“Making a Business of Good Taste”: Minerva Elliot and the Professionalization of Interior Decoration in Toronto, 1925 – 1939

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Krantz, Nicola




This thesis examines the development of the interior decorating profession in Toronto by following the career trajectory of interior decorator Minerva Elliot (1887-1964). Elliot's biography allows entry into spaces of inquiry beginning with the T. Eaton Company in Toronto as a site of education for its clientele and the emerging professional. Additionally, the upscale decorating magazine Canadian Homes and Gardens serves as an important tool for providing evidence of Elliot's independent practice, featuring her decorating advice and illustrations of her work. This thesis explores how the department store and magazine helped to professionalize the field of interior decoration, which dealt with various modern tastes in Toronto's evolving metropolis. I argue that interior decoration - and Minerva Elliot's voice alike - occupies an important and overlooked part of Canadian design and women's history, and draws attention to the significance of interior decoration as a means of expressing identity in interwar Toronto.


Art History
Design and Decorative Arts
Women's Studies




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Art History

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Theses and Dissertations

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