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How to Use the Images

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Maps

Readings

Drawings 1-3
Illustration 1
Photo 3
Chart 1
Documents
2A & 2B

Activities

Table of
Contents




Visual Evidence

Photo 1: The Brucemore estate today. [Photo 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(Courtesy of Brucemore, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Photo 2: The great hall at Brucemore. [Photo 2] with link to larger version of photo.
(HABS/HAER, National Park Service)

When the Douglas family moved to the mansion in 1906, the estate was renamed Brucemore. The family hired Chicago architect Howard van Doren Shaw, who specialized in North Shore mansions, to oversee the needed renovations (which exceeded $30,000). Shaw relocated the entrance to the south facade (see Photo 1) and built a terrace on the north side, which faced the extensive lawn. Inside, butternut paneling and ceiling beams were added to the great hall. In the 1920s, the Douglases enhanced this space with a dramatic mural depicting scenes from Richard Wagner’s opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung.

Domestic servants were integral to the sophistication and decorum, much less the functionality, of the Brucemore estate. Their work touched every part of the estate, including the 21 rooms in the mansion.

Questions for Photos 1 & 2

1. Examine Photos 1 and 2 and read the accompanying caption, what are your impressions of this home?

2. Does Photo 1 help provide a sense of the mansion's scale? Does it help create a better understanding of the amount of work involved in maintaining such an estate? Why or why not?

3. How would you describe the great hall in Photo 2? What kind of impression did the Douglas family want to give their guests upon entering the home? How might your experience be different if you walked in through the servants' entrance to the home?

* The images on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 1 and Photo 2, but be aware that each file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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