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Box, Jenny Lind Paper Doll Set, ca. 1850
Paper to Plastic: How Technology is Transforming Doll Design
In 1925 Cooper-Hewitt added to its collection “Jenny Lind Paper Doll, and Ten Costumes Designed for her Operatic Roles” from an unknown designer and was featured in the 2005 "Faster, Cheaper, Newer, More: Revolutions of 1848"  exhibition. Upon discovering it in the collection,  I was immediately drawn to it because some of my favorite childhood toys were...
Book, "A day at the New York World's Fair with Peter and Wendy"
1964: I was there…in my Orange and Blue
The Cooper-Hewitt Library has a large collection of over 2,000 World’s fair catalogues and books. Some are children’s souvenirs and stories. A day at the New York World's Fair with Peter and Wendy brings back memories of certain things I remember. As a teenager, my mother had loved the 1939 World’s fair, so that when...
Sidewall, 1918-23
A Sophisticated Floral
While Ruhlmann is better known for his beautifully designed and executed furniture and interior decoration, he also designed a number of wallpapers. This is an early design produced before he got into his brightly colored Art Deco phase. While still drawing upon an Art Nouveau aesthetic with its meandering vines and organic nature, the restrained...
Scarf, 1920s
Scarf for a Socialite
With its bold black lines contrasting with the tonal pinks, this scarf would have been a colorful finishing touch to a day ensemble when tied and draped across ones shoulders. The pattern is made not by a printing technique, but by silk satin pieced and hand sewn in the same manner as other pieces of...
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...