It Took a Gay Man to Camouflage the Army

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THIS YEAR marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of William Pahlmann, an internationally acclaimed interior designer who beautified numerous public and private spaces and made a uniquely gay contribution to the U.S. war effort in World War II.

Pahlmann was born on December 12, 1900, and grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from the Old Main Avenue High School and then from the Parsons School of Design in New York City and Paris. He embarked on his professional career as an interior designer as chief executive of the interior design department and buyer of antique objects for Lord & Taylor. During the 1930’s, he launched his concept of model rooms to provide additional merchandise display and emphasized the value of conceptual planning of interiors. These distinguished model rooms achieved the reputation of art exhibitions and attracted an international following. Pahlmann led the movement to integrate antiques into modern living arrangements and is considered the founder of the Eclectic School in Interior Design.

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