The fun part of downloading public domain comes from the unpredictability. Amazon has these free catalogues and magazines from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, and I have issue number two from The Brochure Series of Architectural Illustration. However, this issue has no illustrations, which makes this somewhat hard to read because the editors wanted the photos to help guide the viewer. The second issue of The Brochure Series of Architectural Illustration focuses on doorways of Apulian architecture in Italy.
The beginning article analyzes the Byzantine and Romanesque styles found there. They also give history of the province and who visited there. Another article provides advice for aspiring architects on how to procure sketching materials and even how to deal with crowds when trying to work. This sweet article telling novices not to worry about originality, for it will come when they do not obsess over it so much. They even offer advice that would seem obvious to people. Such as how architecture will never thrive if they rely on old traditions. The writing does verge on the catty side. I must admit, I immaturely giggled when I read this passage: “Groins are not beautiful things, but, on the contrary, are ugly, and we should wish to obviate their ugliness if we could; but when they were merely unavoidable methods of cheap construction, we admire them for the invention and skill of their architects, and we have to some extent got to love even their ugliness from old association; though perhaps the ribs at Westminster Abbey, as seen from the west end, are not offensive.””
The last sections have reviews of books such as one by John Ruskin. They do take a critical eye to his writing.