Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Geography and Planning
This thesis seeks to examine the concept of mail-order, “kit” housing, as pioneered at the beginning of the 20th century. Of primary focus will be the (then) new technologies and innovations having made this industry possible, as well as the marketing methods used in the concept’s advertisement. Further parallels between mail-order housing and other relevant historical topics are also to be drawn. Sources include both an original catalog of mail-order homes formerly available from the Aladdin Company, and a reprint of one such catalog published for Sears, Roebuck and Company. Articles from academic journals, portions of pertinent books, and other such written sources are utilized, as well. Other information and context is derived from both recent informal discussions with construction experts, as well as recollections of conversations with elderly relatives having experienced much of the historical context relevant to the era primarily associated with kit homes. The work is concluded with an analysis and critique of recent uses of pseudo-catalog house concepts in construction, and suggestions for theoretical improvements in the design and use of modern kit homes in the present and future.
Squires, Madison Caswell, "The Check is in the Mail (And so is the House): An Analysis of the Short-Lived Catalog Home Phenomenon" (2017). Geography and Planning. 2.