The Cooper Hewitt Museum's library and archive, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, contains 5,000 rare books pertaining to ornament, architecture, and the decorative arts. A selection of these rare books forms the subject of this volume. design books have served as an inspiration to designers, as tools for instruction, and as works of art in themselves. Presented in this title are such remarkable books as Pierre Valet's 'Le Jardin du Roy tres chrestien' 'Loys XIII' 'Roy de France et de Navarre' of 1623, which contains over fifty life-size botanical engravings. Examples of fine bindings, children's books, pop-ups and caricatures are also included. Rare books also provide insights into environmental factors that shape the designs of a society or era. By illustrating examples from the museum's books or history, culture, etiquette, and travel guides, Van Dyk shows how such books played key roles in defining acceptable taste and standards of design.