A Congregational minister turned author, photographer, and wildly successful entrepreneur, Nutting was the principal authority on early American furniture for much of the twentieth century and played an important role in the development of a colonial revival aesthetic and ideology. He collected, reproduced, and marketed colonial artifacts, and the goods and experiences he offered his middle class customers promoted his idealized notion of a time and place that he called "Old America."

Wallace Nutting was also a photographer who often hand painted his photographs.

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