wood is red paper and when Mrs. Blank [the present occupant] turned on
^^ Correspondence quoted in "Fabulous 'Secret Room' in Home Here.": unpaginated.
^" "Fabulous 'Secret Room' in Home Here.": unpaginated.
the lights behind the panel, it glowed throught the interstices in the
wood. "18 A professor from Baghdad visited the house in 1961 with Sally
Levin. The professor was able to read many of the Arabic inscriptions
painted on the hallyway ceiling and on some of the wall panelling in the
attic study. Although the phrases were in an archaic script, the professor
translated many of them for Levin: "Work is like a fruit .... The fruit of
wisdom is rest the fruit of money is anxiety .... Science is like a seed."!^
Grille work was applied to the three windows of the main room in
the attic to create the impression that the room had six small ogee-
bracketed windows. Brass lamps were hung on the wall between each of
these "windows." Many of the niches contained shelves for Jastrow's
collection of objet d'art. Several benches lined the walls of the room,
remiruscent of the wall divans in Turkish homes. Long couch pillows in
blue, red and yellow striped fabric covered the benches (see figure 4.5). The
wooden benches themselves were "ornamented with an elaborately inlaid
floral pattern in which the flowers are of pearl or ivory and the leaves and
stems are either silver or pewter. "20
Jastrow designed a table reminiscent of the ubiquitous tabouret table
for the center of the room, based on tables that he had seen in Cairo. The
table opened to reveal inclosed seats and a dining surface. One of the walls
of the study contained a recessed niche which resembled an altar. Jastrow
used the exterior to store books and art objects. Alexandra Levin, Jastrow's
1° Correspondence from Sally Levin to her parents, 1961, quoted in Lee Levin: unpaginated.
1" Lee Levin: unpaginated.
20 Correspondence from Sally Levin to her parents, 1961, quoted in Lee Levin: unpaginated.
niece, explained that the altar could be opened with a crank "to reveal the
professor's constantly used typewriter. "^i
Jastrow intended for the study in the attic to be a quiet work space
for himself as well as a place to display some of the objects that he had
collected around the world. In addition to the objects that Jastrow had
acquired on his own journeys, he enlisted the help of his brother-in-law,
Louis Levin. In 1915, Levin travelled to Palestine with a food supply boat
to support people empoverished during the Second World War.22 /
Jastrow wrote Levin on March 3, 1915, expressing his best wishes for the
journey, but articulating in great detail the specific design elements he
hoped that his brother-in-law could acquire for him while there:
What I need most of all is tiles; and if you get old ones you are safe.
They will be dominantly in blues, relieved by turquoise shades;
yellows may enter but sparingly. I doubt whether you will find any
reds in them; at all events they should be avoided. The real
Damascus antiques reflect the Persian and Rhodesian patterns.
These are dear and rare, and I do not hope for them. You may find
one or two at a bargain probably broken but if not too seriously, still
valauable (sic) Provided the colors are as in the old, I would take
the new. Large, bold designs should be avoided. Delicate, small /
ones simple rather than intricate are desired. "^^
He requested about 150 tiles for a total of between $15 to $30. Desiring to
take advantage of the difficult financial situation of the area during the
war, Jastrow pointed out that "there is really very little demand for this
sort of thing and money is scarce. So there is really a chance for a great find
.... You will doubtless meet some one who will have to take a week and
2^ Lee Levin: unpaginated.
23 Correspondence from Joseph Jastrow to Louis Levin, March 3, 1915. In File 2808, Sound
and Visual Archives of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
use up a Koran of argument in getting them, but such is Ufe for a long-
lived people. "2"* After more discussion of the types of tile patterns he
sought, Jastrow concluded the letter with a different request. "I don't want
any knickknacks but good old big (not too big) things for little money. My
room is dominantly Moorish; but that tradition goes back to Damascus, so
that you tap it at its source."25 He justified the introduction of inaccurate
objects from Damascus into his Moorish interior by stressing Moorish
culture's origins in the Middle East. Although it is unknown whether
Levin was able to acquire any tiles or other ornamental features for
Jastrow's attic on his journey, this letter articulated Jastrow's concern for
some measure of "authenticity" in the interior he was constructing in
The Jastrows apparently did not regularly entertain in this space.
