Tea & Sympathy and Wallpaper on Bookshelves

Tea & Sympathy is a movie made in 1956, about an awkward college kid and a faculty member who befriends him. As I watched the movie, naturally, I was grooving on the cool wallpapers they used in those days, particularly on the stairway in the hall.

But what caught my eye most was the use of color on the backs of bookshelves. This is quite popular today, not just a contrasting or eye-popping paint color, but also textured wallpaper, mostly grasscloth, in either a neutral or a bold color.

I thought this was a trend of the new millenium. But, after watching Tea & Sympathy and looking at those bookshelves, I realize that it’s not so much a “trend” as it is a style or preference, and something that has been pleasing to people for decades.

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