1964: Fountains, Fireworks, Fifty Years Ago – a World’s Fair

April 21, 2014

  The Cooper-Hewitt Library has a large collection of over 2,000 World’s fair catalogues and books. Many are the official guidebooks that visitors could purchase with descriptions of pavilions and that helped locate sights and other points of interest. As a teenager, my mother had loved the 1939 World’s fair, so that when it came to New York City again in 1964-65, she wanted to see another World’s fair and have us more »

Eyeglasses and Spectacles of the Past

April 14, 2014

Many of us who wear glasses everyday will probably find ourselves relating to these two sentences. “But take the subject all in all, and consider it in all its phases, it cannot be denied that the invention of spectacles was one of the most useful to the human family.” “Many a man and woman to-day in all quarters of the known world owes the pleasure of existence to the use of scientifically more »

White Bronze for the hereafter

April 4, 2014

This Catalogue of the Monumental Bronze Co. is one of the many examples of trade literature that the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library has in its collection; they are among the most valuable research resources for documenting the tastes and trends of culture, and the products being marketed and sold in a given time period. These are Victorian era zinc sculpture and ornaments for cemetery grave markers and “monuments”.  “White bronze” was an more »

Women in Research

March 31, 2014

As part of my duties in wrangling data for Smithsonian Research Online, I worked on a project to collect and ingest the historic legacy of published scholarship produced by Smithsonian researchers since the Institution’s inception in 1846. The main focus of my participation is cleaning and preparing the data, but I find it hard to resist not paying attention to its historic significance. I’ll admit occasionally getting lost thinking about what it more »

Potawatomi Vocabulary Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

March 25, 2014

J.N. Bourassa’s A Vocabulary of the Po-da-wahd-mih Language is the latest addition from the Libraries to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. The Vocabulary was transcribed around 1890 from the original, which dates to 1843. The Potawatomi have traditionally inhabited the Upper Mississippi River region as well as Indiana and Kansas, and are making efforts to promote the use of their native language, a sub-group of the Algonquian language family.

Women’s History Month: An American in Paris, Thérèse Bonney

March 21, 2014

Born in upstate New York, Thérèse Bonney(1897-1978), was a photojournalist whose work reflected a wide variety of interests and subjects. She studied at the University of California at Berkeley and Radcliffe College in the 1910s. Bonney immigrated to France in 1919 where she became one of the first ten women to graduate from the Sorbonne and founded the first American illustrated press service in Europe, the Bonney Service, in 1924. 

A European Tour on Bicycle

March 20, 2014

While browsing the Collections Search Center for an interesting trade catalog to highlight on the Blog, I came across this one from 1894. The only illustration in the entire catalog is on the front cover but that’s not what caught my eye. Instead, it was two words in the first paragraph: “photographic souvenirs.”

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