However, they did provide private viewings for several well known
artists, including Albert Herter (1871-1950) and Edward Blashfield (1863-
1942), prominent muralists, and the architect, Ralph Adams Cram (1848-
1936). Cram was presumably intrigued by the interior. More than twenty-
five years before his visit to Jastrow's retreat, he published an article on "A
Smoking Alcove" in The Decorator and Furnisher. Despite Cram's
general aversion to the "system of decorating a room in some particular
style," he conceeded that "giving a distinct Oriental character to this
alcove" was only a "superficial" sin, "[so] long as the character of the
nineteenth century is preserved. "26 Cram asserted that the Near Eastern
26 Ralph A. Cram. "A Smoking Alcove." The Decorator and Furnisher,
style was ideal for a smoking room because, "one always associates
Orientalism with a luxurious smoke and because an Oriental atmosphere
is the most conducive to rest and drowsiness. "^^
Like Frederick Church, Jay Govild, and Frederick Lauterbach, the
Jastrows incorporated elaborate elements of the exotic Islamic style in their
home at the turn of the century.28 Although the Jastrows were quite well
educated and were prominent members of the University community,
they were firmly entrenched in the upper echelons of the intellectual
Middle Class in the United States. Madison, Wisconsin was only
emerging as a Midwest center of culture during the Jastrow's occupation.
Rachel Jastrow, like her husband, moved in the intellectual circles
of Madison. Although some socially prominent women participated in
the women's suffrage movement, it was primarily orchestrated and fueled
by white middle-class women, aspiring to increased power and mobility
for women in the American social hierarchy. Rachel Jastrow annotated a
photograph taken in 1915 of herself in an open auto with a "Vote for
Women" banner draped across the back with these words: "this happened
last Spring. I promise not to do it again altho (sic) matters are getting
lively out here and great pressure is brought to bear!"29
vol. viii, no. 3 (June 1886): 78.
28 The Moorish Hall at Jay Gould's Manhattan home was highlighted in an article in The
Decorator and Furnisher in July, 1883. Joseph Byron photographed the "Islamic" hall in
Edward Lauterbach's house at 2 East 78th Street in 1899. In New York Interiors at the Turn
of the Century . Text by Clay Lancaster. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1976.
29 Loose photograph of Rachel Szold Jastrow, 1915. File 2808 in the Photoarchives of the
State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Financially, professionally, and socially, the Jastrows were members
of the Middle Class. Yet, they were members of the intellectual elite of the
United States. They also vacationed in Bar Harbor, Maine, the summer
residence of some of the leading families of the nation. The Jastrows
rented an old farm house from Mrs. J. Pierpont Morgan on Mt. Desert
Island in Bar Harbor during the summers of 1924 and 1925. Jastrow
converted the barn on the property into a second "Moorish fantasy,"
though this barn was destroyed by fire during the 1940s.30 Their desire to
rent property during the summer on an island frequented by many of the
wealthiest families in America further supports the assertion that the
Jastrows were responding to the tastes of the elite in nearly every aspect of
The Jastrows' adaptation of the attic in the house in Madison,
Wisconsin was a direct attempt to create a leisured space or at least the
impression of leisure within their largely regulated lifestyle. Jastrow's
interest in creating an accurate Moorish interior is both a funtion of his
role as an intellectual and his overriding Victorian concern with
identifying design styles by their "original" sources.
Jastrow's elaborate interior was lovingly created with the same
intentions that had driven Frederick Church to build Olana, an intense
interest in the Near East and a desire to illustrate one's worldliness. Art
journals published articles in the 1880s and 1890s on interiors like
Jastrow's study, but Jastrow did not begin work on his Eastern interior
^^ Alexandra Lee Levin. Correspondence to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
December 11, 1962. In File 2808, Sound and Visual Archives of the State Historical Society
until after the 1907 renovation of the house. Over seven years later,
Jastrow was still working on the rooms, as evidenced by the solicitation of
his brother-in-law for imported goods. Jastrow apparently did not
consider the room finished when he left Madison in 1927. Even when
Jastrow began the installation in 1907, the crest of the Islamic design wave
had already fallen. Jastrow was imitating the interior decorating trends of
the American elite twenty years after they had abandoned these ideas in
favor of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Colonial Revival.
Although the product of Jastrow's labor resembled the opulent interiors of
the 1880s more closely than the middle-income manifestations of the
Turkish style, the construction of this interior in the first quarter of the
twentieth century warranted its inclusion in this thesis.
This thesis has attempted to illustrate the lengthy and widespread
popularity of the Turkish style among middle-income American families
in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Smoking rooms and
cosy corners were the most common elements of the Turkish style in
American homes. They also represent the most prominent elements in
the American public's imagination of life in Turkey: the salemlik and the
haremlik, the segregated spaces in Turkish homes. Smoking rooms
became an American salemlik and cosy corners became an American
haremlik. Western men were forbidden to enter the harems of the East,
but they could sit on divans in cosy comers in their own homes in Buffalo
or San Francisco or Philadelphia. These cosy comers represented the
exotic, impenetrable Eastern spaces, and their (more) accessible wives
represented the completely inaccessible odalisques of the harem. By
replicating these themes in their own homes, Americans could experience
places that they would never be able to visit.
