‘Working Girls’ Book Release and Lecture in Reading, PA; where it all began.

I want to share something fun I did a few weeks back. I bought a newspaper mainly because I wanted to comb the want ads for job listings.  There was a super article in the weekend supplement regarding a new book written about some 1890’s photos of brothel women discovered by a gentleman at a sale out west that he spent over a decade researching. He linked them to Reading PA as there were 2 shots of women reading the same paper I had bought!  Beings he had published prior books and had the means in which to get this story out, he was able to document these wonderful images he bought and pieced together some of the history.  My interest was piqued and the article announced his local book signing and lecture, the next day!  I asked my mother to accompany me and no surpise, she did not seem as interested in the story as I. Not really wanting to go alone, I resorted to asking my husband. Although he was not thrilled, he agreed.

The event was held at the Berks County History Center in Reading.  I never knew it existed! My husband had been there to fix their phone lines for work and was familiar with it.  We arrived in time to enjoy some snacks and walk around the museum which was excellent! If you are local, it is a great retrospect of the history in Berks with homestead, wartime and industry artifacts.  It was surprisingly large and had many carriages and other fun things to check out plus many audio exhibits telling stories. 

The author, Robert Flynn Johnson, arrived and the lecture started.  He explained how he came about recreating the story of the brothel, it’s owner and patrons....many of which are anonymous, just by researching what clues were available in the shots. The photographer was also revealed and was a known portrait photographer in the area. Amazing to spy on his personal work that he most likely never intended on sharing with the world.  He even appeared in a nude himself, a subject of his own work.  

We enjoyed the evening and I placed an order for the book as all copies available that night were already sold.  He did share many photos with us during the lecture but I really wanted to see more! My book was available to pick up today and I went back to the museum and am now starting to ingest it.  It was signed by the author since I ordered it during the event.  He traveled to NYC after the lecture to present at a exhibit opening and official release of the book there and signed copies for all who ordered and shipped back to Reading for us.  I am looking forward to reading the essays he included from notable experts on fashion and the trade during that era, which really round out the history.  

My copy, signed by the author. 

My copy, signed by the author. 

I really love that there are people in this world that think like I do.  They put the time in to search for the answers of what they find or as I like to say.....what found me. it is so easy for history to be lost and whether it is a manufacturer, person or product, preserving these stories for future generations is imperative. 

If you are interested in checking out the book,  https://www.amazon.com/Working-Girls-Robert-Flynn-Johnson/dp/1943876584

 

Just a taste of the pics. There are nudes. The women are mainly just posing or doing things like brushing their hair or other grooming tasks. It is just lovely and so well photographed. Notice the flokati style rug on the floor! It is in many shots!

Just a taste of the pics. There are nudes. The women are mainly just posing or doing things like brushing their hair or other grooming tasks. It is just lovely and so well photographed. Notice the flokati style rug on the floor! It is in many shots!

Reading Eagle article on the book which sparked my interest:  http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/secret-photos-of-1892-reading-brothel-published

Reading Eagle article on the event we attended:

http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/brothel-book-signing-draws-a-crowd-to-berks-history-center

Exhibition of photographs can be viewed through Oct 13th in NYC HERE:

https://www.riccomaresca.com/

 

QUICK UPDATE!!!! ThIs weekend is Extravaganza.  I am offering 20% off a single item and 30% off multiple items at my space in the Fleetwood Antique Mall. My current selection is some amazing kitschy accessories and even a ready to use day bed at prices so low even a dealer can resell them.  Come on out to Berks County and Kutztown and save money!  I never find a lot of mid century at the Renningers event so if you leave disappointed, I am only minutes away!  OPEN 10-6 today through SUNDAY!!! 

QUICK UPDATE!!!! ThIs weekend is Extravaganza.  I am offering 20% off a single item and 30% off multiple items at my space in the Fleetwood Antique Mall. My current selection is some amazing kitschy accessories and even a ready to use day bed at prices so low even a dealer can resell them.  Come on out to Berks County and Kutztown and save money!  I never find a lot of mid century at the Renningers event so if you leave disappointed, I am only minutes away!  OPEN 10-6 today through SUNDAY!!! 

Enjoy your week! 👌 

XO Malissa

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Meet and Greet Event!

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Please join me next Friday, September 14th from 2:00pm until 6:00pm at the Fleetwood Antique Mall in my retail space on the 2nd floor for a fabulous evening of chit chat, shopping and socializing! There is a big birthday event going throughout the mall with food and sales.  I want to meet you and hear all about your collections, wants and projects! Feel free to pump my brain on anything while you are there plus if you have anything in my realm you are looking to sell bring pics and details!  I am planning some giveaways and other surprises! My featured inventory will be 30% OFF ALL WEEKEND plus any items I bring from my online inventory can be had at a discount.  Reach out and I will have anything in my online inventory there for pick up or for inspection! My space is too small to feature everything but I do plan on bringing some of my restored ottomans!  Here is the event link on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/284618475463599/?ti=ia

Please share with your friends!

