Wallpaper in the 1920’s was distinctive from previous fashionable periods in wallpaper design. Colours were different. Overall they were brighter and clearer. The patterns were frequently designed with lighter backgrounds, and they featured more ‘painterly’ effects in the printing.
There was also a marked attention to reviving historic designs, as 1926 was the 150th anniversary of the American Revolution, and all things historic – in building design, furniture, and interior decoration – were fashionable.
In this article, we feature the W. L. Donehower wallpaper line from 1925. Donehower was a wallpaper and paint company located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Lewisburg is a small town whose business district is on the west bank of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Market Street was the main commercial thoroughfare, and had a delightful small-town atmosphere in the early days when the store was selling wallpaper to the homeowners of Lewisburg.
W. L. Donehower started in 1877 as a paint and wallpaper store. Their business focus gradually changed over the years to include some sporting goods as early as 1925 according to ads in the local College newspaper. Gradually they became a full service Sporting Goods store, dropping wallpaper entirely, and they sponsored local youth baseball teams in the 1950’s. Donehowers closed their doors forever in 2009, after 132 years in business.
Donehower’s Wallpaper Line for 1925 was recorded in a full colour booklet, which is reproduced below. Wallpaper booklets like this one were probably supplied by a large wallpaper manufacturer, and printed specially to reflect the names of individual retail outlets to give a cachet to the stores, and make it appear that the wallpaper was an exclusive line for the store. Both the front cover and the inside back cover of the Donehower booklet have been hand-stamped with the Donehower name in pink ink. Additionally, the inside front cover has been professionally printed with the Donehower name, probably by the wallpaper manufacturer as a promotional extra.