Friday, August 11, 2017

Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database

by Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

A Project of the Birmingham Public Library Archives

The Alabama Decorative Arts Survey, begun in 1985 and directed by the Birmingham Museum of Art, was a nine-year state-wide search for 19th and early 20th century ceramics, quilts, coverlets, furniture, carvings, paintings, photographs, metals, textiles, and grave markers created by Alabama artisans.

The records of the survey are now preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives and the Archives has created an online, searchable database containing digitized photographs and information for hundreds of objects. The database will be expanded to include additional objects as funding becomes available.

Explore the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database at

The creation of this database was made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Frances O. Robb said...

This is a wonderful project and I applaud everyone connected to it, as well as its users. It is a great resource. I am puzzled that one of the photographs is attributed to Wallace, Barnes of Mobile and another is shown as by Blyth of Montgomery, but the latter shows the frontprint with the photographer's name on it and the Wallace, Barnes image does not. Is there a reason for this?

Meantime, congrats on a really fine project.

Frances Osborn Robb

Melinda Shelton said...

Hi Frances and thanks for your comment.

The photo is identified as Wallace, Barnes on the information sheet completed at the time the photo was photographed by the staff of the Decorative Arts Survey. Here's the information sheet:

The photographer's name may have been given by the person who owned the photo or may have been taken from the verso of the photo, but the people doing the survey didn't photograph the verso.

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