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 »
Before summer ends, it might be nice to take a little mental holiday. How about a tour of Paris, circa 1898? And why not throw in a book of pretty pictures with a built-in mini-mystery?
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:
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.
In Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris, a modern-day writer finds himself repeatedly traveling back in time to Paris at the height of the 1920’s. While there he meets a number of the period’s famous writers and artists, from Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein to Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Seeing this film made me want to learn more about the fascinating lives of these people, so I decided to research Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, who in the film introduce us to the world of Paris in the twenties.
Emmanuelle Couvert has joined the Libraries’ book conservation lab for a three month internship. She is a 4th year student in the book conservation program at the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris.
The Libraries' featured exchange partner for April is our counterpart in Paris, France: the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN) in Paris, France. We have been corresponding and exchanging with them since at least 1937. The MNHN was incorporated as the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in 1793 during the French Revolution, and opened in 1794. After a complicated developmental history and receiving financial autonomy in 1907, it began a new phase of growth, opening facilities throughout France during the interwar years. In recent decades, it has directed its research and education efforts at the effects of human exploitation on the environment. In French public administration, the Muséum is classed as a grand établissement of higher education. The museum's mission, similar to that of the Smithsonian's, is both fundamental and applied research and public diffusion of knowledge. It is organized into seven research and three diffusion departments. The research departments are: Classification and evolution Regulation, Development, and Molecular Diversity Aquatic Environments and Populations Ecology and Biodiversity Management History of Earth Men, Nature, and more »
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