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My Little Corner of the Net

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Books About Miniatures

I was reading a blog the other day and came across a post about the Thorne Miniature Rooms.  My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing part of them in Chicago last year and purchased a book about them, mainly because they were so inspiring, and because the photos in the book were far better than the ones I took with my camera.

I absolutely love books with great pictures.  Over the years I have kept ones that have special meaning to me and for the most part, they can placed in three categories:  Architecture, religion, and miniatures.  This is one of the bookshelves in our home.  I share it with my wife, so she gets about a quarter of it for her music books.  I have my grandmother's old radio tucked in up there too.  ( it still works!)

Probably my most used book these days, as far as miniatures are concerned, is this one by Dian Zillner.  We have a joke of sorts in the family that if I should die suddenly, the family is to not sell any of our miniatures before consulting this book.  It has become very valuable in identifying different miniatures and brands along with learning some history.  The odd thing about this book is that it is getting old, (1998) someone needs to come out with an updated version.

 Along with the above book, I use another book from Dian Zillner quite frequently, the Dollhouse and Furniture Advertising.  It is another great resource when trying to identify or date miniatures.

I have collected a few books on historical dollhouses too.  Below are books on Colleen Moore's Dollhouse which was built in the 1930's and now resides in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
"The Fairy Castle" is fairly recent, and has some great large color photographs of the house, the large white, cloth covered book with the Colleen's monogram is a book about the dollhouse that was published in the 1970's and the book with the blue cover was published on the dollhouse back in 1935 and has some great black and white photos of the house.  I like to compare photos in the old and new and see what has been changed.  The books each feature different perspectives on presenting the house.

After seeing the Thorne Miniature rooms I purchased a book with several great photos, and lots of history about Mrs Thorne and how the room boxes came about.  I was also able to purchase "European Rooms In Miniature" a few years ago on Ebay.  It was printed in the early 1940's and has some great black and white photos of the rooms.

I purchased "The White House in Miniature" after dragging the family to see the traveling exhibit in Kansas City a few years ago.  It was on display at the Harry S. Truman Presidential library and we enjoyed going.  It is a great book with lots of photos and details about the project.  The  Zweifel family that created the exhibit, changes out the oval office and the upper rooms to match the current president's furnishings and decor.  They also decorate it for Christmas.  I would urge everyone to go see this great dollhouse.  I picked up The White House Guide at an esate sale a few years ago for a couple of bucks.  I like to open each book to the same room and compare.

I was able to visit Windsor Castle back in my early college days, home of Queen Mary's Dolls' House.  I remember in my youth being fascinated by this house and used to check out a book about it from the local library behind my dad's gas station in Elko Nevada.  I purchased the Souvenir Book on Ebay a while back.  It is not dated, but appears to be pretty old.  The book on the right was an estate sale find earlier this year.
When I was there during my college days, all I could afford were a few post cards.

I have found in years of collecting a couple of books or "booklets" that correspond with some of my collections.   The Arcade company produced a childrens book called The Arcadians Story in 1927 and around that same time TootsieToy followed suit. 
( click on either Tootsietoy or Arcade Cast Iron on the right to se my collections )

I picked up "America's Doll House" after visiting it in Washington D.C. earlier this year.  I wrote more about it in my blog titled Smithsonian Miniature Finds.

I have collected several other books since my fascination with miniatures began.  I have posted pics of them here.  On days when I need inspiration or when I want to relax, I grab one of these and study them.

The Reference Guide to Miniature Makers Marks was recommended to me by the curator at the Kruger Miniature Collection at the University of Nebraska.  (It is still on my list of places to go)  The miniature museum is part of the school of architecture and they have a lot of photos of the collection on the school's library website.  The book is great and has brands and marks from several manufacturers dating back many years and in most part of the world.  It is about as thick as a phone book.

 I saved this book,The Doll's House for last.  This book belonged to my sister and growing up, I think I played with it more than her.  It is a reproduction of a pop-up book from 1890.  This version was printed in 1979. I asked my sister for it a few years ago.

 The book folds out into a Victorian house and shop with working doors.  I remember being fascinated with it as a child.

 Let me know if there are any miniature books that inspire you.