Students of nineteenth-century American architecture often recall astonished first impressions of P. T. Barnum's home, the domestic extravaganza Iranistan (1848), and of the glittering, fantastic interior of New York's Temple Emanu-El, formerly at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street (1866––68). Their architect, Prague-born Leopold Eidlitz (1823––1908) is well known for these and other works, and as the rare nineteenth-century architect to attempt a theoretical treatise on contemporary practice. Eidlitz's The Nature and Function of Art, More Especially of Architecture (London, 1881) was described by William H. Jordy and Ralph Coe as the "fullest statement of the functional-organic view of architecture …… produced by any nineteenth-century American."1

Kathryn Holliday's book is the first published account of Eidlitz's built and written oeuvre, parts of which had been examined in earlier master's theses and PhD dissertations. In five chapters, Holliday presents a chronological and...

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