Lucy Gamett approved of the appropriation of Eastern design ideals
for use in Western interiors. She explained that "native costume and
native furniture, no less than native architecture and art, however rich
and varied in colour and material, never offend a cultured eye when used
in accordance with time honored customs, as evidenced by our
appreciation of Oriental embroideries, carpets, and textile fabrics
generally."! In other words, European and American incorporation of
1 Gamett: 264.
Eastern textiles in their homes was perfectly tasteful. Although Americans
were comfortable utilizing other cultures' designs in their own interiors,
many disapproved of Eastern interiors which incorporated elements of
Western design- Garnett wrote about the tasteless and unfortunate
manner in which Turks were marring the interiors of their homes by
incorporating Western design elements. She described American
stovepipes in a Turkish interior as "unsightly."
Gamett did not credit the Eastern eye with the same ability for
tasteful incorporation of Western crafts, ridiculing the Turkish home
where, "crimson is trimmed with scarlet, and pink with violet; shabby
chintz hangs side by side a rug "made in Germany," and representing a
dog or a lion, [that] is spread side by side with a silken carpet of almost
priceless value. "^ Garnett implied with these words that Turkish homes
often contained what she, with her Western artistic sensibility, would
deem a "priceless" rug. She believed that the Turkish families who
owned them were unable to recognize the beauty of these objects because
the "priceless pieces" were such a part of their cultural tradition. Garnett
asserted that when Turks purchased Western goods they chose the least
tasteful objects and used them inappropriately (from a Western
perspective.) According to this biased theory, the ancient cultural tradition
of the Turkish people bequeathed them with beautiful objects
automatically, but if they were forced to choose new and non-traditional
types of goods, their lack of iriherent "taste" was apparent. Garnett
maintained that this lack of taste was also visible among Turkish women
2 Gamett; 265.
who abandoned their traditional clothing for "what are too often
ludicrous and lamentable travesties of Parisian fashions. "3
"The eternal East" was prohibited from adopting elements of
modem society or resembling anything but the fairy tale lands of the
Arabian Nights. This fabricated image of the East was more appealing to
readers and visitors alike than the reality of life in the East. In 1836,
Francis Herve traveled to Constantinople by boat. While approaching the
dty at night, Herve watched as parts of the city were engulfed in flames.
He described the sight as "sublime" and "magnificent" and hypothesized
that it was "like some vision in the Arabian Nights' entertainment."
However, after the boat docked and Herve disembarked, his perception of
the dty took a turn for the worse. He was horrified by the smells, the dirt,
and the crowded streets. Herve's image of Constantinople, gleaned from
many of the travelogues and fictional accovmts of the city, was
irrecondlable with the realities of Constantinople and the East in general."*
Herve recounted with a bit of jealousy the story of a man who prevented
this rude awakening to the true East by remaining on the ship which had
brought him to Constantinople. He was thoroughly, "enchanted by the
silhouette," but remained on the ship, "for fear a view of the interior
should dissolve the charm. "^
By remaining in an imchanging, languorous, and decaying state, the
East assured Westerners of how far they themselves had advanced. If
Turks adopted Western modes of dress, interior design, or cultural
3 Garnett: 279.
"* Reinhold Schiffer. Turkey Romanticized: Images of the Turks in Early 19th Century English Travel
Literature. Materialia Turcica, Beihaft 5. Bochum: Studienverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, 1982: 1.
5 ibid: 3.
patterns too fully, they threatened to undermine the clarity of European
dominance. By incorporating Eastern elements into their own homes
without "becoming" Eastern, Americans asserted their taste and
superiority. Americans who included Turkish interiors in their homes
created their own image of the East. The presence of these Turkish,
Islamic, or Moorish interiors has always been acknolwdged. However, the
continued incorporation of these motifs in the first quarter of the
twentieth century has been largely overlooked. The vast majority of
people who put cosy comers in their parlors and added smoking dens to
their stair alcoves had never visited the Middle East, but through these
interior decorations they demonstrated their education and awareness of
the expansion of Western influence around the world.
Figure 1.1 John Frederick Lewis, The Siesta, 1876
The Tate Gallery, London (From Verrier, The Orientalists, plate 31
Figure 1.2 Moorish Women taking a Walk
(From Alloula. The Colonial Harem. 8)
Figure 13 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Odaliscjue, 1864
Musee Bonnat, Bayonne. Study for The Turkish Bath
(From JuUian, The Orientalists: European Paintings of Eastern Scenes. 77)
Figure 1.4 Women (young girls) at Home
(From Alloula, The Colonial Harem, 20)
Figure 1.5 Fenune Arabe dans son Interieur
(From Alloula, The Colonial Harem. 69)
Hi2. - SCI;NI-.S CI TVI'I N - Icm.nt A,*l,r av.c U- Vachmak.
