“The Thorne Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago,” by S.M. O’Connor

      Narcissa Niblack Thorne (1882-1966), wife of Aaron Montgomery Ward’s nephew James Ward Thorne (1874-1947), built the Thorne Miniature Rooms and donated them to The Art Institute of Chicago (A.I.C.). She had commissioned their construction and craftsmen built them to her specifications.  Mrs. Thorne had the one-twelfth scale model period rooms that recreated everything from a Gothic-style Roman Catholic church in England to a dining room in New Mexico in 1940.   She made them for educational purposes, exhibited them at Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34); World’s Fairs in San Francisco and New York City in 1939-40; and the Chicago Historical Society, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and other museums; in addition to the A.I.C.

      James Ward Thorne was the son of George Robert Thorne, the brother-in-law and business partner of the aforementioned retail mail-order kingpin A. Montgomery Ward (1844-1913).[1]  He was Vice President of Montgomery Ward & Company.[2]  J.W. Thorne also sat on the Board of Directors of Montgomery Ward & Company by 1913.[3]  [Three of his brothers – William, Charles, and Robert – held the corporate presidency.[4]]  On formal occasions, Narcissa (Niblack) Thorne preferred to be called Mrs. James Ward Thorne.  The family into which Narcissa Niblack married had made a substantial fortune in Chicago selling products to farmers who lived far away from Chicago’s department stores and they were civic-spirited people who gave much to the city where they made their fortune.

      Born to William Niblack and Frances (Caldwell) Niblack in Vincennes, Indiana on May 2, 1882, Narcissa Niblack was the eldest of three children.[5]  Her younger sister, Lydia Niblack, wed Alden Swift, while their brother, Austin Niblack, wed an heiress from another meatpacking family, Helen Cudahy.[6]  As a little girl, Narcissa Niblack had been encouraged in collecting miniatures by her uncle, Rear Admiral Albert Niblack.[7]  In 1890, the Niblacks moved to Hyde Park, which had been a southern suburb of Chicago and had become a neighborhood on what we now call the South Side of Chicago, when her father accepted a post with the Chicago Title and Trust Company.[8]  In Hyde Park, Narcissa Niblack attended Kenwood Institute.[9]  This was a finishing school.[10]  On May 30, 1901, at the age of nineteen, Narcissa Niblack wed her childhood sweetheart, James Ward Thorne (1874-1946) in Trinity Episcopal Church.[11]  The Thornes had two sons: Ward Thorne (1902-1996) and Niblack (“Bill”) Thorne (1906-1997). 

      In 1926, at the age of fifty-three, James Ward Thorne retired from Montgomery Ward & Company.[12]  With more free time on his part, the family began to travel to Europe more frequently.[13]  In Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, Bruce Hatton Boyer wrote, “There are several stories about just how the idea came to her, including one that traces it to her discovery of a miniature shadow box in a bazaar in Istanbul.”[14]

In 1930, while in Rome, Mrs. Thorne purchased two small bronze chandeliers with semi-precious stones that inspired her to make her first shadow box.[15]  Before Mrs. Thorne ever exhibited her shadow boxes at The Art Institute of Chicago, she there exhibited her collection of 18th and 19th Century color-plate books and the original water color paintings from which the prints were made.[16] 

      Significantly, at the same Mrs. Thorne was building the Thorne Miniature Rooms, her girlhood friend Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) was building eighteen dioramas called the “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death,” which are still used by the organization she founded, Harvard Associates in Police Science, Inc.[17]  Frances Glessner Lee grew up in Glessner House on Prairie Avenue in Chicago.[18]  This is a National Historic Site designed by the famous architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886) in his trademark Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture.[19]  Today, it is a museum.  Her father, John Glessner (1843-1936), was a partner in Warder, Bushnell & Glessner, which in 1902 merged with four other firms to form International Harvester.[20]  John Glessner remained a vice-president of Internal Harvester until his death at the age of ninety-two. 

      George Magrath, a medical examiner who became a professor at Harvard Medical School, was a friend of Frances Glessner Lee’s brother.[21]  She quite enjoyed throwing parties where she would converse with criminal investigators.[22]  Through her conversations with police detectives, scientists, and scholars, she came to appreciate the importance of being able to examine a crime scene properly, and she became a benefactress of the nascent forensic sciences.[23]  In 1936, she caused the foundation of the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard Medical School.[24]  In 1945, she donated the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death to the Department of Legal Medicine for use in seminars.[25]  Each diorama is a reconstruction, in miniature, of a real crime scene.[26]  When Harvard Medical School dissolved the department, Harvard transferred the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in 1966.[27]  They remain on public view and are still used to teach how forensic investigators should approach a crime scene.[28]


      The Thorne Miniature Rooms are not simply dioramas filled with the highest quality of dollhouse furniture, as one might imagine.  The Thorne Miniature Rooms are one-twelfth scale period rooms that recreate how various rooms looked at various stages in the history of England, France, the U.S.A., Japan, and China.  The Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts was the first American museum to have installed period rooms, which opened by 1907.[29] In 1923, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened a collection of period rooms that ranged across four centuries.[30]  In short order, another art museum in New York City, The Brooklyn Museum, and two in the Midwest, The Art Institute of Chicago and The Detroit Institute of Arts, also opened period rooms.[31]

      The Thorne Miniature Rooms impart Mrs. Thorne’s vast knowledge of architecture and interior decoration.  In this respect, they are comparable to The Cloisters museum in New York City, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and other living history museums.  It would be cost prohibitive for The Art Institute of Chicago to build sixty-eight full-scale period rooms.  Notably, the Standard Oil heir and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960) – who was not simply rich, but super-rich – financially backed the foundation of both The Cloisters and Colonial Williamsburg.

      In this same period when art museums were assembling period rooms and living history museums were opening, it was also becoming common for rich and upper-middle-class Americans to create period rooms in their homes.[32]  Nostalgia drew them to acquire real fine art, architecture, and decorative arts of the British, French, German, and Austro-Hungarian aristocracy and gentry or facsimiles thereof.[33]  Many affluent families and individuals built homes that evoked historic schools of architecture.  Some created period rooms in their homes that recreated rooms in palaces and manor houses.  A few super-rich individuals built spectacular residences that rivaled the imperial and royal palaces found in Europe for scale and grandeur.    

      Boyer noted, “The most emulated period was the 18th century, both in England and in France.  The great of the appeal of the art, architecture, and decorate arts of this particular epoch for these Americans seems to have been its comfortable elegance, aristocratic associations, and compatibility with their gracious way of life.  But homes or rooms of other periods – Tudor or French Renaissance, for example – were also frequently designed.  Among the most spectacular and best known homes built in this historicizing spirit are Henry E. Huntingdon’s San Marino in California,[34] James Deering’s Vizcaya in Florida,[35] and, most notably, William Randolph Hearst’s San Sameon, also in California.[36]  [In the same vein, on Long Island, New York, the investment banker Otto Hermann Kahn (1867-1934) built the 127-room, 109,000-square-foot chateau-esque mansion Oheka Castle, which is now a hotel.]  It should be noted that innumerable city apartments and suburban homes were designed and decorated in this taste, as well.”[37]  

      Some of these environments incorporated genuine articles imported from Europe, sometimes even whole rooms.  Dealers like Sir Joseph Duveen scoured Europe and Russia for his clients to find authentic paintings and sculpture, furniture, porcelain, and other objects.  Most interiors, however, were pure pastiches, approximating the look of the period being imitated.  Interior decorating firms like P. W. French of New York and Alvoine of New York and Paris were hired to design and produce paneling, furniture, draperies, upholstery, and carpets, which they then arranged and maintained; they were even asked to purchase appropriate silver, crystal, dishware, and linens.  Understandably, the creation of such ambitious and expensive decorating projects slowed down after the Depression and all but ceased after World War II.[38]

      The Thornes were one such wealthy couple, as two of their residences were designed in historical styles and at least one had period rooms.  In 1910, Mr. & Mrs. James Ward Thorne commissioned Edwin Clark (1878-1967) and William Otis to design a country house for them in north suburban Lake Forest, Illinois.[39]  This chateau-esque house with formal gardens and Beaux-Arts style pool was to be a retreat where they would reside during summertime and over weekends.[40]  [Clark is best known for his work on behalf of the Chicago Zoological Society in the design of the original buildings for Brookfield Zoo in the early 1920s and early ‘30s.[41]  Furthermore, he designed the Lincoln Park Administration Building and the Winnetka Village Hall.[42]  His brother, Alson S. Clark (1876-1949), who studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, became a noted Impressionist painter in California.]  The Thornes commissioned Clark in 1928 to design another residence for them, this times a Beaux Arts-style villa in Santa Barbara, California.[43]  A vacation home, Mountjoie was a 10,000-square-foot estate that overlooked the Pacific Ocean.[44]  The wood in the library came from a monastery in Tuscany.[45]  The mixture of styles and periods included an 18th Century Parisian dining room and 18th Century Viennese ballroom.[46] The home was profiled in the magazine House and Garden.[47] 

      Another precedent for the Thorne Miniature Rooms can be found in royal dollhouses built from the 16th Century to the 20th Century.  Boyer explicated, “An invention of the 16th century, it was intended to serve as a three-dimensional catalogue of its owner’s possessions, a testimony to his greatness, wealth, and position.”[48]  Albrecht V (1528-1579), Duke of Bavaria (1550-1579) – known as Duke Albert V of Bavaria to English-speakers – had the first royal dollhouse, called the Baby House (in English) built in 1558.[49]  [A patron of the arts and bibliophile, his collections of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities evolved into the Staatliche Antikensammlungen (State Collections of Antiquities) museum; his collection of Egyptian antiquities evolved into the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (State Museum of Egyptian Art); and his personal library evolved into the Bavarian State Library.  In 1559, he founded the Paedagogium in Munich, a school for boys that still exists.[50]]  The Baby House was not the only such structure Albrecht V had built to hold replicas of his belongings.[51] 

      In the 16th and 17th Centuries, craftsmen across Europe built miniature houses for royalty aristocracy, gentry, and affluent burghers.[52]  Jessie Burton’s mystery novel, The Miniaturist, published in 2014, and the B.B.C. One miniseries adaptation The Miniaturist (2017), revolve around a miniature house the rich burgher Johannes Brandt of Amsterdam gives his bride Petronella Oortman as a wedding present in 1686.  Petronella begins to receive dolls and furnishings from the unidentified miniaturist that reveal a deep knowledge of the home and predict future events.  Ms. Burton was inspired by the nine-room dollhouse that belonged to the real Petronella Oortman (1656-1716), which is on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  That dollhouse was also the subject of a painting by the Dutch painter Jacob Appel (1680-1751).  This is not to be confused with the twelve-room dollhouse built for Patronella de la Court Oortman (1624-1707), which is on display in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.  Both of these dollhouses are in cabinets.

