IF a book has ever been written on this subject it has been impossible to discover; and to get reliable facts for a history of the origin and development of the art of making wall-papers has been a serious task, although the result seems scanty and superficial. Some friends may wonder at the lack of fascinating bits of gossip, stories of rosy romance and somber tragedy in connection with these papers. But those who chatted, danced, flirted, wept or plotted in the old rooms are long since dust, and although the "very walls have ears" they have not the gift of speech. But my collection of photographs is something entirely unique and will increase in value every year. The numerous photographers, to whom I have never appealed in vain, are regarded by me as not only a skillful but a saintly class of men.
I am greatly indebted to Miss Mary M. Brooks of Salem and Miss Mary H. Buckingham of Boston for professional assistance. Many others have most kindly helped me by offers of photographs and interesting facts concerning the papers and their histories. But I am especially indebted to Mrs. Frederick C. Bursch, who has given much of her time to patient research, to the verification or correction of doubtful statements, and has accomplished a difficult task in arranging and describing the photographs. Without her enthusiastic and skillful assistance, my collection and text would have lacked method and finish.
To the many, both acquaintances and strangers, who have volunteered assistance and have encouraged when discouragement was imminent, sending bracing letters and new-old pictures, I can only quote with heartfelt thanks the closing lines of the verse written by Foote, the English actor, to be posted conspicuously to attract an audience to his benefit.