Figure 1.6 Arabian Woman with the Yachmak
(From Alloula, The Colonial Harem. 126)
Figure 1.7 The Central Basin at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Shepp, Shepp's World's Fair Photographed. 23)
Figxire 1.9 The Turkish Building at the World's Columbian ExposiHon
(From Shepp, Shepp's World's Fair Photographed. 483)
O CJ U UJ u. Li.
o X n_N__i_H s V M 1 1
Figure 1.10 The Midway, Looking East from the Ferris Wheel
(From Arnold, Official Vies of the World's Columbian Exposition, plate 98)
Figure 1.11 The Turkish Bazaar at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Arnold, Official Views of the World's Columbian Exposition. platel04)
Figure 1.12 Elia Souhami Sadullah's Concession at the Turkish Bazaar
(From Arnold, Official Vies of the World's Columbian Exposition, plate 102)
Figure 1.13 The "Streets of Cairo" at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Smith, Pictorial Album and History of the World's Fair and Midway, unpaginated)
Figure 1.14 Daily Wedding Procession on the "Streets of Cairo
at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Shepp, Shepp's World's Fair Photographed. 509)
Figure 1.15 The Ottoman Hippodrome at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Arnold, Official Views of the World' Columbian Exposition, plate 113)
Figure 1.16 Turkish Guard in Customary Pose at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Brown, Contesting Imag es. 410)
Figure 2.1 Turkish Lounge, ca. 1910
(From Grier, Culture & Comfort: People. Parlors and Upholstery 1850-1930, plate 19)
Our 49-Cent HasaocKi
The lllustrmtlun r«pr««4>otk
liriliuirrataad uicxl •tj'U'k'
• rlct*^*l sliiiEx- b:LvHH:k In <>aV
olltH'tl,>n SlrF. 12il« lnct>e>.
Iii>-h>vi lilfli. Covrrad with
. lio.U 'luallty of Urustsit
No. STCIOOO I'rlc* . «»e
mcr «>lt«jf«. Top coronal wiih
•alln iirlnird »<.;our. or «lUi
\N llton vclvi-l c«rp«(.
No. S7C1USI »U«*ot tO[>, It
Int-hi-4 In diameter; belcbt 10
liiibM. rrlce . aLus
No.31C108a .'<lie of top ij^
Inch..-! In <llauiol«r: lu'litlit. ll't
1 l.on... rv-n-t },V. \ _r". r
.-..niblnull..,, I.»^*. !.».
I'rlit. m.-h. .•■•VI r.-.l »ll!, Ilru
;■•■ .ITCH Oil l'..«rr<..l nllli
Our Parlor Stool or t
Csn ttlBn Ik. u<ril fur clilL.I
. 3:ci I i:i Th<-<« itor.u
Mr.of ll.,l,.,„|^„„, „,l,.,, , ,^,, ,„,„ |,g. ,|„,,l„.l In ^
.hU dur.W..nd ..rn.m„.,.l ^"1.1 br....... "^ Thoy .III cir- |
", • " '"■•">-"^l "Uh.-. ulnlr u.aWoi.n ..n;»n.cnl fur I
»uner,.r <,,,.,my ,.f \vil,„„ a„y iC„u»„. Tl.. y ar* c-,.ero.M
lu . 1 T'v'"''-"^""^'"'- ""•' '-i"« «ri.rl only, .nd
Ko.STClnsS Price 7S«
3 7CI093 Our ()rli«c<.n
(>fl<.uinii KtM.t Kril. Comi-- lU
I) II..-IKS nnil eti Inih.a hlib.
Thl« U B v»ry Ix-sulirul h»Mi«
clrrur«ll.>n. It I.. M,n>.-tliln< Ihat
■ ■ Iv In i-v.-iv purl..
lb© pri.-e W >:tiujlr phenom"-
ni.l. c.i.jllorlt.K ifio Tal-j«
bich »■■ tilvK you In oni. i.f
.e.»i .iTTl.-r^Mj unrt cm- '
In.bM hlirh. Prl.-o.
tnodo for Uso
Tho Star Hasaook.
A %ery atronc And om*.
enUI lluaock. !<lie. I3tlS
clifi. « Incl.M hiKh. Vrlr«t
d In urcltj
Kilra I^rK« \rl>rl
Ilaixxk. W.'iiri. l^.l•..rlK^
n3t..r> of tbli Krnn.l "r •:,■
Inl tulnplooiu 1.*^vh1<.
Tho dcl([n U i-iclutlTp with
u«. !<lri> IJxIS InchM. t
\RPET AND RUG WEAVING MACHINERY AND
Our Hand Corpol Bob
The »cc«iu|.«njliii; lllu«trull<i
Figure 2JZ Hassocks and Ottomans
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company Catalogue. 1905. 802-3)
Figure 2.3 Belle Fatma
(From Alloula, The Colonial Harem. 34)
Our C. C). I>. terms are verv liberal. Scn(li^.(Xl ¥ b
with your ordir and wo will send this bcauti- ^ ri
111 liall tree subject to examination. _ * f(
Our special iiriee, each $10.0." ^
JARDINIER STANDS. J
Our $1.70 Stand.
