Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2005 Issue

Gardens and Landscapes from Charles Wood

Wood124

Landscape and Garden History from Charles Wood.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received the latest catalogue, number 124, from Charles Wood Antiquarian Booksellers of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Wood specializes in buildings and grounds, so to speak. His catalogues are some of the best available for those who collect architectural works. However, this month the focus is on the grounds, or more specifically, Landscape and Garden History. For those of you looking to spruce up the grounds around your 17th or 18th century estate, you will find some wonderful guidebooks. The same is true for those who simply collect books in the field. Here are a few examples.

His name was Jens Jensen, but he came from Chicago, not Wisconsin. And he wasn't a lumberman. This Jens Jensen emigrated from Denmark and went on to be one of the most noted landscape architects in the area. He created Columbus Park in Chicago, as well as redesigning several others on the west side. He also designed parks in Dubuque, Springfield, and - yes - Madison, Wisconsin. Jensen believed people needed to keep in contact with nature, and was involved in promoting the state park system. Item 54 is his 1964 biography, Landscape Artist in America, the Life and Work of Jens Jensen, by Leonard Eaton. Item 54. Priced at $200.

The Kitselman Brothers were sole manufacturers of The Duplex automatic ball bearing woven wire fence machine. It was "the greatest invention of the age!" It was capable of making over 100 different styles of fences, 26 of which were illustrated in this catalogue. This catalogue was published in Ridgeville, Indiana, in 1900, but by the 1930s, Kitselman Brothers fence would be a major company in Muncie, playing a prominent role in that city's growth as an industrial power. Founded in 1883, the company was run by the four Kitselman Brothers until 1940, when the last, Alva Kitselman, died. Item 107. $110.

Item 1 is an Album of snap shots of Brightwaters, Long Island, from 1914. Developed by T.B. Ackerson and Company, Brightwaters is a community, then new, near Bay Shore, New York. This pamphlet contains five pages of text and 23 of photographs of the community. Along with houses and bungalows, the pictures show fountains, a harbor, lakes, boathouses, and other features of this community, which might draw city dwellers looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Two years later, the Ackerson Company went broke, and homeowners banded together to incorporate Brightwaters as a village. Today, Brightwaters remains a desirable residential community. While houses sold for $3,500-$20,000 in Ackerson's day, today's prices are generally in the $300,000-$1,000,000+ range. The album is a more modest $350.

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