Born in Osceola, Wisconsin in 1858, Gustav Stickley was a founder of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Moving from stone masonry to carpentry and furniture making, and lastly to architecture and philosophy, Stickely's influence on turn of the century style was profound.

Returning from a trip to Europe in 1896, where he met many European Arts and Crafts artists, Stickley founded United Crafts of Eastwood, New York. The furniture he made was a reaction against what he perceived to be an effeminancy in Victorian design:
The age of leisure and daintiness, with its slight and delicate belongings, has passed; this is a generation of straightforward utilitarianism, which is well represented by the strong-fibered and sturdy oak."
He preferred using oak in his furniture, finishing it with shellac. His furniture was sturdy, with exposed joints, and canvas and leather upholstery.

Moving from furniture making to philosophy, Stickley started a periodical, The Craftsman, in 1901. This magazine served to spread his gospel of simple, honest, straight forward design, and later had an impact on house design. Many bungalows and foursquares built during the first two decades of the 20th century reflect his design philosophy. Stickley was interested in making humble homes that harmonized with their surroundings, as this quote from The Craftsman shows:
A house that is built of stone where stones are in the fields, of concrete where the soil is sandy, of brick where brick can be had reasonably, or of wood if the house is in a mountainous wooded region, will from the beginning belong to the landscape. And the result is not only harmony but economy.
Stickley's influence diminished after the end of World War I, and his ideal of the lone craftsman was supplanted by the realities of mass production and standardized housing construction. He died in 1942, long before his philosophy and style would see a renaissance that began in the 1970s, and continues to the present day.

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