Porcelain Designs as Propaganda

This extremely rare 1940 trade catalog the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Library,  Katalog farforu fa︠i︡ansu i maĭoliky, represents the production of not any one company. It is the output of 10 state-owned ceramics factories all over the Ukraine in small towns and villages, after industry was nationalized in 1918. This is a primary source document for the decorative arts and for studying the material culture and political history of the Ukraine and more »

So you want to build something…

The Cooper Hewitt Library collects a variety of trade periodicals, especially those dealing with architecture and the building trades. The Architect, builder and woodworker is a journal of industrial art that offers practical and technical information for anyone with the skill and interest in designing a home or other building. We own nearly 100 issues ranging from 1875-1895. Architecture as a profession at this time was just emerging; master builders, draftsmen, and more »

“Color in a New Light” tote bags now available

Back to school means back to books! And why not tote around your favorite tomes in a Color in a New Light tote bag? Through the Smithsonian Libraries exhibition Color in a New Light , visitors follow the theme of color through the collections and make a few unexpected connections and discoveries. Now, book lovers from near and far can bring home a piece of Color with this promotional tote bag, available more »

Tip of the hat to Gazette du Bon Ton

What better day to celebrate one of our favorite French fashion periodicals than January 15th – known in some corners of the internet as “National Hat Day”. In the pages of Gazette du Bon Ton, fantastic head adornments certainly abound:  

The Fix – Ein Wintermärchen, an Adopt-a-Book Story

  Ein Wintermärchen (a winter story) is a children’s book from our Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library. The library holds an extensive collection of children’s books, around 2,000, with 1,200 being pop-up books. This particular volume came to the Book Conservation Lab through the Adopt-A-Book program.     The book is lavishly illustrated by Ernst Kreidolf, a well-known Swiss children’s book illustrator. Many of his books depict fairies and other mythical creatures, more »

For the Voice 

This post was written by Stephen Van Dyk, Librarian, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library. The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library recently obtained this renowned example of early 20th century book and graphic design entitled Dlja golosa (For the Voice), published in Berlin in 1923.  The sixty-one page softcover work, a collaboration of Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) and designer El Lissitzky (1890-1941), rhythmically interlaces innovative constructivist style layouts and patterns with thirteen more »

Designing Women: The Hewitt Sisters and The Remaking of a Modern Museum (Part 2)

This is a two-part series on the Hewitt sisters. Read part one. By 1897, Sarah and Eleanor had collected enough to formally open their museum on the fourth floor of the Cooper Union. In the tradition of their grandfather, the Hewitt sisters wanted to actualize a museum and library that were not just a showcase, but also tools—places that students and designers could come to for reference and inspiration, then go out more »

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