      Boyer observed, “The vital difference between royal dollhouses and modern ones is that the royal versions were never intended to be playthings for children.  Indeed, the very idea of ‘plaything’ with a dollhouse was completely absent.  Instead, children were encouraged to view the houses as examples of proper living; it was assumed that they would absorb the ‘lessons’ in decorum and manners that such houses displayed.  Thus, royal dollhouses were instruments of instruction rather than sources of amusement.”[53] 

      Other examples include Titania’s Palace and Queen Mary’s Doll’s House.  We know on a trip to London Mrs. Thorne hunted down the cabinet maker who made items for Queen Mary’s Doll’s House and Titiana’s Palace.[54]  Major Sir Neville Wilkinson (1869-1940), the builder of Titania’s Palace, was an English artist who had risen to the rank of major in the Cold Stream Guards. His wife, Lady Beatrix, was a mid-range aristocrat with antecedents at the very top of the aristocracy as the daughter of Sidney Herbert, 14th Earl of Pembroke, and his wife, Lady Beatrix (1859-1944).[55]  He lived in Ireland and held the office of Ulster King of Arms from 1908 until his death in 1940. Wilkinson designed Titania’s Palace and had it built by James Hicks of Dublin and a small army of Irish craftsmen over a period of fifteen years.[56]  The idea came to him one day in 1907 at his residence, Mount Merrian, which was south of Dublin, after his three-year-old daughter Guendolen told him she had seen a fairy disappear in the moss at the roots of a tree in their garden.[57]  This brought to his mind an image of fairies living underground.[58]  He resolved to build a dollhouse that would fulfill his promise to Guendolen to show her where the fairies lived and also to entice “The Fairy Queen and her Court… to transfer themselves to the visible palace, so that all the children of the world might be invited to admire them.”[59]  Titania’s Palace was built on a 1:12 scale in 100-year-old mahogany.[60]  It is named for Queen Titania, wife of King Oberon of the Fairies, in Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is dedicated to “Her Iridescence Queen Titania, her Consort Oberon, and the Royal Family of Fairyland.”[61]  The dollhouse has 3,000 artworks and furnishings.  Wilkinson wrote in the guidebook, “In these rooms will be found a collection of tiny objects of art, collected by the author during thirty-five years of travel in all parts of the world; a collection which never could be replaced.”[62] Titania’s Palace is comprised of eight component parts so it can be disassembled, travel, and be reassembled elsewhere. [63] Colonel Alexander Gillespie of Vevay made the inlaid floors.[64]  Wilkinson painted tapestries, mosaics, and frescos in the style of the Italian Renaissance.[65]  Queen Mary opened it on July 6, 1922 on her wedding anniversary, at the Woman’s Exhibition at Olympia.[66]  [Victoria Mary, Princess of Teck (1863-1953) was Queen Mary of the United Kingdom and British Dominions and Empress of India from 1910 to 1936 and thereafter Queen Dowager until her death.[67]  She was the consort of George V (1865-1936), King of the United Kingdom, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas and Emperor of India (1910-1936).  George V and Mary were the parents of two British kings: Edward VIII (lived 1894-1972, reigned 1936) and George VI (lived 1895-1952, reigned 1936-1952).  Through George VI, and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (1900-2002), Queen Mary was the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.]  After a tour of 160 cities and towns in the British Isles, it toured the Americas, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia. It had been seen by 1,700,000 people and had raised £80,000 “for the welfare of crippled, neglected or unhappy children.” [68]   The movie star Colleen Moore (1902-1988) and her father were inspired to build a dollhouse castle they could use to raise money for children’s charities by Titania’s Palace, which they saw Major Sir Neville Wilkinson (1869-1940) and Lady Beatrix display at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in March of 1928.[69] 

      Titania’s Palace went on display in Dublin and then Ballynastragh in County Wexford.[70]  The trustees of Titania’s Palace were Guendolen and Phyllis Wilkinson, and their mother, Lady Beatrix Wilkinson (1878-1957), who married the widower Ralph Francis Forward-Howard (1877-1946), 7th Earl of Wicklow, on March 5, 1942. [71]   From that date until her death on December 3, 1957, she was known as Lady Wicklow. [72]  In 1965, Titania’s Palace lost its home and was packed up and stored at the Bank of Ireland. [73]   It was displayed at the department store Harrods in London to raise money for Irish charities. [74]   The trustees were organized under the name Tiny Crafts, Ltd. [75]   In October of 1967, it went on the auction block at Christie’s and left the control of the Wilkinson family. [76]   Mrs. Olive Hodgkinson purchased it for £31,000 and put it on display at Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset, England. [77]   While a new exhibit space was created for it at Wookey Hole, Sir Neville Wilkinson’s daughters, Guendolen and Phyllis, put it on display at a Georgian-style house designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in Ballynastragh. [78]   When Mrs. Hodgkinson moved to the isle of Jersey in the Channel Islands, she put Titania’s Palace on display there. [79]   After her death, her trustees sold Titania’s Palace at auction for £131,000 on Tuesday, January 10, 1978. [80]   In 1980, it went on display in an exhibit hall at LEGOLAND® Billund Resort, the original LEGOLAND® theme park in Denmark. [81]   In 1987, The LEGO® Group published Titania’s Palace: The Fairy Queen’s Miniature Palace in LEGOLAND Park by Hanne Ganzhorn.  Count Michael Preben Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille reached a loan agreement with LEGOLAND® and in 2007 Titania’s Palace moved from LEGOLAND to his family residence, Egeskov Castle, which has five museums on its grounds, on the island of Danish island of Funen. It remains on display on the first floor within a public area of Egeskov Castle itself.

      Designed by the aforementioned architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944),[82] Queen Mary’s Doll’s House is a Palladian style town house royal palace.[83] For the façade, he referenced Inigo Jones (1573-1652) and Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723).[84]  Queen Mary’s Doll’s House was built on a scale of 1:12 between 1921 and 1924 and is the most famous dollhouse in the world.  Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), designed the garden.[85]  It was the brainchild of Princess Marie-Louise (1872-1956), a cousin of George V and girlhood friend of Queen Mary.[86]  Lutyens was a friend of Princess Marie-Louise.  The whole façade of Queen Mary’s Doll’s House slides upward to display the rooms within, and, thus, the furnishings.  It has running hot and cold water and electricity.  There are cisterns in the basement and the toilets flush.  Queen Mary’s Doll’s House is electrified.  The electric lights and the elevators, which the British call lifts, work.  It was exhibited at the Empire Exhibition in London in 1924.  It was a showcase for British craftsmanship.  Many of the craftsmen who contributed miniature furniture, textiles, ceramics, silver, and soap were holders of royal warrants.  Princess Marie Louise and Lutyens solicited contributions from writers, artists, and composers, which resulted in the library being stocked with 700 miniature books.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was one of the famous authors who contributed books, his being How Watson Learned the Trick.  After she formally received the doll house, Queen Mary added a miniature copper tea service she had been given by her mother and a miniature mouse made by Feberge.  Since 1925, it has been on display at Windsor Castle.  In 2016, the exhibit closed for two weeks so each room could be cleaned and each miniature object could be inventoried, cleaned, and photographed.  Each object had to be individually assessed and some of them underwent conservation by in-house conservators.

The Design, Construction, and Early Exhibitions of the Thorne Miniature Rooms

      Mrs. Thorne began the construction of her first twelve miniature rooms or shadow boxes in December of 1931.[87]  Architects Edwin Clark and Herbert Banse of Edwin Clark & Herbert Banse, Inc. designed the first twelve rooms to Mrs. Thorne’s specifications.[88]  Francis W. Kramer Studios in Chicago built the rooms.[89]  To benefit the Architects Emergency Relief Fund in 1932, Mrs. Thorne exhibited ten of the twelve shadow boxes completed by June of 1932 at the Ackermann Galleries at 408 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago and the Ackermann Galleries at 50 East 57th Street in New York City.[90]  Over 2,200 people paid twenty-five cents each to see the rooms in Chicago, including Mrs. Woodrow Wilson and Mrs. J. Ogden Armour.[91]  Mrs. Armour recreated some of the rooms at her Melody Farm residence in north suburban Lake Forest, Illinois.[92]  That same year, Mrs. Thorne exhibited thirty of the Thorne Rooms at the Chicago Historical Society (C.H.S.) for the benefit of the Architectural Students League.[93] 

      Niblack Thorne later recalled that there were up to thirty miniature rooms in Mrs. Thorne’s studio at one time.[94]  At any given time, there would be three craftsmen at work simultaneously. While one built architectural shells, a second did plasterwork, and a third carved moldings.[95]

      When Mrs. Thorne had the original Thorne Rooms made, she utilized miniatures she already owned.[96]  Thus, the periods she represented were limited by her collection.[97]  When she determined she would make a second set of European Rooms, she decided they would be comprehensive in scope and displayed in chronological order.[98]

