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Mizner scrapbook.

[Fountain.] Antigua. Sept. 2nd 1904.

Society of the Four Arts Library. Palm Beach, Florida.

The Society of the Four Arts serves as the cultural center of opulent Palm Beach and is housed in a building designed by Addison Mizner in 1929 as the Florida Embassy Club. In addition to a gallery, auditorium, and meeting room space, the Society has a library housed in a separate building designed by another well-known Palm Beach architect, Maurice Fatio. The Society of the Four Arts Library serves as the circulating library of Palm Beach. Among its holdings are Addison Mizner's working library and his scrapbook collection.

Addison Mizner's work has been described by historians as the "Bastard-Spanish-Moorish- Romanesque-Gothic- Renaissance-Bull-Market-Damn the Expense Style." Considered to be one of America's premier society architects of the roaring twenties, Addison Mizner was born in San Francisco in 1872. His father served in the California Senate and was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Central America from 1889-1890. Mizner was able to accompany his parents to Central America. This was a seminal episode in Mizner's life for it was there he developed an interest in Central American culture and a life-long love for Spanish art and architecture. Later he spent a year in Salamanca, Spain, traveled to the Far East and Australia, and lived for a few years in Hawaii. Mizner never formally trained as an architect though he worked as an apprentice draftsman in a small architecture firm in San Francisco where he was able to be involved in all stages of design work. In the early 1900s Mizner moved to New York City to establish an architectural practice. There, using his social connections, he began to accept commissions and within a few years was a successful practicing architect.

World War I adversely affected Mizner's practice and in 1918 he visited Palm Beach as the guest of Paris Singer, the sewing machine heir. Palm Beach quickly became Mizner's home and from the first building he did, The Everglades Club, his reputation was secure as the architect of the wealthy in Palm Beach. Mizner's love of Spanish architecture, his sense of space and environment, coupled with the wealth of his clients, allowed him to develop and design the Palm Beach style as we know it today. From the house now known as the Kennedy Estate to buildings on Worth Avenue, Mizner set his imprimatur. His use of barrel tiled roofs, keystone walls, carved stonework, spiral staircases hanging in space, and medieval-style furniture were his signature. His style has been copied throughout Florida and has even served as the inspiration for the design of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Metro-Dade Cultural Center. In 1926 Mizner's career was irreparably damaged when the public revelation of fraud and embezzlement in the Florida land boom caused a loss of confidence in his plan to develop the city of Boca Raton. Mizner continued to do small projects until his death in 1933, but none comparable to the grandeur of his early works in Palm Beach.

Florida Architecture of Addison Mizner. Introduction by Ida M. Tarbell. One Hundred and Eighty-five Illustrations. Privately Printed, 1928. Colophon: Edicion imperial. One hundred copies of this edition, the text which is on Van Gelden mould made paper, have been printed for subscribers, of which this is number 61.

As Mizner's career ebbed after the collapse of the plans for the city of Boca Raton, his friends rallied around him to promote his work and help him obtain commissions. It was thought that a book illustrating his work would renew interest. The book was first issued in a limited signed edition, later followed by a trade edition. It was signed by Addison Mizner and a foreword was written by Paris Singer. The photographs were taken by Frank E. Geisler and were reproduced in rotogravure by the Art Gravure Corporation.

The cost of the book was subsidized by Alice De Lamar, a close friend of Mizner's nephew Horace Chase. She edited the book and even drove Geisler to the building locations to take the photographs. The book contains 185 photographs which artistically capture the timeless beauty of Addison Mizner's architectural work.

Addison Mizner. Spain, Volume 1. [n.p., n.d.] Mizner scrapbook.

Like any good designer, Addison Mizner kept a scrapbook of images related to his interests. Postcards, photographs, drawings and sketches, even pages from magazines were kept and sorted by subject. When ideas were needed, a browse through the scrapbooks would help start his thinking and inspire his creativity.

[Fountain.] Antigua. Sept. 2nd 1904. Pen and ink drawing.
Fountain in Plaza la Merced. Antigua Sept. 21st 1904. Pen and ink drawing.
Antigua. Hotel Rojes. 1904 Sept. 24th. Pen and ink drawing.
Guard Room & Dungeon, Fort Marion, St. Augustine FLA. Postcard.
Old Fort Marion - Arch and Stairway, St. Augustine, FLA. Postcard. [Market scene]. Photograph.