Best known among the general public for his hand-colored pictures, Wallace Nutting was also widely recognized as one of the leading authors of his time. In all, he personally wrote 19 books, contributed photographs to several others, and wrote numerous magazine articles about antiques and colonial living. This article will provide readers with an introduction to Wallace Nutting – The Author.
One of the rarest and most highly sought-after of all Wallace Nutting books is “Old New England Pictures”. This particular item was the first “book” ever published by Wallace Nutting. Although Nutting had originally released two other “picture books” which contained only pictures, (“Up at the Vilas Farm” circa 1912 and a book of mounted “Palestine” pictures circa 1905-10), but neither of these books contained any text.
Originally published in 1913, Old New England Pictures was Nutting’s first attempt at publishing text alongside his hand-colored photographs. Although a label in the front of these books indicate that 200 copies of Old New England Pictures were originally published, long-time Nutting collectors generally agree that fewer than 12-14 copies are known to exist today. It is assumed that although Nutting probably thought that he could sell 200 copies of this book, the high cost resulting from the enormous work and expense that went into the preparation of the book resulted in only a limited number of copies ever being released. We have sold several copy of this book for more than $10,000.00, but most other Wallace Nutting books are valued at far, far less.
Wallace Nutting was widely known for his “States Beautiful” series. As he traveled throughout America taking his photographs, he wrote eight books about states that he visited. Each book contained approximately 300 of his photos taken throughout the state. Nutting would elaborate about key regions of each state, and its houses, people, history, and charm. Bulk Nuts
These books had two primary markets. First: the residents of each particular state. Most people like reading about themselves, or at least about something near and dear to them, including their home state. As a result, he would sell a considerable number of books to residents of each state that he wrote about.
Secondly: This was an era before travel became inexpensive and convenient. For the average person, commercial air travel had not yet arrived, transatlantic ocean voyages were lengthy and expensive, and the automobile was still being perfected. Books were they easiest way to travel. Libraries were frequent purchasers of his States Beautiful books, as well as those individuals interested in learning about and seeing new and far-away places.