      Mrs. Thorne displayed twelve miniature rooms at A Century of Progress in 1933 and twenty-six miniature rooms in 1934.[99]  Approximately 300,000 people paid twenty-five cents each to see Mrs. Thorne’s recreations of English, French, Spanish, Italian, and American rooms at A Century of Progress.[100]  In 1933, the rooms were displayed at the “Streets of Paris” attraction and in 1934 they were displayed in the former Edison Building situated on the shore of the South Lagoon.[101]  Mrs. Thorne was disappointed when her twelve rooms were on display at the “Streets of Paris” attraction to have them in such close proximity to risqué concessions that were meant to evoke the red light district of Paris.[102]  In August of 1933, the Thornes traveled to England and France, and she promised her family that she would stop collecting miniatures, but it was not a promise she could keep.[103] 

      To get all the miniatures she purchased in England and France home, it was necessary to purchase additional trunks.[104]  In December of 1933, Mrs. Thorne hired several out-of-work artisans to build fourteen new miniature rooms.[105]  These were completed on May 22, 1934, just four days before A Century of Progress re-opened for a second season.[106]  The twenty-six rooms were a mixture of European and American rooms and ranged chronologically from the 17th Century to the 1920s.[107]  They were now labeled “Mrs. Thorne’s Miniature Rooms.”[108] 

      To create an American bedroom of the Colonial period, Mrs. Thorne had a replica made of a bedroom in Salem, Massachusetts.[109]    She had it filled with miniatures of the antique furniture on display in a period room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[110] 

      Between 1937 and ’38, Mrs. Thorne had a set of thirty-one miniature rooms – the second set of European Rooms – completed and displayed at the C.H.S.[111]  The Needlework and Textile Guild of the Art Institute of Chicago produced the rugs in the European rooms.[112]  Impressed by the bronze gates Marie Zimmerman (1879-1972) designed for the mausoleum of the Aaron Montgomery Ward and George Thorne families at Rosehill Cemetery, Mrs. James Ward Thorne had her design the wrought iron, lighting fixtures, and altar fitments for Our Lady Queen of Angels, the English Roman Catholic Church in the Gothic Style, 1275-1300 (E-29).[113]   Our Lady Queen of Angels is the only one of the Thorne Miniature Rooms to not be built at a one-twelfth scale.[114]  The English Dining Room of the Georgian Period was in the style of the 18th Century architect Robert Adam.[115]  The landscape painting in the room was in the style of Claud Lorrain.[116] 

      Mrs. Thorne made the two Asian Rooms completed around 1937.  She commissioned a craftsman in Hong Kong (then a British colony) to carve the screens and fretwork for the Chinese Interior, Traditional.  The two Asian rooms may have been built as an afterthought and may also reflect Oriental influences on Occidental interior decoration.[117]

      The Thorne Rooms exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago was profiled in LIFE Magazine in the November 29, 1937 issue.[118]   By that time, Mrs. Thorne had corrected flaws she had discerned in the original shadowboxes she had displayed at A Century of Progress.  On November 29, 1938, Potter Palmer II (1875-1943),[119] President of the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago, wrote a letter to thank Mrs. Thorne for the exhibit.[120]  


The Art Institute of Chicago

November 29, 1938

My dear Mrs. Thorne:

      In summing up the activities of the Art Institute for the year, the Trustees wish to thank you for your very generous contribution in making the Exhibit of Miniature Rooms possible.  It was one of the most memorable shows we have had, both from the standpoint of public interest and of attendance, and it will be long remembered.

      The energy and devotion you contributed, and the financial assistance you gave in getting the project started are deeply appreciated.

Very sincerely yours,

Potter Palmer


Mrs. James Ward Thorne

1500 Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, Illinois


      In 1939, she displayed the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the World’s Fair in San Francisco, the Golden Gate International Exposition, and, in 1940, at the New York World’s Fair.[121]  Mrs. Thorne and her sister Mrs. Alden (Lydia Niblack) Swift traveled to San Francisco to supervise installation of the exhibition in an airplane hangar on Treasure Island.[122]  The San Francisco Chronicle reported the Chicago Historical Society’s Blanche Sudlow came to San Francisco to clean the Thorne Miniature Rooms with “tiny brushes and cloths.”[123] 

      Over 1,000,000 people waited in lines of up to thirty minutes or more to see the miniature rooms.[124]  After he saw the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Golden Gate International Exposition, Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966) started to collect miniatures while he traveled in Europe.[125]  Famed stage-and-screen actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993) commented, “They are like a stage setting.  The remarkable fidelity is unique.  I have never seen anything like them in my whole life.”[126] 

      The exhibition was also a hit in New York City.[127]  The World’s Fair in New York City, known as the New York’s World’s Fair 1939-1940, which was held in Flushing Meadows in the Borough of Queens.  Mrs. Thorne exhibited thirty miniature rooms in the American Art Today Building.[128]   Mrs. Thorne published an exhibit catalog, Architectural Models: Miniature Rooms by Mrs. James Ward Thorne | World’s Fair of 1940 in New York.  After the World’s Fair, the exhibition went on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and then toured other art museums on the East Coast.[129]

      In 1940 and ’41, Mrs. Thorne completed a third set of Thorne Miniature Rooms, thirty-seven American Rooms, and exhibited them in The Art Institute of Chicago’s Allerton Wing.[130]  Eugene J. Kupjack (1912-1991), who had taken art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a decade between ages eight and eighteen and attended Crane College, made thirty of the American miniature rooms. [131]   His aspiration had been to become a Hollywood set designer.[132]  In 1937, he had read in the magazine Life about Mrs. Thorne making the European rooms using antiques and unsolicited sent her a miniature chair with a cane seat and plastic plate and goblet he had made, which prompted a phone-call from her. [133]   She inquired how he had known she was having difficulty finding canework and where he had purchased the glass plate and goblet.[134]  His reply that they were made of Lucite plastic, not glass, by him, led to a job offer. [135]   The twenty-five-year-old Kupjack would work for Mrs. Thorne on-and-off for almost thirty years.[136] The Middletown Parlor, which is a reference to a town in Mrs. Thorne’s home state of Indiana, has a miniature copy of the Chicago Tribune donated by Mrs. Thorne’s friend Colonel Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955).[137]   It also has a miniature steam locomotive that was a gift from Mrs. Thorne’s friend, the aforementioned Colleen Moore.[138]   

      Kupjack recommended Mrs. Thorne hire his cousin Lee Meisinger, who made the needlepoint rugs.[139]  Born in 1919, Miss Meisinger was fresh out of high school when she went to work for Mrs. Thorne.  She trained with the Needlework and Textile Guild.[140]  Miss Meisinger would have to transfer a pattern for a rug to cotton mesh, which took thirty stitches per inch with two pieces of silk thread.  Silk mesh, which took her no little effort to master, required forty stitches per inch with one piece of thread.  Mrs. Thorne designed many of the rugs Miss Meisinger made.[141]

      The other artisans on Mrs. Thorne’s staff by 1939 included Alfons Weber, who had worked as a window designer for Marshall Field & Company and Claus O. Brandell (1877-1953), who carved miniature furniture (in the course of which he sometimes invented tools).[142]  A German immigrant, Weber was a master-carver who had trained as an apprentice carver in Hamburg before he found work in the Marshall Field & Company window display workshop.  Mrs. Thorne counted the Fields amongst her friends and through them found Weber.  Initially, she hired him to carve a window frame for one of the miniature rooms.  Gratified with the outcome, she commissioned him to carve wood molds for the decorative gesso molding. A Swedish immigrant, Brandell was an autodidact of an engineer and inventor who had founded a tool and machine manufacturing company in Cincinnati, Ohio, only to see if fail during the Second Great Depression (which lasted in the U.S.A. roughly from 1929 to 1940).  He subsequently went on to find work with Kramer Studios, a window display company in Chicago, where Mrs. Thorne found him in 1933.  Brandell worked for Mrs. Thorne for seven years. 

      Shortly after the completion of the American Rooms, the U.S.A. entered the Second Great World War, and Kupjack set to work building orthopedic instruments for the Office of Naval Research and Mrs. Thorne began to work with the Red Cross.[143]  Kupjack rose to the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy.  Thirteen of the medical instruments he invented received patents.  In the postwar years, he resumed work with Mrs. Thorne but also began to receive outside commissions.[144]

      During the war, the American Rooms became a traveling exhibit in the tradition of the two older sets of miniature rooms and were displayed in major American museums, for the most part on the East Coast.[145]  A technical assistant, Mrs. Ladusca Wilson, accompanied the exhibit, unpacking each item when it arrived at a museum and re-packing it when it was time to move onto the next one.[146]  She would unpack one room at a time.[147]  The process of unpacking and installing the exhibit would take her two-to-three weeks.[148]

      Mrs. Thorne donated all three sets of Thorne Miniature Rooms to The Art Institute of Chicago in 1941.[149]  She also donated funds to maintain the Thorne Miniature Rooms.[150]  John T. McCutcheon (1870-1949), Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist (and President of the Chicago Zoological Society from 1921 to 1948), honored Mrs. Thorne with a front-page cartoon entitled “A New Art Joins the Old Masters at the Art Institute of Chicago” that the Tribune published on January 12, 1941.[151] 

