Historic Paperhanging Techniques: A Bibliographic Essay

"Historic Paperhanging Techniques" is now available as a free download here (bottom of page).

Little has been written on paperhanging technique. Trade magazines tell about the workaday world of the paperhanger, but these didn't start until 1875 and are not widely available. Nevertheless, there's a considerable body of information out there if you know where to look: this essay helps you do just that.

This essay of 6,000 words was written for the International Preservation Trades Workshop, Lancaster, PA, Aug. 2-6, 2011. It's dressed up with a fabulous picture postcard of an early 20th century paperhanger getting it done. The picture was supplied by master paperhanger Don Leetz of Wisconsin. Thanks, Don!

The essay brings in European sources like articles from Geert Wisse (Belgium), and Phillippe Fabray and Bernard Jacque (France). I only regret that the Commonwealth countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada) were not addressed this time around. Surely they deserve further study. Wallpaper  was rampant in the 19th century and we see the same widespread use of hessian on plank walls, for example, in these countries, just as in the United States.

Hard copies in a plastic binder are available at no cost to non-profits, so let me know by email if these would find a good home in a library or other archive: info@wallpaperscholar.com

Download: Full Article

Hitler: Paperhanger?

Apparently not. See this article:

Hitler the Artist
Critical Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Winter, 1997), pp. 270-297

I have not looked into this very far. This article is by far the most enlightening I've seen. It establishes that Hitler's occupation (prior to mass murderer) was fine artist.

There's a lot of documentation here about how and why Hitler was lampooned as an uneducated housepainter (mainly, this was a minor political strategy of his opponents in Munich). Apparently, the leap from painter to paperhanger was made because of the allied nature of the trades. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the man most responsible for the canard seems to be Bertolt Brecht. The poet was a longtime antagonist and made regular references to Hitler's political treachery. Brecht portrayed Hitler whitewashing the exterior and fooling others into complacency and trust; yet all the while the  integrity of the wall was crumbling away.

Some translation considerations may have come into play. The image of whitewashing (in order to conceal something less wholesome) is not far removed from the image of papering over a problem.

Here's a link to Arthur Mitchell's 2007 account.

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