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In late , Barber relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, in hopes that the city's mountainous climate would be better for his declining health.

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He briefly partnered with Minnesota -born architect Martin Parmalee, but the partnership proved unsatisfactory. In , he established a firm with one of his clients, J. White, handling the firm's business aspects. Barber also became a partner in the Edgewood Land Improvement Company, which was developing a suburb east of Knoxville known as Park City modern Parkridge.

Haworth and F. McArthur houses, which also still stand on Washington and Jefferson Avenues, and appeared in some of Barber's catalogs.


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This catalog and its subsequent revisions led to an explosion in orders for Barber's firm. He also remained active on a local level in Knoxville, with the Romanesque-inspired Isaac Ziegler House on 4th Avenue, [11] and a house built for his printer, S. Newman, which still stands in Old North Knoxville. Around , Barber parted ways with White and formed a new firm with a new partner, Thomas Kluttz. That year, Barber began publishing a magazine, American Homes , which advertised the firm's latest house plans, offered tips on landscaping and interior design, and published a multi-part history of architecture by Louisville architect Charles Hite-Smith.

In , the growing firm moved into the Barber-designed French and Roberts Building on Gay Street , with the firm's thirty draftsmen and twenty secretaries occupying an entire floor.

In the late s and early s, Barber designed a number of elaborate mansions for affluent businessmen, including the home of Carroll Lathrop Post brother of C. Post in Battle Creek, Michigan , the home of tobacco magnate R. In the early s, Barber began to phase out his mail-order business and with the help of his brother, Manly, focused on Knoxville-area building projects. He later worked with architects R. Graf and John Ryno. The catalog business was suspended in Barber died on February 17, , and is interred with his family in Knoxville's Greenwood Cemetery. See main article: List of George Franklin Barber works.

Barber's great innovation was his willingness to personalize his designs for individual clients at moderate cost.

As he wrote in his Cottage Souvenir No. Don't be afraid of writing too often. We are not easily offended. Since he frequently modified his designs to fit his clients' needs and specifications, his houses are sometimes difficult to attribute with any certainty. In discussing his architectural philosophy, Barber argued that Nature has "faithfully and accurately adhered to the Divine law of harmony," [16] and that no place should adhere more closely to the fundamental principles of nature than one's house.

Barber considered proportion the most important element in architecture, likening it to harmony in music, "without which all else is a failure. Lastly was "harmony of form," or the relationship of curved and straight lines to one another.

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Reaching thousands of potential clients throughout the United States and abroad, Barber's catalogs featured homes cited today as "unique," "fascinating," and "distinctive. Included is an eclectic mix of plans for homes in the Colonial, Romanesque, and Queen Anne styles, as well as designs for verandas, summer pavilions, churches, and barns. This Dover edition, first published in , is an unabridged republication of The Cottage Souvenir No. The introduction by Michael A. Tomlan entitled Toward the Growth of an Artistic Taste and which has been included in this edition, is from the reprint of The Cottage Souvenir No.

Barber ; introduction by Michael A. Originally published: The cottage souvenir no. Knoxville, Tenn. With new introd.

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Architecture, Victorian—United States—Designs and plans. Architecture, Domestic—United States—Designs and plans. All over America , the idea is spreading that a new building must be original , not thereby meaning a freakish departure from well known principles of design, but one planned originally for the owner. This is right , and will do more toward the growth of an artistic taste and the establishment of content in the homes of the people than any factor which can be employed By publishing his designs in inexpensive illustrated catalogues, complete with price lists for his drawings and even with order forms , Barber reached thousands of potential clients throughout the United States and abroad.

Recently, as Americans have once again begun to accept and even to embrace the artistic taste of which Barber was speaking, dozens of his original designs have been rediscovered. A number of them have been photographed for periodicals, books, and state or local architectural inventories. Many have been restored at least three of which have become house museums , others have been sketched and printed for Christmas cards and wall hangings, and one design has even been built in miniature and sold as a doll house.

The Cottage Souvenir No. He took an early, active interest in rock collecting and horticulture, and on at least one occasion sent an entire collection of wood and rock specimens to his older brother, Manley DeWitt Barber, in De Kalb. The question of precisely when Barber first became actively interested in the construction of buildings can be answered only indirectly. There is a legend in the Barber family that he displayed an early interest in artistic matters; recollections of one person picture him drawing in the mud with a stick, while other children were more actively occupied.

The variety of Classical and Gothic details, and the various elementary geometrical exercises included in the notebook suggest that Barber educated himself by copying a dictionary-like handbook.

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In , for example, Barber made a number of purchases from the booksellers and publishers A. Although Fort Scott was experiencing a building boom as a major railroad junction for southeast Kansas, Barber left by to rejoin the majority of his relatives in De Kalb.

The attachment will be found very useful for carpenters and others on high buildings as the operator may hold himself securely with one hand while doing the nailing with the other , thus avoiding the necessity of a scaffold or the placing of a ladder for driving a few nails As was indicated by the books he had purchased, however, Barber thought of building not simply as a carpenter, but as a designer.

By the mids he was acting as architect for the firm of Barber and Boardman, Contractors and Builders, apparently involved with many residential structures.