      In 1942, The Art Institute of Chicago sold the first set of Thorne Miniature Rooms to International Business Machines (I.B.M.),[152] which is how they ultimately ended up in other museums.  I.B.M. purchased twenty-nine of the miniature rooms.[153]  Sally Sexton Kalmbach placed this acquisition in context.  “During the 1930s, IBM had been busy compiling a substantial art collection, including contemporary art from 79 countries, art of the Americas, watercolors from 48 United States, historic costumes of the Americas and the great Leonardo da Vinci models.  In 1948, the XVIII ARTNEWS ANNUAL recognized IBM for its great American public collection ‘where Education is a Way of Life.’”[154]   Initially, I.B.M. exhibited the “Thorne Period Rooms in Miniature” at the I.B.M. Gallery at 16 East 57th Street in New York City.[155]  The company then sent the miniature rooms on a tour around our federation for twenty years.[156]  In 1943, James Ward Thorne wrote I.B.M. to convey that his wife was willing to setup the Thorne Miniature Rooms I.B.M. had acquired when they were to go on display.[157]

      The Art Institute of Chicago named Mrs. Thorne a Benefactor of the Art Institute in 1942.[158] The next year, the A.I.C. added Mrs. Thorne to the Committee on Decorative Arts.[159]  In January of 1944, The American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) bestowed an honorary membership on Mrs. Thorne.[160]     

      In 1954, a gallery dedicated to the Thorne Miniature Rooms opened at The Art Institute of Chicago.[161]  When Queen Elizabeth II; her consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; and Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (1895-1979) visited Chicago in July of 1959, Mrs. Thorne personally gave the monarch a tour of the Thorne Miniature Rooms gallery.[162]  In October of 1960, Mrs. Thorne also gave a tour of the gallery for (Prince Philip’s cousin) Frederick IX (1899-1972), King of Denmark (1947-1972), and his consort, Queen Ingrid (1910-2000).[163] 

      In 1959, the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago voted unanimously to appoint Mrs. Thorne Honorary Curator of Decorative Arts.[164]  In a letter dated November 4, 1959, to William McCormick Blair (1884-1982), President of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Hans Huth (1892-1977), Curator of Decorative Arts, argued other benefactors of The Art Institute of Chicago should not be so honored.[165] 

      Dr. Huth wrote, in part, “In view of the possibility of some persons making efforts to have the same title conferred on them I would like to state how unique the situation concerning Mrs. Thorne was, and that a constellation of the same kind can hardly be expected again. In my opinion there is a great difference between the donor, however large his gifts of money or objects may be, and the person who not only offers ideas but carries them out and also takes care to improve them in many ways.  However intelligently a donor may have built up a collection he gives, or however splendid the ideas devised by a bequest under certain conditions (such as Winterbotham, e.g.), it is a very different thing from what a creative mind may suggest and then carry out.  I think too many people now take Mrs. Thorne’s rooms for granted and accept them as something any wealthy lady could have done.  But that shows a lack of understanding, as Mrs. Thorne conceived something for which there was no precedent.  True, there have been dolls’ houses, and I know some magnificent ones dating far back.  But Mrs. Thorne’s creation is something entirely different.  Her ideas was not to make up some kind of doll rooms to amuse the public, as all the others I know.  Instead she visualized the manner of life in the past and did so as precisely as she knew how.  First she realized that everything would have to be in scale and that nothing could be invented.  Therefore she studied all the sources and made a careful selection of topics.  She then had to make up her staff, and direct its work.  All this might have been done to the point, but altogether boring.  The fact this might have been done to the point, but altogether boring.  The fact that this did not happen, but that the rooms are admired by young and old, as well as by professionals, is due to the fact that they are done full of taste, imagination and, one might say, in a dramatic fashion.  Many of them look as if the actor has just left the stage and that now it will be the task of the visitor to imagine what has just happened, or indeed might happen next.  Among other reasons, I believe this illusion is due to certain light effects and those outlooks from one room into another or into a garden.  Sometimes a slight indication, a hat, a pair of spectacles, though hardly visible, conveys a certain mood to the onlooker.  In short, aside from the extreme correctness of the ensemble, there is inherent in it an atmosphere which is inimitable.”[166] 

Books on Mrs. Thorne and the Thorne Miniature Rooms

      Meyric Reynold Rogers (1893-1972),[167] Curator of Decorative Arts and of Industrial Arts, wrote the first books on the Thorne Rooms, one of which was American Rooms in Miniature, which was first published in 1941.  This was an illustrated booklet with seventy-nine pages.  He used material from Mrs. Thorne.  The seventh edition was printed in 1974. His book Handbook to the European Rooms in Miniature had six editions between 1942 and 1948.  This was a booklet with illustrations that was sixty-three-pages-long in its 1943 edition and sixty-four-page-long in its 1948 edition.  Another book Rogers wrote, European Rooms in Miniature, Including a Chinese and Japanese Interior, was published in 1948. It had a copyright of 1962, and four editions were published between 1976 and 1983.  This was a sixty-seven-page-long booklet with illustrations.  All three of these books were published under Mrs. James Ward Thorne’s name. 

Figure 1 Caption: The Art Institute of Chicago published Handbook to the European Rooms in Miniature by Mrs. James Ward Thorne.  Meyric R. Rogers, Curator of Decorative Arts and of Industrial Arts, wrote the foreword and text. Ralston-Hughes, Chicago provided the photos with which it was illustrated.  This is the cover of the second edition, printed in 1943.

Figure 2 The Art Institute of Chicago published American Rooms in Miniature by Mrs. James Ward Thorne in 1941.  This is the cover of the eighth edition, printed in 1979 by Hillison & Etten Company, a division of John Blair & Company.

      In 1983, Abbeville Press, Publishers, printed Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago at the behest of the A.I.C.  This was the second book the A.I.C. has published on the Throne Rooms.  For the new book, Bruce Hatton Boyer, Ph.D., wrote an introduction about the history of miniatures and Mrs. Thorne’s effort to have the sixty-eight rooms built.  Boyer later wrote The Natural History of the Field Museum – Exploring the Earth and Its People, published in 1993.  Mrs. Thorne’s son, Niblack Thorne, and his wife, Suzanne Thorne (1919-2012) provided information for the book. Mrs. Fannia Weingartner (1929-1994), Editor of Publications for the C.H.S. from 1977 to 1982, wrote profiles of the sixty-eight rooms.  Lynn Springer Roberts, Curator of European Decorative Arts, reviewed these profiles.  Two outside experts helped her in that review processes.  These outside experts were Theodore Dell, who reviewed the profiles of the French rooms, and Anne F. Woodhouse, Curator of Decorative Arts at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, reviewed the profiles of the American rooms.  Fans had requested a book with full-color illustrations of the Thorne Miniature Rooms for years, and to this end Chicago-based photographers Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar (died 2004) and Michael Abramson (1948-2011) provided two color photographs of each room for the book.  Taking the photographs was a laborious process.  The rooms have soft, indirect lighting.  To capture the effect, the photographers made exposures that took up to fifteen minutes.  Alice Pirie Hargrave (Colleen Moore’s ex-daughter-in-law), Technical Assistant for the Thorne Rooms, played a role in every stage in the composition of the book. Susan F. Rossen, Editor and Coordinator of Publications, edited the book.  [In 2009, she retired after twenty-eight years of service.]  Cris Ligenza, Editorial Secretary in the A.I.C.’s Publications Department, typed the manuscript.  Betty Seid, Publications Department Assistant, prepared the glossary.  [She is now on the Board of Directors.]  Typographer, book designer, and graphic artist Harvey Retzloff (died 2002) of Chicago designed the book.[168]  In 2009, The Art Institute of Chicago published a second edition with a new cover.  

Figure 3 Caption: Abbeville Press · Publishers in New York, London, and Paris published Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago on behalf of The Art Institute of Chicago.  Cross River Press, Ltd. held the 1983 copyright.  Toppan Printing Company, Ltd. of Japan did the actual printing.  The cover photograph is of the French Bedroom, late 16th Century (E-17).

Figure 4 Caption: In 2014, Ampersand, Inc. published Sally Sexton Kalmbach’s book Mrs. Thorne’s World of Miniatures.  She is also the authoress of The Jewel of the Gold Coast: Mrs. Potter Palmer’s Chicago.

      The Chicago Postcard Museum has an exhibit on the Thorne Rooms, Special Exhibits Hall: Mrs. James Ward Thorne Memorial Wing – The Art Institute of Chicago: Thorne Room Miniatures, which contrasts imagery from black-and-white postcards printed in the 1940s with more recent color postcards.[169]  In some cases, this reveals subtle changes individual miniature rooms have undergone.

Thorne Rooms at Other Institutions

      At the suggestion of Niblack (“Bill”) Thorne, in 1960, Mrs. Thorne refurbished sixteen of the twenty-nine miniature rooms from the first set of Thorne Miniature Rooms I.B.M. had acquired from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1942 and donated them in 1962 to the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.[170]  She recruited Eugene Kupjack, who had been at work on a project for the American Institute of Decorators, to help restore these miniature rooms.[171]  They were English, French, and Spanish rooms.[172]  Mrs. Thorne donated them as a memorial for Marie Gaetge Thorne, the late wife of Niblack Thorne.[173]  [According to the Phoenix Art Museum, it was Niblack Thorne who donated twenty of the miniature rooms to the Phoenix Art Museum in 1962.[174]]  They are also called the Thorne Miniature Rooms.[175]  His third wife, Suzanne, wrote a booklet on them that was entitled Miniature Rooms by Mrs. James Ward Thorne in the Permanent Collection of the Phoenix Museum of Art, which was published in 1972.

      In 1962, I.B.M. gave nine of them to the Dulin Gallery of Art, which evolved into the Knoxville Museum of Art.[176] This exhibit of nine of the miniature rooms is also called the Thorne Rooms.[177]  They have been on display since 1965.[178]  Sherri Lee recently paid to have the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Thorne Rooms exhibit in honor of Mrs. McAfee Lee.[179] 

      According to Susen Taras, the Heron Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana also received Thorne Miniature Rooms.[180]  This is now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields in downtown Indianapolis.  This is the Miniature Massachusetts Dining Room.  Mrs. Thorne donated the Miniature Massachusetts Dining Room in 1944 in honor of her paternal grandparents William Ellis and Eliza Sherman Niblack.  It is in the Decorative Arts collection, but is not currently on display. 

