Avery Library announces the launch Avery’s Architectural Novelties an online exhibition highlighting a selection of items from the Avery Classics collection that are delightfully eccentric in their treatment of architecture.
One of the largest collections of rare architectural books in the world, Avery Classics counts thousands of printed volumes among its holdings, as well as photograph albums, bound manuscripts, suites of engravings, and broadsides. Yet the collection also includes certain items that fall outside traditional categories, such as toys, ephemera, and games. Avery’s Architectural Novelties presents a sample of these materials from Avery Classics in an exhibition of downloadable digital images.
One item included in the exhibition is the St. Louis Exposition in a Nutshell. This commemorative souvenir from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 provides an architectural synopsis of the fair, housed within an actual walnut shell. Despite its small size, the souvenir is surprisingly informative, with forty-four photographic views of the fairground pavilions. Another item featured in Avery’s Architectural Novelties is a set of transparencies and a viewfinder produced by the VEB Rathenower Optische Werke. The transparencies show scenes along the newly constructed Stalinallee, the boulevard through East Berlin that was constructed as a showpiece of postwar reconstruction. When seen through the accompanying viewfinder, the images of the street and the nearby housing complexes appear three-dimensional.
These items are two of the twenty on display in Avery’s Architectural Novelties, which provides an introduction to some of the most unconventional items in the Avery Classics collection.