Author: Elizabeth Broman

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Illustrations of iron architecture by Daniel Badger
Discover Architecture- Carry A Magnet!
On a long ago walking tour of downtown New York, I was charmed and mystified to see people pulling refrigerator magnets or little alphabet letters out of their pockets and having them cling to the deceptively ordinary front of a building! They stuck! This is the test of a cast iron building. The Library has in its...
Jan Christian Sepp, Icones lignorum exoticorum
If I were a carpenter
Title translation: A representation of Inland and Foreign Wood: As well Trees as [sic] Shrubs Which are Collected by the Lovers of Natural History in Their Cabinets of Natural Curiosities for Use and Pleasure. According to Their Inward Properties and Natural  Colors  … In a page headlined Advertisement, Sepp says this book is for “Kings,...
Vases with portraits of Lenin and other Communist leaders
Back in the USSR
This extremely rare trade catalog from 1940, in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Library, represents the output of 10 state-owned ceramics factories from all over the Ukraine in small towns and villages after industry was nationalized in 1918. Katalog farforu faiansu i maĭoliky  is a primary source document for studying the decorative arts, material culture, and political...
Sample pages of dyed ostrich feathers
Polychromed Plumes
During the last quarter of the 19th century, feather decoration for hats, fans, and boas was at its peak; in 1886, 77% of women’s hats were decorated with feathers and a milliner’s window had a display of colorful ostrich tips and plumes. They were used not only on hats, but were also used in trimming...
Mexican print with deities
Lost Tribes
As an undergraduate at Oxford University, Irish antiquarian Lord Kingsborough (1795-1837) became fascinated by the Bodleian Library’s collection of Mesoamerican codices. These vividly illustrated manuscripts painted on animal hide or tree bark were created in the 15th and early 16th by the scribes and priests of Mexico and Central America chronicling the histories, religious beliefs,...
black and white photograph of grand palais
I Wish I Had Been There!!
Between 1909 and 1948, the Grand Palais near the Champs-Elysées in Paris featured  remarkable decorative interiors which housed automotive, aeronautical and many other types of trade shows. For the buildings and other structures of the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, decorative lighting helped create a unity among the diverse architectures. The splendor of these temporary...
The Modern Priscilla magazine covers
I Read It in a Magazine
No one can resist flipping through the pages of a magazine—in waiting rooms, while traveling, or anywhere. One that I love to browse through, and one that is popular among our library’s users, is the “women’s magazine,” Modern Priscilla (1887-1930). Originally focused on dress patterns, china painting, and needlework, the magazine’s scope was subsequently enlarged to cover...
Geometric linoleum patterns and a kitchen design using Armstrong linoleum flooring
Linoleum Lives On
Turning the pages of this 1939 Armstrong pattern catalog brings me back to when I first moved into my apartment. The floors in every room were covered in old-fashioned linoleum, with well-worn paths marking where people had walked over time. Of course, this all had to go, so I started tearing up the old linoleum...