      Mrs. Thorne donated shadow boxes to two hospitals: Children’s Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital.[181]  [Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital merged with Rush Medical College in 1969 to form Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.  It moved out of its old complex of buildings, which are now occupied by condominiums.  In 2003, the organization became Rush University Medical Center.]  In 1962, Mrs. Thorne gave miniature rooms to Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital to place on display in the children’s ward.[182]  The next year, Mrs. Thorne sold thirty shadow boxes through the Russell Button Gallery to raise money for charity.[183] 

      In 1985, an institution the Chicago Tribune’s Anita Gold identified as “a major Midwestern museum that wishes to remain anonymous but that is not the Art Institute” offered seven miniature rooms made by Mrs. Thorne for sale.[184]  They were on consignment with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, which was then located at 225 West Ohio Street (in Chicago’s River North neighborhood in the Near North Side Community Area and is now located at 1338 West Lake Street in the Near West Side Community Area).[185]

      Currently, according to the Phoenix Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago has sixty-eight of the miniature rooms, the Phoenix Museum of Art has twenty, the Knoxville Museum of Art has nine, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has one, and the Kaye Miniature Museum in Los Angeles has one.[186]  However, in 2000 the L.A. Times reported that Carole & Barry Kaye had announced they would close their 14,000-square-foot Carole & Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures, which has stood on the Museum Row stretch of Wilshire Boulevard on January 1, 2001 and sell its contents after they decided to move to Boca Raton, Florida and were unable to reach an agreement with Los Angeles County.[187]  Furthermore, the miniature room at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which depicts the museum as how it would have looked when it began operations in 1925 in the Carriage House of The Indianapolis Propylaeum club, shortly after patroness of the arts Mary Stewart Carey (1859-1938) founded it, was made by Eugene Kupjack,[188] but I find no connection to Mrs. Thorne, so it is related to the shadowboxes dubbed “Thorne Rooms” at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Knoxville Museum of Art, but it may not be one of them per se.  According to Mrs. Thorne’s biographer, Sally Sexton Kalmbach, there are five museums with Thorne Miniature Rooms: The Art Institute of Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel, Indiana.[189]

The Thorne Miniature Rooms (at the A.I.C.) Today

      With her health in decline, she closed her studio and donated the last items on hand to charity in March of 1966.[190]  She donated items to Eugene Kupjack, including a German Hallway Thorne Room.[191]  This room can be seen on Page 108 of Mrs. Thorne’s World of Miniatures.  Eugene Kupjack’s sons Hank and Jay Kupjack lent the German Hallway Thorne Room to The Art Institute of Chicago around 2010.[192]

      On Saturday, June 25, 1966, Mrs. Thorne died at her residence at 232 East Walton Street in Chicago.[193]  She was a great-grandmother by 1953, when her granddaughter Anne Thorne Weaver had a daughter named Wendy, so she had lived a full life.[194]  Her funeral was held in the Westminster Chapel of Fourth Presbyterian Church,[195] which is located on the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue.  Mrs. Thorne was buried in the family mausoleum in Rosehill Cemetery.[196]

      In the 1970s, the Thorne Miniature Rooms were valued at $7,500 each, and they have only appreciated in value over time.[197]  In addition to her donation of the Thorne Miniature Rooms to The Art Institute of Chicago, she also donated her collection of 19th Century color-plate books to its Department of Prints and Drawings and her collection of furniture, interiors, and decorative arts to its Ryerson Library.[198]  Further, in 1969, Niblack Thorne donated to The Art Institute of Chicago a pastel-on-paper portrait of his mother executed in 1915 by Virginia Keep Clark (1878-1962).[199]  It is called Portrait of Mrs. James Ward Thorne.  Mrs. Clark and her husband’s cousin Cecil Clark Davis exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1917 as members of the Chicago Society of Artists.[200]

      Well before Alice Pirie Hargrave (now Alice Pirie Hargrave Wirtz) [201] began her association with the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago, when she was a girl her parents gave her shadow boxes Mrs. Thorne had made and sold through the Woman’s Exchange.[202]  Then, while she was married to Colleen Moore’s stepson Homer Hargrave, Junior, her mother-in-law introduced her to Mrs. Thorne.[203]  Mrs. Hargrave (now Mrs. Wirtz) began to volunteer at The Art Institute of Chicago with the Needlework and Textile Guild.[204] 

      As Sally Sexton Kalmbach recounted, “During the late 1970s many rugs originally made for the American Rooms had to be replaced.  The originals were made from antique cashmere and paisley shawls glued to a backing.  After exposure to the heat of light bulbs for 35 years, the fabric started to separate.  Research was carried out to create designs appropriate for each room.  Alice, a needlepoint designer, was asked to design the rug for the anteroom of the Charleston Drawing Room as well as a tapestry for the Louis XIV Room.  Guild members worked diligently to complete the rugs which took a total of 1,157 hours!”[205] 

      Subsequently, when the technical assistant in charge of the Thorne Miniature Rooms resigned in 1978, Mrs. Hargrave took the job.[206]  She held the position until 1991.[207]

      In 1985, the Thorne Miniature Rooms closed for four years in order for the miniature rooms to undergo conservation and the gallery to undergo renovation.[208]  The architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the renovation.[209]  The exhibit re-opened in 1989.[210]  The gallery was known as the Mrs. James Ward Thorne Gallery.  In the late 1980s, the Board of Trustees offered opportunities to members to dedicate a Thorne Miniature Room for $15,000 to be paid over a period of three years.[211]  This money helped underwrite the cost of construction, maintain, and operate the exhibit.[212]  Plaques that identified donors were installed under the rooms.[213]        

      A memorial service for Eugene Kupjack was held when he died in 1991, and before he attended it, Marshall Field V, then Chairman of the A.I.C.’s Board of Trustees, said the Thorne Rooms “remain of our most popular exhibits.” [214]  Hank and Ray Kupjack, the sons of Eugene, continued their father’s business.[215]  It is called Kupjack Associates and was located in Park Ridge, Illinois.

      Henry (“Hank”) Kupjack died at his home near the intersection of Armitage Avenue and Racine Avenue in Chicago, evidently of a heart attack, in February of 2019 at the age of sixty-seven.[216]  He was the lead miniaturist while younger brother Ray mainly photographed his work.[217]  About three years before Hank’s death he and Ray had sold the old family home in Park Ridge and moved the business to Chicago.[218]  Ray Kupjack has continued the family business out of a studio in Pilsen (a neighborhood in the Lower West Side Community Area on the West Side of Chicago).[219]   He told CHICAGO MAGAZINE’s Matt Reynolds, he also kept the cremated ashes of Eugene and Hank, as well as those of a dog, but could not locate them.[220]  Today, the asking price for a Kupjack shadow box is around $250,000, but it is difficult to find buyers these days.[221]  In the past, customers included magazine publisher and art collector Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), mutual fund founder and philanthropist Richard Driehaus, a Chicago Tribune executive who wanted a replica of Colonel Robert McCormick’s office, and members of the Marshall Field family.[222]  Recently, Mr. Kupjack attempted to revive the family business by borrowing $30,000 from friends to rent space at Navy Pier for an exhibition of miniature rooms built by his father and brother, but only managed to sell about 100 tickets.[223]  One of the main draws was a 1940s diner Hank had made in 1987 and lent to the White House under the Clinton Administration.[224] 

      One of The Art Institute of Chicago’s fifteen curatorial departments is dedicated to the Thorne Miniature Rooms, the other curatorial departments being American Art; Ancient and Byzantine Art; Architecture and Design; Arms, Armor, Medieval, and Renaissance; Arts of Africa; Arts of the Americas; Asian Art; Contemporary Art; European Decorative Arts; European Painting and Sculpture; Modern Art; Photography; Prints and Drawings; and Textiles. The Thorne Miniature Rooms are on display in Gallery 11.

European Rooms




English Roman Catholic Church in the Gothic Style



English Great Room of the Late Tudor Period



English Bedchamber of the Jacobean or Stuart Period



English Reception Room of the Jacobean Period



English Drawing Room of the Late Jacobean Period



English Cottage Kitchen of the Queen Anne Period



English Library of the Queen Anne Period



English Drawing Room of the Early Georgian Period



English Bedroom of the Georgian Period



English Dining Room of the Georgian Period



English Drawing Room of the Georgian Period



English Entrance Hall of the Georgian Period


Circa 1775

English Drawing Room of the Georgian Period


Circa 1800

English Rotunda and Library of the Regency Period



English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period



English Drawing Room of the Modern Period



French Bedroom


Late 16th Century

French Bedroom of the Louis XIV Period



French Dining Room of the Louis XIV Period



French Provincial Bedroom of the Louis XV Period


18th Century

French Dining Room of the Periods of Louis XV and Louis XIV


Louis XIV reigned 1643-1715

Louis XV reigned 1715-1774

French Library of the Louis XV Period


Circa 1720

French Boudoir of the Louis XV Period



French Salon of the Louis XVI Period


Circa 1780

French Bathroom and Boudoir of the Revolutionary Period



French Anteroom of the [First] Empire Period


Circa 1810

French Library of the Modern Period



German Sitting Room of the Biedermeier Period



American Rooms

Massachusetts Living Room and Kitchen



Virginia Dining Room


18th Century

Virginia Kitchen


18th Century

New Hampshire Parlor


Circa 1710

Massachusetts Dining Room



Connecticut Valley Tavern Parlor


Circa 1750

Pennsylvania Kitchen



Virginia Dining Room


Circa 1752

Virginia Drawing Room



Virginia Drawing Room



Virginia Dining Room



New Hampshire Dining Room



Pennsylvania Drawing Room



Massachusetts Drawing Room



Massachusetts Dining Room



New Hampshire Entrance Hall



New England Bedroom



Cape Cod Living Room



Virginia Parlor



Maryland Dining Room



South Carolina Drawing Room



South Carolina Ballroom



Virginia Dining Room


Circa 1800

Shaker Living Room


Circa 1800

Massachusetts Bedroom


Circa 1801

Massachusetts Parlor



Rhode Island Parlor


Circa 1820

Tennessee Entrance Hall



Pennsylvania Drawing Room



Louisiana Bedroom



Georgia Double Parlor


Circa 1850

New York Parlor



California Living Room



“Middletown” Parlor



California Living Room



California Hallway


Circa 1940

New Mexico Dining Room


Circa 1940

Asian Rooms

Chinese Interior, Traditional



Japanese Traditional Interior



The Sixty-Eight Rooms Children’s Books

      In February of 2010, Random House published first-time novelist Marianne Malone’s book for young readers The Sixty-Eight Rooms, which centers on the adventures of sixth-grade best friends Ruthie and Jack after they visit the Thorne Rooms.  Ruthie finds a magic key that allows her and Jack to shrink and enter the Thorne Rooms.  Each time the children enter a room they are transported to the time and place represented by that room.  Meanwhile, Jack’s mother is a struggling artist who fears eviction.  The book is a mixture of drama, fantasy, time travel, historical fiction, and mystery.  There are, so far, three sequels: Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure, published in 2012; The Pirate’s Coin: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure, published in 2014; and The Secret of the Key: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure, published in 2015.

