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George Franklin Barber Collection (Gift of Michael and Carolyn Dufano)

Identifier: MSC 0438

Scope and Contents

This collection contains magazines, newspaper articles, letters, postcards, order forms, and other ephemera related to George Franklin Barber home catalogs. Material in this collection is dated 1893-1906 with several undated and missing items.

Boxes 1-3 contain issues of American Homes, a monthly journal “devoted to planning, building, and beautifying the home” published in Knoxville, Tenn through American Homes Publishing Co.

Box 4 contains catalogs and miscellaneous ephemera, including specifications for H. N. Hesgard residence in Orfordville, Wisconson.

Box 5 contains various magazines and clippings of Geo. F. Barber related material.

An oversized folder included at the end of the collection contains a June 1894 copy of Scientific American: Architects and Buildings Edition.


  • 1888 - 1906
  • undated

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available for research. Prior arrangement MUST be made by contacting the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at

Biographical / Historical

George Franklin Barber (1854-1915) was a remarkably successful practitioner of American domestic architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Much of his success was due to his early and enthusiastic adoption of national promotion of his sales catalogues for his architectural plans for houses and cottages, with a complete willingness to customize the plans for any customer. Barber was born in De Kalb, Illinois. He lived in rural Illinois and later near Marmaton, Kansas. His rural upbringing prevented him from receiving anything more than a nominal education. Barber had an early interest in horticulture and farming, but his work as a carpenter and builder, in partnership with his brother Manley DeWitt Barber, seems to have led him to a career in carpentry, building, and finally architecture. In 1888 Barber moved to Knoxville, Tenn. for health reasons. He flourished as an architect in the rapidly growing postwar southern city. Barber published over a dozen mail order catalogs for residential architectural plans between 1888 and 1908. A sudden illness led to his untimely death in 1915.


5 boxes

1 oversize folder

Language of Materials


Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Repository

601 S Gay Street
3rd floor
Knoxville Tennessee 37902 United States