Three New Books For Arts & Crafts Lovers

by Peter Copeland, Turn of the Century Editions and Parchment Press

The Arts & Crafts Furniture of J.M. Young & Sons, Camden, New York by Jill Thomas-Clark (Turn of the Century Editions 2017; softcover, pp. 162).  This book is a new and expanded edition of the long out-of-print, impossible-to-find 1994 Dover publication by Michael and Jill Thomas-Clark about the J.M. Young furniture company.  Based on the company’s own business records (which miraculously were preserved) and a trove of glass photographic negatives and drawings illustrating the company’s remarkable output of Arts and Crafts furniture over nearly fifty years – longer than any other company – this informative book covers the history of the company, how its mission furniture was made, how to identify J.M. Young furniture by markings and construction features, and, interestingly, how much was made and sold, and when. The book also explores the unusually close relationship between the J.M. Young company and its neighbors, the L.& J.G. Stickley Company and the Harden Furniture Company.

Oscar Onken and The Shop of the Crafters at Cincinnati by J.M. (Je) and Michael McCracken (Turn of the Century Editions 2017; softcover, pp. 160).  We have long admired the work of this Cincinnati furniture maker, especially the distinctive inlaid furniture that is the hallmark of the company, but until this book we knew surprisingly little about the company or the people behind it.  Now, thanks to the exhaustive research of Je and Michael McCracken, we know a great deal. The authors provide a scholarly, illustrated history of the company, supplemented by six appendices, including color photos of The Shop of the Crafters’ rare inlaid pieces, unabridged reprints of the company’s 1902 and 1904 catalogues, pages omitted from the previously reprinted 1906 catalogue, a reprinted 1907 sales pamphlet showing new mission furniture designs, and a complete issue of The Lantern, Oscar Onken’s answer to the Roycrofters’ magazine, The Philistine.

The Gamble House, Building Paradise in California by Edward R. Bosley, Anne E. Mallek, Ann Sheid, and Robert Winter (CityFiles Press 2015; hardcover, pp. 200).  Designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908, the Gamble House is one of the greatest examples of “Arts and Crafts architecture” – West Coast style – in the country. (You may have seen it in the movie, Back to the Future.)  Commissioned by the Gamble family (of Procter & Gamble fame), the Greene brothers were given, literally, a blank check to design and build the house overlooking the Arroyo in Pasadena, now wonderfully preserved and open to the public. This beautifully illustrated book is the first publication about the house since its thorough restoration in 2004. The four distinguished authors, aided by the stunning photography of Alexander Vertikoff, document the history, design, craftsmanship, and enduring aesthetic impact of this must-see landmark.

If you attend the 30th National Arts and Crafts Conference this weekend, you can get your copy personally inscribed by the authors, two of whom will also be seminar presenters. Otherwise, you can order them at