Decorating the Thorne Rooms for Christmas and Hanukah

      In 2010, Lindsay Mican Morgan, then Conservation Technician and Research Assistant at the A.I.C., began to decorate the Thorne Rooms for Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s Day.[225]  Six rooms were decorated that year.[226]  These included the French Provincial Bedroom (E-22) that was decorated with a créche (nativity scene) and wooden children’s shoes left out in front of the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with gifts, the English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period (E-14) that was adorned with a Christmas tree, a white ball gown for the Louisiana Bedroom circa 1800-1850 (A-32), and an American room in California Hallway circa 1940 (A-37) for Hanukah.[227] 

       Ms. Morgan earned degrees at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.[228]  “I have a strong conservation background but am also a researcher and a crafts person,” she told the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan.[229]  “I first saw the rooms in 1994 when I came to Chicago and was fascinated and intrigued.  I jumped at the job when it became available in 2004, and in 2010 I had the idea of doing something seasonal in the gallery space.  Then I started instead to think about doing something in the rooms.  I was a bit tentative about stepping on Mrs. Thorne’s toes, so to speak.  I had to ask myself if I was being disrespectful.”[230]

      Quite the contrary, it was quite appropriate to decorate the Thorne Rooms, Ms. Morgan discovered, because Mrs. Thorne loved Christmas.[231]  She used to raise money for charities by making and selling Christmas-themed shadow boxes.[232]  Every year around Christmas she and the artists and craftsmen at her studio would switch to the production of gift boxes.[233]

      “She really seemed to care about Christmas, and that made me happy.  But I was careful, and for each of the rooms contacted specialists in the period and picked their brains,” Ms. Morgan stated.[234]  “I met a woman who had worked for Mrs. Thorne and made some of the rugs in the rooms, and that inspired me.”[235]

      In 2011, nine rooms were decorated, and in 2012 ten rooms were decorated.[236]  Lindsay Mican Morgan, then curator of the Thorne Rooms who prefers to be called their keeper (a title any medievalist would appreciate) performs research on period appropriate holiday traditions before she adds holiday décor to any particular room.[237]  By 2015, she was up to decorating thirteen of the Thorne Rooms. [238]   In 2015, she added a marzipan hedgehog-shaped cake and a Twelfth Night Cake, also known as a King’s Cake, to reflect mid-18th Century celebration of Epiphany to the Virginia Dining Room. [239]

      For the 2018-2019 Christmas season, the Thorne Miniature Rooms have been decorated (and rebranded the “Holiday Thorne Rooms”) from Friday, November 16, 2018 through Monday, January 7, 2019.

Figure 5 Credit: Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago Caption: Mrs. James Ward Thorne. E-14: English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period, 1840–70 (detail), about 1937. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Mrs. James Ward Thorne.

      The English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period is the lone room to have a Christmas tree.  The Christmas tree here is modeled on an engraving of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, and their children encircling a Christmas tree surrounded by toys.[240]  This year, the English Great Hall of the Tudor Period has a wassailing bowl, yule log, and a mummer’s mask; the Virginia Entrance Hall has mistletoe, a wreath, and garland; the French Provincial Bedroom has sabots (shoes) lined before the fire, a crèche, and puzzle; and the New Orleans, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania “Dutch” (really Deutsche as in German) rooms ate decorated with regional treats.  Also, the California Hallway has an Otto Natzler mid-20th Century menorah and box with a dreidel.[241]  The Chinese Interior, Traditional has shadow puppets and musical instruments with which a Chinese family would celebrate Chinese New Year and other festivities.

      If you like the Thorne Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago, you may also like Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at the Museum of Science and Industry down in the Chicago Park District’s Jackson Park in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.

      The Art Institute of Chicago is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  On Thursdays, it is open until 8:00 p.m.  It is open every day except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

      The address for the Michigan Avenue Entrance is 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60603, while the address of the Modern Wing Entrance is 159 East Monroe, Chicago, Illinois 60603.  The General Information phone number is (312) 443-3600.  General Information is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

[1] Alan R. Raucher, “WARD, Aaron Montgomery” in American National Biography, Volume 22, p. 620

See also Boyer, p. 11

[2] Associated Press, “Thorne Left $2,168,140,” The New York Times, 12 February, 1947, p. 17

See also U.P.I., “Mrs. James Thorne, Designer of Period Model Rooms, Dies,” The New York Times, 27 June, 1966, p. 35

[3] “Montgomery Ward Stock,” The New York Times, 27 January, 1913, p. 14

[4] Raucher, p. 620

[5] Sally Sexton Kalmbach, Mrs. Thorne’s World of Miniatures.  Chicago and New Orleans: Ampersand, Inc. (2014), p. 25

See also Susen Taras, “Thorne, Narcissa Niblack.” Rima Lunin Scultz and Adele Hast, editors. Women Building Chicago 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press (2001), p. 880

According to Ms. Taras, there was a brother who died before Narcissa was born.  She makes no mention of Austin.

[6] Kalmbach, p. 25

[7] Taras, p. 880

See also Kalmbach, p. 25

[8] Kalmbach, p. 28

[9] Kalmbach, p. 28

[10] Taras, p. 880

[11] Kalmbach, pages 28, 29, and 114

[12] Kalmbach, pages 37 and 114

[13] Kalmbach, p. 114

[14] Bruce Hatton Boyer, “Creating the Thorne Rooms.” In Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. Susan F. Rossen, editor.  © The Art Institute of Chicago. New York, London, and Paris: Abbeville Press (1983), p. 11

[15] Kalmbach, pages 38-40, and 115

[16] Kalmbach, p. 49

[17] Kalmbach, pages 32 and 33

[18] Jimmy Stamp, “How a Chicago Heiress Trained Homicide Detectives With an Unusual Tool: Dollhouses,” SMITHSONIAN.COM, 6 March, 2014 (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/murder-miniature-nutshell-studies-unexplained-death-180949943/?no-ist) Accessed 01/15/19

[19] Ibid

[20] Kalmbach, p. 31

After it spun-off several subsidiaries, International Harvester became the holding company Navistar International Corporation, which is headquartered in west suburban Lisle, Illinois.

[21] Ibid

[22] Ibid

[23] Ibid

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Ibid

[27] Ibid

[28] Ibid

[29] Boyer, p. 12

In 1922, the Essex Institute merged with the Peabody Museum to form the Peabody Essex Museum.

[30] Boyer, p. 12

[31] Boyer, p. 12

[32] Boyer, p. 12

[33] Boyer, p. 12

[34] In Los Angeles County, California, railroad magnate and real estate investor Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927) built the San Marino Ranch with a 35,000-square-foot mansion – now the Huntington Art Gallery at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens – which was a Mediterranean villa on a grand scale.

[35] In what is now the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida, Deering Harvester Company and International Harvester executive James Deering (1859-1925) built Villa Vizcaya estate – now the Vizkaya Museum and Gardens – with an Italian Renaissance style villa and matching gardens.

[36] In San Simeon, California, industrialist and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, Sr. (1863-1951) built the 65,000-square-foot Hearst Castle – now the Hearst Castle® museum – at his La Cuesta Enchantada (Enchanted Hill) ranch.  It is a pastiche of multiple historical architectural styles that also incorporated parts of historic buildings.  Hearst Castle inspired the Xanadu mansion in Citizen Kane (1941).

[37] Boyer, p. 12

[38] Boyers, pages 12 and 13

[39] Taras, p. 880

See also Kalmbach, pages 33 and 114

[40] Kalmbach, p. 33

[41] John T. McCutcheon, Drawn from Memory: The Autobiography of John T. McCutcheon.  Indianapolis and New York City: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. (1950), p. 423

See also Andrea Friederici Ross, Let the Lions Roar! The Evolution of Brookfield Zoo.  Chicago Zoological Society (1997), pages 18, 20-23, 25, 39, 95, 96, 98, and 228

See also Boyer, p. 19

[42] Boyer, p. 19

[43] Kalmbach, pages 42, 43, and 115

[44] Kalmbach, p. 43

[45] Kalmbach, p. 43

[46] Kalmbach, p. 43

[47] Kalmbach, p. 43

[48] Boyer, p. 12

[49] Boyer, p. 12

[50] The Paedagogium was re-named the Wilhelmsgymnasium in honor of his son Wilhelm V (1548-1626), Duke of Bavaria (1579-1597) in 1848.  It was staffed by Jesuits by 1773.  The school was destroyed in 1944 during the Second Great World War and had to be rebuilt.  In the 1970s, it began to admit girls.