A Very Stylish Ornament for any Parlor,
No. 9538 The iTiinliiiior Stand which we show In
this 11 lust rat ion Is •_>■.' iiir lies liijrli ami the top is i:i\i:i
inches in size. The staixl is made in oak or imita-
tion nialiocanv finish, as may bedesired. This stand
Is unusually well made, t In- top is famy pnltern itiiU
shape, sides are handsomely Carved auddtTi>rate<l.
Onr .Special I'rice SI.TO
When you see anythin« in the furniture line .\s ooon as ours
CENT. lUUIiEU TU
Figure 2.4 Jardinier Stand
(From the Sears. Robeuck and Coinpanv Catalogue. 1897. 669)
Artistic Grilles Will Beautify Your Home
TM€ nii»T um MAoe-ouR rneu ah just one-half rneuLAn rRicu
Figure 2.5 "Artistic Grilles" in the Sears, Catalogue, 1910
(From Winkler and Moss, Victorian Interior Decoration, 215)
Figure 2.6 Alcove showing grilles in doorway and window
(Fron\ Jacobs, Practical Handbook on Cutting Drapery. 79)
Figure 2.7 (American) Turkish Water Pipe, 1902
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company catalogue, 1902, 702)
Figure 2.8 Left: American lounging coat, late 1840's
Right: American smoking jacket, 1860-1880
(From Marbn and Koda, Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress. 44)
at a vory Idw prli-«.
I'ricpp. id.izen. 1.0*
No. 2320U ExtM
flue Elan* lotrcl: saiM
iis preifdiiie iiumbar:
made of pure linen:
Pric- carlr . SO.!*
Hi lie TurkisI
the akin to
nw to tk«
li'!^P wt'Ulit and spccUilly
g<>^d value. Price fach. Br
1 er dozen b5c
No. 33811 Ceil u In e
Turkish toweI»: rream or
unWradied: extra lieavv
weiL-lir. Size IllxC. si,ee-
lally good value. Prl<-.-. eaeli
»c. Per doz 9»«
vSu*Xcheck|:2S'j*t'= ^"^ ^^'^ FORGKT TO UKDOC*
Figure 2.9 Turkish Towels
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company catalogue. 1897. 296)
What a Turkish Bath Will, Do for Yoi
t»<r.« . )i,r.:^V .>|m'4.i..| (n.'.!'.',' :.L""f'rri'/;,'
i-, ■-■*' *.•'*' '''H ^« "• •■'••'' >"-^i
^ Imperial B4th Ckbinel, J9.1S.
Figure 2.10 Turkish Bath
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company catalo pnp 1915 841)
OUR SPECIAL OFFER: ?,^^°„V?,.?,S;,°°,
.^.'i 'i'ii'r'".'"''' "' ''";"' '•'''"' "'"' wf will, siTKl you I
■tMlKhl (I, I,,,!. Mii.l irr..niiil iHTficlly suIl^f|;,.tVlI
■JiiilKiuius your i.iclir, wliin ti^^.Ji [juys for Ui..- .
IRoik.T. 1 r;,.„ts' I iisy CtlHlr. 1 |-;,rlo,- ,,r 1!
adltri-f-Ml .■ r. «',. will !,.■ nl,-,-, I 1,, ,r ,
colors to sil.i-1 from, or if U-fl lo n-i i., mil . \.
8t»rtT\vill in nil .-ii^.esi'ivi' you i-nlors on thi
every ri-,,u>.-.-(. Tin- .suit. ls-|in.-lv nphoM.-r.il, „,i„
on top unci sKlcs or bat-k and irliumcil wlUi a lii-avy
-ll.lt Mill 1„. ,,„ ,,,„ ,„
1' Jilnsli iMii.l :,i,(l n.lN
-tid flilr-'u, Iliis
4pii'.-i- I'lirlor Suit.
4piiN-,- Parlor Suit.
<pir.H. Parlor Suit.
9«»S««5«a«»S«sa ^ ^^•°° PARLOR SUIT FOR $24
Figure 2.11 Turkish Parlor Suite " *
(From th e Sears. Roebuck and Company catalop^ue. 1897 884)
Figure Z12 Turkish frame sofa, displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition
(From Bishop and Coblentz, American Decorative Arts: 360 Years of Creative Design, 286)
Figiu-e 2.13 Turkish leather chair, circa 1910.
