Expanded database makes largest wallpaper collection in New England available worldwide

  • BOSTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • December 29, 2014

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Arts and Crafts style floral paper. Block printed. 1880-1900.
Historic New England

Thanks in part to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Historic New England announces the completion of a digitization project that makes its extensive wallpaper collection more accessible.

For the past two years, Historic New England has been cataloguing and digitizing its wallpaper collection. Now, more than 6,000 samples have been electronically catalogued and are available at WallpaperHistory.org. The collection includes rolled, flat, oversize, and three-dimensional materials, which each require unique handling and digitization methods.

The project makes accessible a collection that spans three centuries and ranges from very early imported items to William Morris designs to vinyl wallpapers from mid-1960s. The entire Waterhouse Archive of Historic Wallpapers has been newly catalogued and digitized, and there are upgrades and a redesign to 4,800 additional records that improve image quality and data content. “Now the collection is searchable by date, location, and manufacturer, and by keywords like color and type of pattern," says cataloguer Peggy Wishart. “You can zoom in to see every detail.”

Historic New England extensive wallpaper collection contains individual samples, historic photographs of wallpaper in situ, and ephemera dealing with the wallpaper industry. The wallpapers range from pristine examples with complete repeats to small fragments that are part of a sequence in a particular room. The collection also includes scrapbooks, borders, bandboxes, fireboards, and scenic panels, many of which are accessible online for the first time.

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