Portals to the Past: 1898 catalog offers RVA design details
The newest addition to VCU Libraries’ digital collections featuring architectural elements of the American South is a catalog of doors, windows, mantels and sashes for 1880s buildings.
Thomas E. Stagg was a 19th century Richmond, Va. firm and manufacturer of sashes, blinds and doors for the construction of homes and businesses. Operations were run out of an office and storage space at 1444 E. Main St.
This 1898 “vest-pocket” edition of the Stagg catalog–likely intended to be used on building sites–includes order instructions, price lists and measurements. The Digital Collections catalog is searchable and has hundreds of detailed images of window sashes, doors, columns, mantles, corner and plinth blocks available from the Stagg company.
Many of these architectural and decorative elements are seen throughout Richmond’s historic private and commercial buildings.
According to window restorer and woodworker Dixon Kerr in an article, “How to Copy Vintage Millwork” posted on the Old House Authority website, Richmond was an area prominent in the manufacture of millwork sold throughout the United States. Kerr writes: “In the late 1880s there were approximately a dozen such businesses in Richmond with 30 to 50 employees: Thomas E. Stagg, at 1421 Cary St.; J.J. Montague, at the corner of 9th and Arch Streets; Hare and Tucker, at 2318 Main St.; Whitehurst and Owen, at Byrd and 10th Streets; DuVal & Robertson, at 11th and Porter and 7th & Hull Streets; and Binswanger & Company, at 1427 E. Main St. Binswanger, now a commercial glass company, is still in business; Siewer’s Lumber Company and Ruffin and Payne, still in business, were also in business at the time. Beckstoffer & Son continued in the business until the early 21st century.”
Materials in this collection are in the public domain, and thus are free of any copyright restriction. Please acknowledge VCU Libraries if any of the materials are used.
Additional Research Information
The print catalog is housed in Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library. For more information, see the catalog record. Please direct reference and research inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 828-1108.
Image: Cottage Doors, page 55, Thomas E. Stagg catalog