Details of the BIG SALE at GRQ/Fleetwood Antique Mall are here:   https://www.facebook.com/events/2201061653240630/?ti=ia  FRIDAY EVENTS.  See the GRQ FACEBOOK PAGE for details of the whole weekend schedule.

HOPE TO MEET SOME LOCAL MCM FANS! Can’t make it Friday? I may have some weekend availability to meet by appointment! Reach out!

XO Malissa

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Another research day in the books.

Last week I got to spend a few hours in Philadelphia after picking up some new inventory which a past client sold me as he gets ready to move out of the country.  I decided to keep the dining table so will be offering up my Heywood Wakefield triple wishbone table and dog bone chairs shortly.  If you are seeking, I can sell this set in need of a little refinishing (6 chairs our of 7).    I am thrilled with the round Herman Miller Architect's table and it really fits my room alot better.  For as much as I loved the Heywood set, it really is a large piece even with no leaves inserted!  That said, reach out if it interests you!

The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The finale of the trip was a Harvey Probber catalog on reserve at the Philadelphia Athenaem.  This museum is an architect's museum.  So you can expect blue prints, buildings and other items of interest.  Harvey Probber furniture is actually more transitional than MCM.  More like Dunbar and Edward Wormley designs.  These designers played on traditional designs so you will see modern elements-curves and angles in tandem with tradition materials like cane and lots of brass bling.  Check first dibs and you will see a Probber piece will set you back quite a bit.  So now you know why I spend so much time on authentification.  If it truly is a Probber, it is a rarer piece.  None of my comps have labels and neither does mine.  Rule #1 of MCM.....never trust it because you SAW it on the internet.  PROOF PROOF PROOF.  If you are spending your money on something of provenance and the dealer does not provide you with adequate proof of this, or at least a well thought out reason to why they believe it is legit....keep walking.  Unless you really love the piece and do not care if it's legit, of course.  

My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

The librarian was waiting with my materials when I arrived for the scheduled appointment.  The folio contained just a small catalog.  I was able to take pics (as is common with museums and collections.....they want to protect their collections and do not want bad photos published.  Makes sense.  Copy right protection is real.  SO I cannot share any pics with you of the catalog but she is safe there in Philadelphia waiting for you to sign her out for the hour.  It may have had about 50 pages, in black and white with some nice photography.  The really cool X or scissors chairs that have a brass rod similar to my table were in there as were some other things I recognized from around the web.  The note on the chairs said '...The new "Probber" chair is distinguished by its elegance of line, achieved through the application of new electronic laminating techniques used in its manufacture.'  Probber was young....like 15 when he started pitching furniture designs to companies.  He really was a go getter.  His line of modular couches were one of the first in the realm.  He had his own furniture company for many years, selling through designers and did a lot of custom work.  Classy is the best way I can describe his designs.  Innovative as well.  So my table or similar magazine rack was not in the booklet.  I was told about 2 places in Delaware where I can expand my search.  I plan on investigating the holdings at Wintethur and Hayley.

BACK TO THE CUTTOLI LEGER RUG..... 

I also received a few documents from my friend at Kykuit.  These were published by scholars and I could not find a free copy to view but she managed to get me a copy and I am ever so thankful.  The one I really thought would be a great read, in fact, was!  Published by Virginia Gardner Troy, 'Easel Tapestries: The American Reception of the Marie Cuttoli Tapestries 1930s-1950s' hit the mark.  Ms Troy really delves into the history of Cuttoli and her creations and then the element of reproduction of an artists work.  She works through the timeline from the original tapestry series of the 1930s through the exhibition and reception of the works into the 1960s editions.  I found what I was looking for when she touched on this specifically with the following regarding Nelson Rockefeller: “10 years later (1962) he purchased Matisse’s ‘Papeete’ and 2 Leger carpets from Cuttoli via her partnership with Galarie Lucie Weill in Paris.  Both tapestries were deaccessioned by the 1970s.”  The literal meaning of deaccessioned is when a listed item is removed from a collection most likely to sell to raise funds.  We know those rugs were not sold as they still reside at Kykuit and are once again on display to the public.  Amazing how much information gets lost in a relatively short period of time!  Troy cites documents from the Rockefeller archives which means the information exists but to reasonably piece this story together takes numerous sources of varying origins.  It is quite fascinating to discover this and now I have proof of what I figured out some time ago.  This chapter can now be closed and I can say without a doubt what I have.  As to which socialite and art collector owned mine.....I guess I may never figure that out. 🤷‍♂️

New acquisitions.

i have been adding some really neat items to my inventory.  Here is a quick overview.  

 

Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

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Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

More coming!  I just sold the first danish style lounge and have another that I will be restrapping and making cushions for.  Keep your eyes peeled to my Instagram or Facebook so you don’t miss anything!

Have a great week!  XO MALISSA

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