June 29, 2011

Into the woods

Just in time for summer, Acanthus Press is about to release Elegant Wilderness: Great Camps and Lodges of the Adirondacks, 1855-1935, by Gladys Montgomery. Published in collaboration with the Adirondack Museum, it's the first book to place the style into the context of cultural, social and environmental history.

"The rustic style represented a confluence of ideas that emphasized the relationship between the built and natural environments, embodied 19th-century America's fascination with the romantic and picturesque, and combined varied stylistic influences," the author explains. It was also a chance for the leisure class to escape the confines of the city and indulge in a woodland fantasty. But rustic never meant roughing it. Families arrived from private Pullman cars with chefs, staff, tennis and voice coaches, chauffeurs and secretaries. Those who owned Adirondak camps included Marjorie Merriweather Post, J. Pierpont Morgan, Alfred Vanderbilt, Lucy Carnegie, and President Benjamin Harrison.

The book offers a remarkably detailed look at the style's architecture and interiors through archival photographs, many of which have never before been published. It's available for pre-order now.

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