Movable London

Elizabeth Broman and Julia Blakely co-authored this post The plot of the recent film, “Paddington 2,” revolves around a one-of-a-kind pop-up book. In a wonderful scene, the good-souled, marmalade-loving bear is transported after opening the covers to movable parts within, unfurling into a dream of London (link here). Paddington declares it is the perfect gift (“like she were finally here”) for his adored Aunt Lucy in “Darkest Peru.” The volume is for more »

An Informed Consumer… Shopping with Thérèse Bonney in Paris.

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library owns over 4,000 photographs by American photographer and journalist Thérèse Bonney, (1894-1978), who documented life in Paris from 1925-35. In 1929, she and her sister Louise created A Shopping Guide to Paris,  for the “350,000 Americans who visit Paris every year.” The foreword says, “dozens of books have been written telling you what to see, but we are writing about where to buy, … buying is as important as sightseeing in this enchanting city.”     An American woman shopping for Paris fashions might have felt overwhelmed by the many small boutiques and fashion houses. Thérèse and Louise Bonney outlined in great detail the procedure and etiquette of visiting couturiers and buying dresses and coats, as well as the separate boutiques for hats, gloves, leather goods, and other accessories. These tips made shopping less intimidating and reassured the American traveler that they could be as knowledgeable, sophisticated and as chic as the French woman. Advice on who the top name fashion houses were, the chapters devoted more »

Rockwell Kent: “A house is not a home. Not until you decorate.”

According to the author’s text in The Home Decorator and Color Guide (1939), the images in this booklet,   “are not meant to be examples of what in any absolute sense is best in architecture and decoration. Some of them are houses that I’d like to live in; some,  that I’d like to visit; all are houses I’d like to see. They suit my fairly average taste. That may be summed up as more »

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series: Embracing ‘Phobia’

All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research based class called Pro-Seminar. This course trains students in conducting formal analyses, writing catalog entries, and making visual presentations that require students to conduct and integrate primary and secondary source research.  Students select one work from the museum collection to study during this 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 »

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series: Ornamente by Bruno Mauder

  Studying Design All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research based class called Pro-Seminar.

Musical stuffed bunnies still sing it…..

“Easter Parade” is still a popular song- lots of little kids today know this old tune from their musical animal toys. You might know the lyrics and tune to sing along with the first 2 lines of the chorus of  “In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it…”  Written by Irving Berlin in 1933, the song was also the basis of the iconic 1948 movie musical starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. The song was introduced by Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb on Broadway as part of the musical revue As Thousands Cheer (1933), in which musical numbers were strung together on the thematic thread of newspaper headlines and the lives of rich and famous people.

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