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Tag: NMAH Library

Twelfth Night Traditions: A Cake, a Bean, and a King

Twelfth Night decorations and directions for working with crepe paper from the 1923 Dennison's Christmas Book by Dennison Mfg. Co.Have you heard of a cake with a bean baked into it and the man who finds the bean becomes King for the night?  That is just one tradition associated with Twelfth Night, but there are many more customs and traditions for this holiday.  Several items mentioning Twelfth Night are located at the National Museum of American History Library, like the 1923 Dennison’s Christmas Book by Dennison Mfg. Co.

“Comfortable Corsets” Circa 1893

Worcester Corset Co. pamphlet for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

This post was written by Cathy Rae Smith who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library.

“Style, Comfort, Economy” touted the full color exposition pamphlet for Royal Worcester WCC Corsets.  The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago gave attendees an opportunity to see the leading products and advances of the time–including this company’s fully boned, tightly laced corsets described as offering “great FLEXIBILITY, always comfortable.”

A Three Month Tour…in 1908

Althouse's Select Oriental and Mediterranean Tours front coverThis post was written by Cathy Rae Smith, who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library, and Alexia MacClain, a SIL staff member at the National Museum of American History Library.

“Encumber yourself with as little baggage as possible.”  Though this holds true today, it was offered as advice to the traveler joining one of Althouse’s Select Foreign Tours in 1908.  Let’s revisit an era of leisurely steamship travel in which the motto boasted, “Even the very best is none too good for our guests.”

A Look Back at Barber Shops

Kochs' Gold Medal Hydraulic Barbers' Chair, No. 25
Kochs' Gold Medal Hydraulic Barbers' Chair, No. 25

Has a red, white, and blue pole near a store ever caught your eye?  It’s happened to me.  I see the red, white, and blue pole but I don’t need to look at the sign.  I know it means there must be a barber shop behind that window.

We might be familiar with how barber shops looked later in the twentieth century.  But what were they like in the first decade of the twentieth century?  What did barber shop furniture look like over a hundred years ago?  This trade catalog by Theo. A. Kochs Co. gives us the chance to go back to 1903 for a glimpse into barber shops of the past.