(From Van Rensselaer, Manual of Home-Making, 76)
Figure 3.1 Madame Paul Poiret and a Guest at the Poirets' 1002 party, 1911
(From Martin and Koda, Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress. 12)
Figure 3^ A Cosy Comer
(From Morrison, Drapery. Interior Decoration, and Architecture, figure 16)
Figure 3.4 Parlor in the John Curtis House, Dorchester, MA, 1910
Following the addition of a cosy comer
(From Grier, Culture and Comfort: People Parlors, and Upholstery 1850-1930. 196)
Figure 3.5 A Cosy Comer
(From Milhau, "Home Decoration," 112)
Figure 3.6 Mrs. Hughes's Turkish Cosy Comer, New York, 1899
(From Byron, New York Interiors at the Turn of the Century, figure 35)
fj: o Figure 3.7 A Cosy Comer
(From Streitenfeld, TheDecomJLpormio.
It fringe un
;y and at-
co n ter .
;'/3 incii uiieni
loiiowing colors can uo iiaa: peacock, red. Iironzc,
olive, blue terra cotta, rose and brown. Tliis cur-
tain Is a winner every lime at tlie price we m11 it
Such values as tlicse are obtainable only from Sear;,
Roebuck & Co. Each 82.90
A $6.00 Tapestry Curtain for $3.25
No. 2:t27i H'a
No. 3 3 a 7 5 .V
tain, 3 vardslonK
and 3tS Indies
wlile, .omes in
handsc )me t apestry
curtain. 3 yards
Icneand X inches
wide, a beautiful
floral desi(;ii,has a
6 Inch knotted
fringe at the top
and a 4 Inch fringe
at the bottom; this
curtain comes In
tlie new and very
al.leetrectsand is a'
great big bargain
at the price wo sell
It. Don't p.-iy JB.OO
I'utsend to S. li. &
C*)., and s.ive your
terra cotta, olive
Perpalr.. S3, so
Figure 3.8 Sears, Roebuck and Company Portieres
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company catalogue. 1897 )
OUR NEW HANDSOME 36-INCH
FOR 15 CENTS PER YARD.
Tli.K« nro tl... K-ni.l.... ILifU.! coli.ii.
THFIf ARE COOOS TH-T S!LL EVERrWHERE
AI 25 AND AS HIGH AS 3j CESIS HE8 TAKl).
We h.iro l..i'flit a Ir. n ir.'l lul 1. t (..
lli,-.lii,|<.rl..l K-. i.iiln* ll..;:.U.l [Ti.itci l.iH
t,Ml..y I., -I. ^. hi, !i «. .■ rl.ink vlll lM.Mil.>ut
II..' I.ri.,..f II,.,. ,,r,il v-ii.. nlil.lilslw.-lvu
(l,..ril!.v. «,■ Mill U- ;ll.;.' to Mjpply llieMI
1, :,-.,, ;(„l,l,:,|.,,„,l„,inr.lui,n<riy.TI,ry
aI,•.^.^ll p.u. r/i,. UM.I if..' u,>i.ni|..-ir. vln<
li:u>lr.illi.M Kl'.,yiU a f:,lnt l<l.-:i <.l'lhi,
.r.llvrn-.. II.. V l.:i.-.-HlH-.1111|ful cnml.lni.-
I..n lit cLtIu^-s hii.I nro li:in.l~,ni.ly
...rki.l ..111 111 lirli iii:il riil.rlc*. In Klilrli
yil:. .!<■>. Inillnii rv.is :.i..l sutt (an hluvn.
»!.%.. (.•rMn.l.;iv.. i.r>.inli„i„-e. Tl.o i-..l.,r-
lni:»ll.;il pr,-.-:illliillie»t. tH:sulltillH!ik-il„.l
dr.ilJ.Tl.»nr.' irivl.-s, rnK Krtvt.s f.ll.. ..
Ciiii.l l.liic, jur.-ilulii. Inns. yiUuw. uii.J
nlle l,Ti.tn. Wl.llli, .14 Inches.
No, 37R049 Price, per yjrd |5c
Figure 3.9 Bagdad Curtains, 1902
(From the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogue, 886)
Figure 3.10 Rope Portieres
(From Winkler and Moss, Victorian Interior Decoration. 219)
Figure 3.11 Turkish Couch Cover, circa 1910
(From Grier, Culture and Comfort: People, Parlors and Upholstery, plate 28)
AKTLOOM TAPESTRY CUKTAINS
Figure 3.12 Artloom Tapestry Curtains
(From John Pray and Sons, Ru g and Carpet Book, catalogue #31)
Figure 3.13 Waverly Wilton Rugs
(From Pray, Ru g and Carpet Book, catalogue #31 )
JUMN rl. f^KAV Bi SONS CO.. BOSTON, MASS.
TEMPLE BRUSSELS RUGS
A Rug with an all wool face, at a price within the reach of every purse
-'7V.-.4 in... $1.10
f HIFPr'M A vr» u » » w «^« » >*-••.... —
Figure 3.14 Temple Brussels Rugs
(From Pray, Ru g and Carpet Book, catalogue #31)
Br raniiot be returned ir nent an ordered.
