Object of the Day

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Print, ca. 1948
Montana
Throughout the 1940s, the graphic designer E. McKnight Kauffer created numerous book jackets for Harcourt Brace, Alfred Knopf and others as well as his illustrated version of The Complete Poems and Stories of Edgar Allan Poe which was published in 1946. In the same year he received a commission from the Container Corporation of America...
Fragment, 1250–1274
Words to be buried in
This Spanish textile displays the intricate geometric design which permeates many forms of Islamic art and represents the type of rich textiles favored by the Christian royalty of Iberia. This fragment is a piece of a mantle discovered in the tomb of the Infante Don Felipe of Castile (1231-1274) at the church of Santa María...
Sampler, ca. 1915
Greenwich Village Lace
A young Italian female immigrant in Greenwich Village in the early twentieth century had few options if she wanted to earn a living outside the small tenement apartment she likely shared with her family. If she found work, it was almost certainly unskilled factory labor in unhealthy working conditions for little pay. In 1905, progressive...
Open Rotary Card File, 1950
The Power of the Rolodex
“…organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year…a profitable sum, especially when one considers that the Mafia spends very little for office supplies.”—Woody Allen “I have kept a record of most people I have met since the 1940s. Their names are stored in an electronically operated Rolodex that contains upward of...
Book, "White bronze monuments, statuary, portrait medallions, busts, statues, and ornamental art work..."
White Bronze- Designing for Death
This Catalogue of the Monumental Bronze Co. is one of the many examples of trade literature that the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library has in its collection; they are among the most valuable research resources for documenting the tastes and trends of culture, and the products being marketed and sold in a given time period. This...
Bandbox and Lid, “Sandy Hook”, 1935
Sandy Hook Light House
Bandboxes were principally used between 1800-1850. They were initially designed to store and transport men’s collar bands but evolved into other uses such as hat boxes and general carry-all’s. During the 1830s many boxes were printed with historical scenes, marking events and places of interest. This design is printed on a deep blue ground to...
Chair, Consumers Rest, ca. 1991
A Rest for the Weary Shopper?
Whether it is fulfilling a holiday gift list, preparing for the first days of school, or even navigating a busy grocery store, most people have experienced the exhaustion of shopping. A sole lounge chair or bench in a store is often a welcome respite, an oasis for tired feet, and heavy bags. The German artist...
Textile, 1920s
Untraditional Art Deco
If, at first glance, this textile by Thomas Lamb seems to have a mythical and classical reference at its core, that’s because it does. It may seem strange for a mid-1920s textile to embrace Diana the Huntress as its subject matter, when Art Deco, with its focus on skyscrapers and modern materials, was rapidly becoming...
Frieze, 1900-05
A Hunting We Will Go
Landscape friezes were popularized by Walter Crane’s May Tree frieze in 1896 and remained popular into the 1920s. Beginning around 1900 many wide friezes were developed for children, and this hunting frieze would have been appropriate for a boy’s room as well as a library or dining room. This panel shows the hunters, horses and...
Matchsafe, Elephant Hotel, Atlantic City,
The World’s Greatest Elephant
This unique matchsafe is a keepsake from the early 1900s, celebrating Lucy the Margate Elephant, a landmark of South Atlantic City, N.J. (now called Margate). Portable matchsafes were used to protect wooden matches from moisture or combustion, and served as mementos, or conversation-starting trinkets that often made a statement about their owner. This particular piece...