[51] Boyer, p. 12

[52] Boyer, p. 12

[53] Boyer, p. 12

[54] Kalmbach, p. 55

[55] Born Lady Beatrix Louisa Lambton (1859-1944), she was the daughter of George Frederick D’Arcy Lambton, 2nd Earl of Durham (1828-1879) and his wife, Lady Beatrix Lambton (1835-1871).  She, in turn, was born Lady Beatrix Frances Hamilton (1835-1871), the daughter of James Hamilton (1811-1885), 1st Duke of Abercorn (1868-1885) and his wife Duchess Louisa (1812-1905).  Born Louisa Jane Russell, she was the daughter of John Russell (1766-1839), 6th Duke of Bedford, and his wife Duchess Georgina (died 1801).

[56] Major Sir Neville Wilkinson, Titania’s Palace: An Illustrated Handbook, (1925), pages 3 and 4

[57] Wilkinson, p. 3

[58] Wilkinson, p. 3

[59] Wilkinson, p. 4

[60] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[61] Wilkinson, p. 4

[62] Wilkinson, p. 4

[63] Wilkinson, p. 4

[64] Wilkinson, p. 4

[65] Wilkinson, p. 4

[66] Wilkinson, p. 4

[67] Born in Kensington Palace in England, Princess Mary of Teck, was part of the princely House of Teck, a cadet branch of the royal House of Württemberg.  Her father was Count Francis von Hohenstein (1837-1900), known after 1863 as Francis, Duke of Teck.  He was a poor aristocrat, but he was closely related to the royal families of Württemberg, Great Britain, and Hannover, as well as the imperial family of Russia.  His antecedents were sufficient to wed, in 1866, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, and, thus, a granddaughter of George III (1738-1820), King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1760-1820) and King of Hanover (1814-1820). 

[68] Wilkinson, p. 4

[69] Jeff Codori, Colleen Moore: A Biography of the Silent Film Star. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. (2012), p. 213

[70] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[71] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[72] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[73] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[74] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[75] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[76] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[77] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[78] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[79] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[80] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[81] Mount Merrion Historical Society, “Titania’s Palace Goes to Denmark” (http://www.mountmerrionhistorical.com/MM300/titania’s_palace.html) Accessed 01/18/18

[82] Lutyens designed many English country homes, war memorials after World War I, and public buildings.  He designed the enlargement and renovation of the Bois des Moutiers residence in Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy.   The English country homes he designed included Goddards in Abinger, Surrey; Deanery Garden in Sonning, Berkshire; Overstrand Hall in Overstrand, Norfolk; Tigbourne Court in Wormley, Surrey; Orchards in Bramley, Surrey; and the enlargement of Folly Farm in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.  For the Farrar brothers, he designed both a townhouse on St. James Square in Westminster and a country retreat in Sandwich, Kent, The Salutation. His structures in New Delhi include the All India War Memorial, which is now called the India Gate; the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi, which is now called the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Residence); and the Hyderabad House, which was the New Delhi palace of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hydrabad.

[83] The Palladian style of architecture is a neo-classical style of architecture developed by the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580).

[84] Wren was a successor to Jones (one step removed) in the office of Surveyor to the King.  Jones was the English-born Welsh architect who designed the Queen’s House at Greenwich, the Banqueting House at the Palace of White Hall, and the Queen’s Chapel at St. James’s Palace, amongst many other buildings. Wren was the English architect, scientist, and mathematician who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and the Wren Library at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College.  He also oversaw the expansion of Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.

[85] She had collaborated with Lutyens when it came to the design of the landscaping around several of the country homes Lutyens designed.

[86] Princess Marie-Louise was a daughter of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1831-1917), and his wife, Princess Helena of the United Kingdom (1846-1923).  She had the misfortune of being the consort of Prince Aribert of Anhalt-Dessau (1866-1933) from 1891 to 1900, when his father annulled the childless marriage.  Through her mother, she was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

[87] Kalmbach, p. 51

[88] Kalmbach, p. 47

[89] Kalmbach, p. 47

[90] Kalmbach, pages 51, 53, and 115

[91] Kalmbach, p. 51

[92] Kalmbach, p. 51

[93] Boyer, p. 14

[94] Boyer, p. 14

[95] Boyer, p. 14

[96] Boyer, p. 14

[97] Boyer, p. 14

[98] Boyer, p. 14

[99] Boyer, p. 14

Kalmbach, pages 114 and 115

Note that according to Boyer, Mrs. Thorne displayed thirty miniature rooms at A Century of Progress in 1933.

[100] “Period Rooms in Miniature Are Exhibited at Chicago art Institute,” Life, 29 November, 1937, p. 38

[101] Kalmbach, pages 54 and 57

[102] Kalmbach, p. 54

[103] Kalmbach, pages 54-57

[104] Kalmbach, p. 56

[105] Kalmbach, p. 57

[106] Kalmbach, p. 57

[107] Kalmbach, p. 57

[108] Kalmbach, p. 57

[109] U.P.I., “Mrs. James Thorne, Designer of Period Model Rooms, Dies,” The New York Times, 27 June, 1966, p. 35

[110] U.P.I., “Mrs. James Thorne, Designer of Period Model Rooms, Dies,” The New York Times, 27 June, 1966, p. 35

[111] Kalmbach, pages 61, 77, and 115

[112] Architectural Models: Miniature Rooms by Mrs. James Ward Thorne, 1940, p. 3

[113] Kalmbach, p. 110

[114] Boyer, p. 14

[115] The Art Institute of Chicago, “E-10: English Dining Room of the Georgian Period, 1770-90,” (https://www.artic.edu/artworks/43714/e-10-english-dining-room-of-the-georgian-period-1770-90?department_ids=Thorne+Miniature+Rooms) Accessed 01/03/18

[116] Ibid

[117] Boyer, p. 14

[118] Kalmbach, p. 77

[119] Potter Palmer II was the son of Potter Palmer (1826-1902) and Bertha Honoré Palmer (1849-1919). 

[120] Kalmbach, p. 79

[121] Knoxville Museum of Art, “Knoxville Museum of Art: Thorne Rooms,” (http://www.knoxart.org/exhibitions/thorn/index.html) Accessed 01/12/18

See also Kalmbach, pages 78 and 115

[122] Kalmbach, p. 77

[123] Kalmbach, p. 78

[124] Kalmbach, p. 77

[125] Kalmbach, p. 78

[126] Kalmbach, p. 78

[127] Kalmbach, p. 78

[128] U.P.I., “Mrs. James Thorne, Designer of Period Model Rooms, Dies,” The New York Times, 27 June, 1966, p. 35

[129] Kalmbach, p. 78

[130] Kalmbach, p. 114

See also Neil Steinberg, “Famed Rooms House Stories,” Chicago Sun-Times, 7 January, 2011, p. 14

[131] Rita Reif, “Eugene J. Kupjack, 79, Creator of Miniature Rooms for Museum,” The New York Times, 16 November, 1991, Section 1, p. 1

See also Kalmbach, p. 77

[132] Kalmbach, p. 77

[133] Rita Reif, “Eugene J. Kupjack, 79, Creator of Miniature Rooms for Museum,” The New York Times, 16 November, 1991, Section 1, p. 1

See also Kalmbach, p. 77

[134] Rita Reif, “Eugene J. Kupjack, 79, Creator of Miniature Rooms for Museum,” The New York Times, 16 November, 1991, Section 1, p. 1

[135] Rita Reif, “Eugene J. Kupjack, 79, Creator of Miniature Rooms for Museum,” The New York Times, 16 November, 1991, Section 1, p. 1

See also Kalmbach, p. 77

[136] Kalmbach, p. 77

[137] Kalmbach, p. 85

[138] Kalmbach, p. 85

[139] Kalmbach, p. 81

[140] Kalmbach, p. 81

[141] Kalmbach, p. 81

[142] Kalmbach, p. 81

[143] Kalmbach, p. 87

[144] Boyer, p. 18

[145] Kalmbach, p. 87

[146] Kalmbach, p. 87

[147] Kalmbach, p. 87

[148] Kalmbach, p. 87

[149] Kalmbach, p. 114

[150] Kalmbach, pages 88 and 100

[151] Kalmbach, p. 89

[152] Kalmbach, pages 115 and 88

[153] Knoxville Museum of Art, “Knoxville Museum of Art: Thorne Rooms,” (http://www.knoxart.org/exhibitions/thorn/index.html) Accessed 01/12/18

[154] Kalmbach, p. 88

[155] Kalmbach, p. 88

[156] Taras, p. 881

See also Kalmbach, p. 88

[157] Kalmbach, p. 102

[158] Kalmbach, p. 100

[159] Kalmbach, p. 100

[160] Kalmbach, pages and 100, 101, and 115

[161] Kalmbach, pages 100 and 114

Mrs. Thorne’s U.P.I. obituary incorrectly stated she donated the Thorne Rooms in 1954.

[162] Kalmbach, p. 100

Born in 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu, Prince Philip is a member of the House of Glücksburg, which is a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg, and the royal family of Greece and Denmark.  His father, Prince Andrew of Greece, was son of King George I of Greece and grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.  Prince Andrew was exiled from Greece in 1922 after the Turkish victory the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), because he was one of several Greek leaders the military held responsible for the catastrophic defeat which cost the Greeks East Thrace as well as territorial gains in western Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor).  [On April 21, 1967, a group of colonels overthrew King Constantine II of Greece (who is also Prince of Denmark) in a coup d’état.  Subsequently, a military junta ruled Greece until 1974.  In that year, the public voted in a referendum to abolish the monarchy and create the Third Hellenic Republic.  Greek conservatives, both in Greece and abroad, continue to refer to Constantine II as “the King” while other Greeks refer to him as “the Ex-King.”] He was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark until 1947, when he renounced his titles to become a British subject shortly before he wed Prince Elizabeth.  His father-in-law, King George VI, gave him the titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron of Greenwich.  Prince Philip took the surname Mountbatten.  In 1960, the Privy Council ruled that the male-line descendants of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II would take the surname Mountbatten-Windsor when it was necessary to fill out paperwork where it was necessary to supply a surname, while other descendants of George V use the surname Windsor.  This gives the illusion they are not members of a German-Danish dynasty.