PETS •\^'<''''''" "'" wlilth of room Id Indies: divide that
.' ,'■"' iiruduct hy tho width of c.irpct C7 ..r aii Itu-lie.s); the
' bivurttlK n-.iulred. Multiply the luimberof bri':i<lths hy tho
h 111. hfs cm i-iich breadth fur possible waste In inati-hlnK), the
liunihcr of feet rei|Ulrud. Divide that numbiT by 3 t« lltid tho
>r borderL-d carputs must bo very exact. G1vl> iflapram of all
edlum or bright
et, medium or
WD to require
lies wide, nice
en or yellow.
•» wide, a fine
liie variety of
ould lIKe most
■111 sell .
Tlll.s ItlO IS ONE OF
oi:r extra special
No. 23410 Smyrna I
.size 1 toot Inches by 3 feet
i^'a Indies: a good ijuallty
rug. beautiful combination
of colors. We liave bought
the entire stocii of a lead-
inff tuaDufacturer of this
rug at a price which for the
iiuallty of the poods was
rldiculouMly cheap; we
In turn olfcr It to our
customers at a very
slight advance and urge
I all people In need ot'&
rug to send In their or-
?arly as although
. iimtlty Is large,
they are sure to sell rap-
Id I v.
a»k yon ax.OO for
a KuK like thia.
Our iipeclal price,
So. 2 3 4 1 4
) Inches whic,
1 Straw Color
No. 23416 .^
liought here. .-
eomhlnatlon of colors a
or loud about them, but
rich and handsome.
sizes. 1 foot JO Inches .\ 3 teet 01 , ^
hes X 4 feet 6 Inches, each
at a nice little navinff If
s of a good quallt>-, the
l>eauilful, nothing liasliv
gotten up that ihcy iooU
.sizes. 2 feet 21
Slzes,2feet 6 Inches x S feci, each.... ..„„
Sizes, 3 feet X li feet, each .' .'. 2.90
Sizes, 4 feet X ? feet, each 4.75
«^*«^l!ti,rfSfr elk 'Cv "eaatlful .Mo-
■S^i<S!2%iaSHb'V ,lSi-i\, quelle Rue, has nn
( olora I
terns as d
No. J 34:
Figure 3.15 Smyrna Rug, 1897
(From the Sears. Roebuck and Company catalogue. 1897 )
Figure 4.1 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study
(From the Sound and Visual Archives
of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, folder 2808)
Figure 4.2 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study
(From "Fabulous 'Secret Room' in Home Here, unpaginated)
Figure 4.3 The Entrance Hall to Joseph Jastrow's Study
Taken in 1961 by Sally Levin
(From the Sound and Visual Archives
of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, folder 2808)
Figure 4.4 Joseph Jastrow's Study
(From the Sound and Visual Archives
of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, folder 2808)
Figure 4.5 Jubcph Jastrow's Study, circa 1961
Photo taken by Sally Levin
(From the Sound and Visual Archives
of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin)
"Another Oriental Room." The Art Amateur: A Monthly Journal Devoted
to Cultivation of Art in the Household, vol xiv, no. 5 (April, 1887).
Arnold, C. D. Official Views of the World's Colun^bian Exposition .
Chicago: Press Chicago Photo-Gravure Company, 1894.
Ashton, Carrie May. "Cosey Corners." The Decorator and Furnisher, vol.
xix, no. 1 (October, 1891): 29.
Barr, Robert. The Unchanging East, volumes I & II. Boston: L.C. Page and
Barr, William. Nooks and Corners . St. Louis: William Barr Dry Goods
Bloomingdale Brothers. Illustrated Fashion Catalogue, Spring and
Summer 1891 . New York: Bloomingdale Brothers, 1891.
Boulden, James A. P. An American among the Orientals, including an
Audience with the Sultan and a Visit to the Interior of a Harem .
Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blackiston, 1855.
Buffalo Upholstering Company. Catalogue of New Goods for 1889. Trade
catalogue. Buffalo: The Company, 1889.
Brooklyn Furniture Company. Illustrated Catalogue . Trade Catalogue.
Brooklyn: The Company, 1874.
Buel, James W. The Magic City: A Massive Portfolio of Original
Photographic Views of the Great World's Fair and its treasures of
art, including a vivid representation of the famous Midway
Plaisance . St. Louis: Historical Publishing Company, 1894.
Cram, Ralph A. "Interior Decoration of City Houses: A Smoking Alcove."
The Decorator and Furnisher, vol viii, no. 3 (June, 1886): 78-79.
Church, Ella Rodman. How to Furnish a Home . New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1881.
"The Decoration of our Homes, vii: Suggestions for an Oriental Room."
The Art Amateur: A Monthly Journal Devoted to Cultivation of
Art in the Household, vol xiv, no. 5 (April, 1887).
Eberlein, Harold Donaldson, Abbott McClure and Edward Stratton
Holloway. The Practical Book of Interior Decoration. Philadelphia:
J.B. Lippincott Company, 1919.
