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Designing Modern America


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About the Author

Christopher Innes is Canada Research Chair in Performance & Culture at York University, Toronto.


"Original and innovative. I know of no other book that brings Urban and Bel Geddes together to demonstrate the specificity of their unique and quite astonishing accomplishments, their influence and impact on so many aspects of American life."—Don B. Wilmeth, Asa Messer Professor Emeritus, Brown University, and editor, Cambridge Guide to American Theatre  
*Don B. Wilmeth*

"Innes shows the unsuspected extent to which a magical theatrical world of a thousand colors and million shapes—each of which had a special job to do in somebody's idea of the ensemble—has become the world in which we live every day."—Joseph Roach, Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of Theater, Yale University

*Joseph Roach*

"Even aficionados of modern American design will be astonished by the prodigious talents and ambitions of Joseph Urban and Norman Bel Geddes, as chronicled by author Christopher Innes in Designing Modern America: Broadway to Main Street. This fascinating account traces the connections between Urban's and Bel Geddes's theatrical productions on Broadway and their iconic consumer products that defined the look of  'The American Century' for much of the western world. This story of their less-known efforts to create a holistic modernism that encompassed the entire environment, from model kitchens to model cities, with fashion, cars, movies, household furnishings, world's fairs, low-cost housing, and factories in between, represents a significant contribution to our understanding of these two pioneer industrial designers and their role in the history of American design."—Natalie Shivers, co-author, L.A.'s Early Moderns: Art/Architecture/Photography

*Natalie Shivers*

“To trace the genesis and influence of Urban and Bel Geddes on American culture is to see the evolution of twentieth-century American design and its influence on the world. Innes’s book is a revelation.”—Thomas F. Staley, University of Texas at Austin  
*Thomas F. Staley*

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