Thursday, July 25, 2013

"The Christmas Tree Book" by Phillip V. Snyder

The History of the Christmas Tree & Antique
Christmas Tree Ornaments: The Christmas Tree
Book by Philip V. Snyder.  The Viking press,
1976, and Penguin Books Ltd., 1977
      For those of you who are interested in doing some serious reading about antique Christmas tree ornaments, primarily from Germany, The Christmas Tree Book by Snyder is one of the rare publications available in English about the subject.
      Snyder also writes about the history of Christmas trees in both Western Europe and the United States. 

"Snyder is a veritable  mine of fascinating facts about his favorite subject--and his enthusiasm is quite contagious." --Harper's Bazaar

      The book also has many photographs, although not what I would call exhaustive, that record popular types of ornamentation purchased in the United States prior the the World Wars. It should be very helpful to collectors in terms of explaining just what and why particular Christmas ornaments are valuable enough to collect at auction. Both mouth-blown glass and Dresden molded cardboard ornaments are covered in the volume, as well as cotton batting and wax dipped ornaments to a lesser degree.

"A seasonal bonus, too big to stuff a stocking but just right for under-the-tree display . . . the reproductions are delightful." --Kirkus Reviews

      The photography in the book is not by today's standards all that impressive. One must consider that at the time it was published in 1977, very little had ever been written about the topic for ordinary American consumption. Today it is still a seldom explored topic for serious history buffs to write about. Although I have seen volumes in recent times that attempt to record a kind of visual history of tree ornamentation for collectors.
      I have delivered a few lectures on the subject of Art and Christmas in St. Louis and the resource has been quite useful to me. For this reason plus the added bonus of being a novice collector myself, I will recommend the book. Snyder covers the information that should be known in general by those who are researching antique Christmas ornaments.

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