The Elements of Ornamental Design, vol 1. Scranton: Scranton
International Textbook Company, 1901.
"Fabulous 'Secret Room' in Home Here." The Capitol Times (Madison,
Wisconsin) February 19, 1953. The Sound and Visual Archive at
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, folder 2808.
Garnett, Lucy M. Home Life in Turkey . New York: The MacMillan
Greenleaf, Margaret. "The Interior Finish and Furnishings of the Small
House, Part I" in House and Garden, vol viii, no. 3, (October, 1905):
Hanoum, Zeyneb. A Turkish Woman's European Impressions .
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1913.
Harrison, Constance Cary. Woman's Handiwork in Modern Homes . New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1881.
Haywood, Emma. "Pyrography, or Burnt-Wood Etching." The Art
Amateur: A Monthly Journal Devoted to Cultivation of Art in the
Household, vol 26, no. 4 (February, 1892): 69.
Herts, Russell. The Decoration and Furnishing of Apartments . New York:
The Knickerbocker Press, 1915.
Interiors files in the Print and Photograph Collection at the Free Library of
Jacob, Robert Urie. A Trip to the Orient: the Story of a Mediterranean
Cruise . Philadelphia: John C. Winston and Company, 1907.
Jacobs, N.W. Practical Handbook on Cutting Drapery . Minneapolis:
Harrison & Smith, 1890.
Jastrow, Joseph. "A Top-Floor Apartment: An Amateur Adventure."
Reprinted with additional illustrations from House Beautiful,
August 1909. The Sound and Visual Archives of the State
Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Jastrow, Joseph. Correspondence to Louis Levin. March 3, 1915. The Print
and Photograph Collection in the State Historical Society of
Wisconsin, folder 2808.
Johnson, Rossiter, editor. A History of the World's Columbian Exposition,
vol I. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897.
Karpen, S. & Brothers. Upholstered Furniture . Trade catalogue. Chicago:
Karpen Brothers, 1906.
Koening, H. Pyrography: A Complete Course of Instructions: Practical,
Simple, Progressive . New York: Flemish Art Company, undated.
Ladies Home Journal, assorted volumes, 1894-1915.
Laughlin, Clara. The Complete Home . New York: D. Appleton and
McDougall, Walter. Peck's Bad Boy and his Chums (Comic strip). Chicago:
Thompson and Thomas, 1908. File 1652 in the Sound and Visual
Archives of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Milhau, Zella. "Home Decoration" The Decorator and Furnisher, vol xix,
no. 3, (August, 1888): 109-112.
"More about Oriental Rooms." The Art Amateur: A Monthly Journal
Devoted to Cultivation of Art in the Household, vol xiv, no. 5
(April, 1886): 110-113.
Morrison, A.G. Drapery, I nterior Decoration and Architecture: A Practical
Handbook for the Dealer, Decorator, and the Workroom . New York:
T.A. Cawthra & Company, 1906.
"An Oriental Room" The Art Amateur: A Monthly Journal Devoted to
Cultivation of Art in the Household, vol 19, no. 3 (January 1888):
"The Pearl Rug Maker." The Ladies Home Journal. [June 1890]: 33.
Poole, Hester. "Answers to Inquirers." Household News, vol. IV
. "Decoration and Carpets." Household News, vol. II (1894): 749.
. "Decorative Notes." Household News, vol. Ill (1895): 343.
. "Economy in Decoration." Household News, vol. Ill (1895): 42.
. "The Family Room - Continued." Household News, vol. IV
. "Housekeeping: Up Stairs, Down Stairs and in my Lady's
Chamber." Household News, vol. IV (1896): 276.
. "How to Beautify the Home - Rugs of Various Kinds." Household
News, vol. n (1894): 370.
. "A Japanese Room." Household News, vol. Ill (1893): 89.
Pray, John H. Rug and Carpet Book, Catalogue No. 31 . Trade catalogue.
Boston: John H. Pray & Sons Company, 1906.
Princess Belgiojoso. Oriental Harems and Scenery . New York: Carleton,
Putnam, S.M. "Draperies and Embroideries in the East." The Decorator
and Furnisher, vol xix, no. 1 (October, 1891): 19-21.
Sears, Roebuck and Company. Assorted catalogues (1897-1940).
Sears, Roebuck and Company. Carpets, Rugs and Curtains . Chicago: Sears,
Roebuck and Company, 1914.
Shepp, James W. and Daniel B. Shepp. Shepp's World's Fair
Photographed . Chicago: Globe Bible Publishing Company, 1893.
Smith, Harry T. Pictorial Album and History of the World's Fair and
Midway . Chicago: Harry T. Smith and Company, 1893.
Spofford, Harriet Prescott. Art Decoration Applied to Furniture . New
York: Harper & Brothers, 1878.
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Anne & Jerome Fisher
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