Friday, October 24, 2014

From Little House on the Prairie, to Big House-on the Prairie!

George Norlin, from Kansas to Colorado.

"A philosopher of ancient times once dared the paradox that the greatest good fortune lies, not in having the most possessions, but in having the fewest wants."

George Norlin, President, University of Colorado from 1919 - 1940


          Laura Ingalls Wilder got the credit for her recollections of a childhood in the Midwestern woods and northern prairie, but one suspects that if she (or her daughter) hadn't written them down, we would have a backup account from George Norlin.

His Swedish parents arrived in the United States in 1869, and two years later he was born in a little cabin about 100 miles northwest of Junction City, Kansas, near today's Concordia. Later in life he remembered the storms, locusts, floods, beautiful days, festivals and everything else that accompanied that challenging life.  He remembered the little schoolhouse, a mile and a half from his home, to which he was thrilled to go every day classes were held.  Hastings, in Nebraska, was not far to the north, and after college there, he went to the University of Chicago for a degree in Classics.  He started teaching Greek and related classical studies at the University of Colorado in 1899, and in 1901 went to Europe and the U.K. on his first sabbatical.  This was providential, because he met Minnie, his future wife, at the Sorbonne.  They were married in June 1904, and what is even more providential is this:  Minnie was the niece of John Covert, the American Consul at Lyons.  And he owned the house on the right, at 907 12th Street!  So when George and Minnie came back to Boulder, they had nice new digs in a recently built (1885) big house on the prairie.  And it was on the prairie!  If you look at contemporary photos, you see hardly any trees; just prairie grassland, which in many areas persisted for a few more decades. In 1917 George was called to be an interim president, standing in for President Farrand, who had gone to oversee the Red Cross effort in France (Farrand went on to take the presidency at Cornell University in 1919, so Norlin lost his "interim" status, and he and Minnie moved into the President's residence on campus.  Minnie had bought the 12th St. house in 1914, so in 1919 she sold it.

The house has had few owners; five from the Coverts through the current one, and is in excellent condition.  It is for sale now, and if you would like a tour feel free to give me a call!

I am not the listing agent, but he will be delighted if I bring a buyer.

In a future posting I will discuss Norlin's collection of essays and addresses, Things in the Saddle. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940. 

All the best,

Jim Broaddus  303-819-8895

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ruminations on an Old Art Education Book

"Great is the man who can dream and then with a pencil, paint and brush, change his dream into a perfectly designed automobile, an artistically planned park or a beautiful cathedral."

Thomas G. Nichols

 We found this wonderful old book edited by Bess Eleanor Foster last week, and want to know more about it, then share with you what we have learned!

It is comprised of paper cut-out projects, and has examples of completed work by children from kindergarten through the early grades.  The artists who did the illustrations and project outlines seemed to have an arts-and-crafts background, and an illustration of one child's painting appears to be a bit fauvist.  Included are three sheets with drawings by a child.

 The publisher, T.G. Nichols of Kansas City, also published a series entitled The Teachers Extensions, involving several volumes on civic education. And, in 1938 Nichols published a series of posters the Character Culture Citizenship Guide.  Our copy is for sale!

Call me at 303-819-8895.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


"People often tell me that what surprises them most is watching me cook and talk at the same time."  Jacques Pepin

Like walking down the street and chewing gum at the same time?  I don't think so!  This is a book for aspiring professionals by an experienced professional, starting with the basics! Pepin published La Technique in 1976, La Methode in 1979, and put them together in this edition of 2001. 830 pages including the index, and it's good for you, whether or not the recipes are.  A fine to as-new copy, it is $15.00 at the shop.

It came in with around fifteen others, a few of which are pictured here. 

Come in and take a look, at our other cookbooks as well!

We have other cookbooks for professionals and talented amateurs-Laurel's Kitchen, a massive work by Bilheux and Escoffier on Special and Decorative Breads, and a large work from Cordon-Bleu.  Not to mention a title on Elvis's favorite recipes (which surely contributed to his early demise).

Monday, October 6, 2014


"God created paper for the purpose of drawing architecture on it.  Everything else is at least for me an abuse of paper."  
Alvar Aalto

Architects usually present artistically finished drawings to their clients and to the builders who will bring the plans to fruition. But before the sophisticated and accomplished drawings come the doodles. Doodles that, if we are fortunate enough to see them, allow us a glimpse of art being born.  Look at this collection of early sketches compared with photos of the completed buildings and you will see how a vision is materialized

On the left is Erich Mendelsohn's other-worldly sketch that brings to mind H.R. Giger's Alien. On the right, the finished project, the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, a solar observatory which was his first public commission. It was built of brick due to a concrete shortage after the Great War.
Next is his sketch for the Universum Kino, the first modernist theater in the world. It was built in 1928 in Berlin and suffered bomb damage during WWII. Here you can see that it has been recently refurbished.

 Closer to the present is an example by Robert Venturi; first his doodle, and at right  the house.  It was built for his mother, I believe.  But one observer wondered where would she have a cup of tea?

The last example is by Boulder's own iconic architect, Charles Haertling.  His drawing reveals how easily organic shapes flowed from his imagination to the paper.  Remarkably, his imagined shapes took form in the beautiful Caldwell House at 415 Drake in Boulder.

Take out a piece of paper and try a drawing of your own.  What kind of structure can you imagine?