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 »
Throughout the year, the Smithsonian Libraries works with brand managers at the Smithsonian Enterprises to develop products based on unique items in our collection. From sleigh beds to weather vanes, our books have inspired a variety of merchandise! Not only are they neat items, but a portion of the proceeds comes back to the Libraries for the care and maintenance of our collection. Below is a list of perfectly giftable items just more »
To teach children the stretch of fingers necessary to play a full-sized piano, the keys on these toy pianos were spaced the same distance apart as the keys on a full-sized piano.
Sears Christmas Book, Sears, Roebuck & Company, Chicago: 1956, Cover From the Libraries exhibtion, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration, which is currently on view in the National Museum of American History. There is also an online version of the exhibition.—Elizabeth Periale
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