[163] Kalmbach, p. 100

[164] Kalmbach, pages 100 and 114

[165] Kalmbach, pages 102 and 103                                                                                                   

[166] Kalmbach, p. 103

Ms. Kalmbach provided a picture of the first page of the letter.

[167] He was mistakenly referred to as “Meyric B. Rogers” in the “Preface and Acknowledgments” page of in Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago.  New York, London, Paris: Abbeville Press, Publishers (1983), p. 7

[168] The Art Institute of Chicago, Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago.  New York, London, Paris: Abbeville Press, Publishers (1983), p. 7

[169] Don’t go looking for the Chicago Postcard Museum.  It only exists online, so it is more of a digital archive.  Founder Neil Gale has pledged that upon his death his enormous collection of postcards will go to the Chicago History Museum.

[170] Kalmbach, pages 105 and 115

[171] Kalmbach, p. 105

[172] Taras, p. 881

[173] Taras, p. 881

See also Kalmbach, p. 105

[174] Phoenix Art Museum, “Thorne Miniature Rooms by Narcissa Niblack Thorne,” (http://www.phxart.org/collection/thornerooms) Accessed 01/12/18

[175] Phoenix Art Museum, “Thorne Miniature Rooms by Narcissa Niblack Thorne,” (http://www.phxart.org/collection/thornerooms) Accessed 01/12/18

[176] Kalmbach, p. 107

[177] Knoxville Museum of Art, “Knoxville Museum of Art: Thorne Rooms,” (http://www.knoxart.org/exhibitions/thorn/index.html) Accessed 01/12/18

[178] Kalmbach, p. 107

[179] Knoxville Museum of Art, “Knoxville Museum of Art: Thorne Rooms,” (http://www.knoxart.org/exhibitions/thorn/index.html) Accessed 01/12/18

See also Kalmbach, p. 107

[180] Taras, p. 881

[181] Taras, p. 881

[182] Taras, p. 881

See also Kalmbach, p. 107

[183] Taras, p. 881

See also Kalmbach, p. 107

[184] Anita Gold, “Thorne Miniature Rooms To Be Sold At Auction,” Chicago Tribune, 5 May, 1989 (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-05-05/news/8501280099_1_miniature-collectors-thorne-rooms-miniature-enthusiasts) Accessed 01/04/19

[185] Ibid

[186] Phoenix Art Museum, “Thorne Miniature Rooms by Narcissa Niblack Thorne,” (http://www.phxart.org/collection/thornerooms) Accessed 01/12/18

[187] Diane Haithman, “What Will Happen After These Tiny Doors Close?” Los Angeles Times, 4 December, 2000 (http://articles.latimes.com/2000/dec/04/entertainment/ca-60851) Accessed 01/12/18

[188] The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, “The Museum’s First Home – in Miniature!” 11 December, 2017 (https://www.childrensmuseum.org/blog/museums-first-home%E2%80%94-miniature) Accessed 01/12/18

[189] Kalmbach, p. 118

[190] Taras, p. 881

[191] Kalmbach, p. 107

[192] Kalmbach, p. 108

[193] Kalmbach, pages 109 and 115

[194] Kalmbach, p. 113

[195] Kalmbach, p. 110

[196] Kalmbach, p. 110

[197] Taras, p. 881

[198] Taras, p. 881

See also Kalmbach, p. 35

[199] According to Terence E. Hanley and Tiffany Benedict Browne, Virginia Keep Clark was an artist from Indiana who taught at The John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis.  She wed Marshall John Clark (1877-1964) in 1906, after which she moved to his residence in north suburban Evanston, Illinois.  Later, they Clarks moved to Chicago; Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York; New York City; Mackall, Maryland; and Winter Park Florida. 

Terence E. Hanley, “Virginia Keep Clark (1878-1962),” Indiana Illustrators and Cartoonists, 7 October, 2010 (https://indianaillustrators.blogspot.com/2010/10/virginia-keep-clark-1878-1962.html) Accessed 01/02/18

Tiffany Benedict Browne, “An Old Sweetheart of Mine, Virginia Keep Clark,” Historic Indianapolis.com, 15 February, 2011 (https://historicindianapolis.com/an-old-sweetheart-of-mine-virginia-keep-clark/) Accessed 01/02/18

[200] “Current Notes – Chicago,” Arts & Decoration, Volume 7, February, 1917, p. 221

[201] During her marriage with Homer Hargrave, Junior, the stepson of Colleen Moore, she was known as Alice (“Ittie”) Pirie Hargrave but after she wed William (“Dollar Bill”) Wirtz (1929-2007) in 1987, she became known as Alice Pirie Wirtz.

[202] Kalmbach, p. 110

[203] Kalmbach, p. 110

[204] Kalmbach, p. 110

[205] Kalmbach, p. 110

[206] Kalmbach, p. 110

[207] Kalmbach, p. 111

[208] Kalmbach, p. 111

[209] Kalmbach, p. 111

[210] Kalmbach, p. 111

[211] Kalmbach, p. 111

[212] Kalmbach, p. 111

[213] Kalmbach, p. 111

[214] Ibid

[215] Lindsay Prossnitz, “Thorne Miniature Rooms,” Chicago Tonight, 18 December, 2012 (http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/12/18/thorne-miniature-rooms) Accessed 01/12/18

[216] Maureen O’Donnell, “Henry ‘Hank’ Kupjack, renowned for museum-worthy miniatures, dead at 67,” Chicago Sun-Times, 18 February, 2019 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/2/18/18314021/henry-hank-kupjack-renowned-for-museum-worthy-miniatures-dead-at-67) Accessed 11/21/19

See also Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 55

[217] Maureen O’Donnell, “Henry ‘Hank’ Kupjack, renowned for museum-worthy miniatures, dead at 67,” Chicago Sun-Times, 18 February, 2019 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/2/18/18314021/henry-hank-kupjack-renowned-for-museum-worthy-miniatures-dead-at-67) Accessed 11/21/19

See also Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 56

[218] Anne Lunde, “Hank Kupjack Dies; Created Miniature Treasures,” Journal & Topics, 28 February, 2019 (https://www.journal-topics.com/articles/hank-kupjack-dies-created-miniature-treasures/) Accessed 11/21/19

[219] Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 55

[220] Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 55

[221] Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 55

[222] Maureen O’Donnell, “Henry ‘Hank’ Kupjack, renowned for museum-worthy miniatures, dead at 67,” Chicago Sun-Times, 18 February, 2019 (https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/2/18/18314021/henry-hank-kupjack-renowned-for-museum-worthy-miniatures-dead-at-67) Accessed 11/21/19

[223] Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, pages 55 and 56

[224] Matt Reynolds, “Small World,” Chicago, November, 2019, p. 56

[225] Kalmbach, p. 112

[226] Rick Kogan, “Thorne Rooms full of small wonders,” Chicago Tribune, 3 December, 2012 (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-xpm-2012-12-03-chi-kogan-sidewalks-thorne-rooms-20121130-story.html) Accessed 01/02/19

[227] Kalmbach, p. 112

See also Rick Kogan, “Thorne Rooms full of small wonders,” Chicago Tribune, 3 December, 2012 (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-xpm-2012-12-03-chi-kogan-sidewalks-thorne-rooms-20121130-story.html) Accessed 01/02/19

[228] Rick Kogan, “Thorne Rooms full of small wonders,” Chicago Tribune, 3 December, 2012 (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-xpm-2012-12-03-chi-kogan-sidewalks-thorne-rooms-20121130-story.html) Accessed 01/02/19

[229] Ibid

[230] Ibid

[231] Ibid

[232] Ibid

[233] Ibid

[234] Ibid

[235] Ibid

[236] Rick Kogan, “Thorne Rooms full of small wonders,” Chicago Tribune, 3 December, 2012 (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-xpm-2012-12-03-chi-kogan-sidewalks-thorne-rooms-20121130-story.html) Accessed 01/02/19

See also Lindsay Prossnitz, “Thorne Miniature Rooms,” Chicago Tonight, 18 December, 2012 (http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/12/18/thorne-miniature-rooms) Accessed 01/12/18

[237] Nadine Schneller, “Decking the (Very Tiny) Halls” ARTicle Blog, 18 December, 2015 (http://www.artic.edu/blog/2015/12/18/decking-halls) Accessed 01/11/18

[238] Nadine Schneller, “Decking the (Very Tiny) Halls” ARTicle Blog, 18 December, 2015 (http://www.artic.edu/blog/2015/12/18/decking-halls) Accessed 01/11/18

[239] Nadine Schneller, “Decking the (Very Tiny) Halls” ARTicle Blog, 18 December, 2015 (http://www.artic.edu/blog/2015/12/18/decking-halls) Accessed 01/11/18

[240] Many people believe that Prince Albert brought the German tradition of setting up a Christmas tree or tannenbuam from the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld in 1840, but it would be more accurate to say when he and Queen Victoria set one up it became public knowledge and her subjects followed their example.  The reality is that Victoria’s recent ancestors and predecessors on the throne – her grandfather, George III; great-great-grandfather, George II; and great-great-great-grandfather, George I – are known as the Hanoverians because they came to Great Britain from Hanover and had already brought the German tradition of setting up Christmas trees to Great Britain long before it became public knowledge.

[241] Otto Natzler (1908-2007) was a famous ceramicist.

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