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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 »

100 names: cataloging in Library of Congress Name Authority File

Most people don’t know what the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF) is, but if you ever search for works by your favorite author or research an individual in a library catalog, you have used its records.  The records assure that materials by or about the same entity can be grouped in the library catalog, even if an entity has used different names.  This might not sound that impressive, until you more »

Chaptour Guides: Expanding the Museum Experience Through Teen Engagement

This post was written by Olivia Wisnewski, Education Intern for Summer 2018. As anyone who has ever parented, taught or spoken to a teenager can tell you, teenagers can be difficult. From the snarky kid at the grocery checkout to the herd of teens glued to their phones on the sidewalk, it’s easy to see why some people dread social situations with unknown teenagers. But what if we could turn that notion more »

Silk, Salvage, and Special Collections: The History of Lessing J. Rosenwald’s Graphic Arts Donations

Save the date for the next lecture in our Smithsonian Libraries 50th Anniversary series: Silk, Salvage, and Special Collections: The History of Lessing J. Rosenwald’s Graphic Arts Donations Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 5:30 pm ET Lecture Hall, S. Dillon Ripley Center Stephanie Stillo Curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress   This talk is about the extraordinary life and collection of antiquarian print collector, Lessing J. Rosenwald more »

A Summer by the Lake

What do you imagine a vacation might have been like over a hundred years ago? This brochure from the Trade Literature Collection gives us a glimpse into what some people might have done on their summer vacation in 1909.

If Books Could Kill: A Deadly Secret in the Cullman Library

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History’s 1602 edition of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De animalibus insectis has always been a favorite of mine, and the rest of our special collections staff. Aside from being the first European work dedicated solely to the natural history of insects and featuring numerous incredible woodcut illustrations, it also retains its beautiful contemporary binding. But this binding is just as dangerous as it is lovely: the more »

Inside an Artist’s file: Lessons from Robert Beverly Hale

This post was contributed by Jessica Downie, 2018 Smithsonian American Art Museum summer intern with the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, and a rising senior at Bucknell University. During my internship this summer, I have been working to merge a recent donation of materials from the Arts Students League of New York (ASL) with the AA/PG Library’s Art & Artist Files. Through the process I have come across a variety more »

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