Early on in cataloging books for the collection, I came across a book by Edith Wharton. My expertise is not in
American literature, but when I think of Edith Wharton, I don’t think of house decorations. It turns out that this was Edith Wharton’s first published book. She wrote it with a friend who was an architect, Ogden Codman. They denounced Victorian style interior decoration and advocated rooms based on simple, classical design principles, stressing symmetry, proportion, and balance in the architecture. The Decoration of Houses was very successful and led to the emergence of professional decorators in a new style. An earlier edition than is held by the Furniture Library has been digitized by the University of Wisconsin if you would like to examine it for yourself.