Architecture , Google Books and my Ancestors; reclaiming my Grandfather's Legacy and a History of American Architecture.
BACKGROUND — In 1919 an architecture firm named Polhemus & Coffin formed in New York City. The duration of their tenure generated a body of work that contains many buildings and designs considered to be of meaningful significance to Architectural history, and American history.
For me, another layer of importance is that Lewis A Coffin, Jr was my paternal grandfather, whom I never met, as he died in 1963, one year after my birth. To be able to walk in his shoes and recreate such a significant part of his life's journey—for a very good cause—is an immensely valuable opportunity.
OK, SO HERE IS WHAT IS HAPPENING — One of the books that Polhemus & Coffin, Architects - NYC published in 1921, has lost copyright ownership and is being poorly reproduced and sold by fly-by-night print on demand publishers.
The new edition will only be produced using a matte finish hardcover, printed on premium paper. In addition to the original text and photos, it will also include new photos shot during the journey to France, as well as a side story that documents the journey. I will include a special page dedicated to those who believed in the project and contributed a donation making it possible.
THIS IS HOW WE'LL MAKE IT HAPPEN— I want to recreate the journey to France, retrace the footsteps and explorations that renowned architects H M Polhemus and L A Coffin, Jr undertook in 1920, thus becoming, SMALL FRENCH BUILDINGS - THE ARCHITECTURE OF TOWN AND COUNTRY.
I intend to take photographs of the same buildings as they are today, as well as capture images of buildings that exhibit the same representative characteristics. I've counted over 100 houses and buildings, and only a few are located in the same town. So it will be quite a scavenger hunt.
WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT BOOK? — The main reason this book plays such a role in history, is it documents the origins of a rapidly growing French Provençal and Colonial Revivalist trend in American, between World War 1 and World War 2. Polhemus & Coffin were particularly passionate about this trend and ultimately played a prominent role as key interpreters and historians of this style, which today is considered a quite familiar and popular in many neighborhoods in America.
Polhemus & Coffin also drew inspiration from this journey to create some really cool mansions mostly found in the New England area: Falaise and Mille-Fleurs on the Guggenheim Estate, Long Island. Champ Soleil, Newport Rhode Island. They also focused on high-rises in the city, 232 Madison Ave. NYC and the MIlitary Park Building, Newark, NJ (once NJ tallest building) - both showing some really cool neo-Gothic influences.
BACK TO THE HOW— I'll fly to France with photography equipment, two eager assistants (2 of my kids, Zane and Madeline), a cheese knife, a laptop (my map), an iPhone and a level of nostalgia and connection to my grandfather I could never otherwise experience. I could never have dreamed up such an incredible opportunity. Ever.
During the trip, we will document the journey with a journal, part of which will be updated to a blog which interested folks can easily follow. Our journey and process will also be included as a side-story in the republished edition of the book.
WHEN WE RETURN— We'll return with documentation, photography and anecdotal content to produce an updated version of the original 1921 edition. I will then design and produce the book in a manner that celebrates the firm's original spirit of the project, design detail, glorious typography and include an adjunct storyline that describes and documents the entire adventure.
WHY US?— As a veteran art director, photographer and graphic designer (20+ years), I have the capability to authentically add to and recapture part of a legacy, not only for Polhemus & Coffin, but another chapter in the Coffin Family dating back to William the Conqueror, 1066. My genealogy lineage goes straight back (15 generations) to Tristram Coffyn, who was one of the 9 founders of Nantucket Island in 1649. There is a link below if you're interested.
Original Collector's Edition
Google Books Scraped versions
Polhemus & Coffin on Wikipedia
Military Park Building, Newark, NJ
Falaise - Guggenheim Estate, Long Island
Champ Soleil, Newport RI
"Small Buildings" current version (not even the right cover)
GoogleBooks version (scanned)
The Coffin Family - back to Tristram Coffyn 1642
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $6,500 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on December 20, 2010.
Nov 5, 2010 - Dec 20, 2010 (45 days)
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0 backers Limited (50 of 50 left)
A 5x7 print of a photo selected for the finished book, Small French Buildings.
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2 Limited Edition Postcards featuring your choice of either 5 images from the original printing (1921), or 5 images from the new book resulting from this trip.
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5 Limited Edition Postcards featuring your choice of either 5 images from the original printing (1921), or 5 images from the new book resulting from this trip. Approximately 4.25 x 6" - printed on thick 16pt, sustainably sourced paper stock, with a glossy laminate finish one one side. The other side is lightly coated with a faint satin finish. Something you can actually put a stamp on and mail.
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1 backer Limited (19 of 20 left)
Full pack of 20 Limited Edition Postcards featuring a selection of images, either a combination of images from both versions of the book, or just the older images or the new images. Your choice. Oh, and check this out; this reward also includes the option to individualize each card with your special message, your address, name or what have you. Isn't that cool?! Something you can actually put a stamp on and mail. Approximately 4.25 x 6" - printed on thick 16pt, sustainably sourced paper stock, with a glossy laminate finish one one side. The other side is lightly coated with a faint satin finish
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0 backers Limited (50 of 50 left)
Hardcover Small French Buildings - Limited Edition w/printed matte hardcover. Printed on Premium paper (100# (180 gsm.) coated paper) matte or lustre, your choice.