Hewitt sisters

Meet the Hewitts: Part Six


Meet the Hewitts: Part Five sketched the active lifestyle at the Hewitt country home, Ringwood Manor.  This month, April, will focus on Paris (of course) and explore how the sisters planned a museum for Cooper Union.
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Meet the Hewitts: Part Five


Meet the Hewitts: Part Four described the Hewitts going to Gilded Age balls and their love of fashion and entertaining.  This month let’s enjoy their country lifestyle at Ringwood Manor.
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Put An Owl On It


Owls are nocturnal birds that are characterized in most people’s memories as wise creatures, perched up on their branch overlooking the world’s activities; always awake, eyes never closed.  In my memory, owls are the talisman of a childhood favorite lollipop, the tootsie roll pop. The mind burning question of: “How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To The Center Of A Tootsie Pop?” The answer of course being, “The world may never know.”
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Meet the Hewitts: Part Four


Meet the Hewitts: Part Three described how Sarah and Eleanor’s knowledge of the arts of decoration grew as they embarked on a lifelong passion for collecting. This segment explores their role as prominent members of Gilded Age society.
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Meet the Hewitts: Part Three


Last month’s snippet, Meet the Hewitts: Part Two,  focused on the education and family life of the young Hewitt children.  Now we move on to Sarah and Eleanor’s formative years. 
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Meet the Hewitts


This is the story of the Hewitt sisters, Amelia, Sarah and Eleanor, and their family. You will meet and get to know them all in twelve monthly “snippets.” We think that Sarah and Eleanor, who never married, were remarkable as independent women who not only were pioneers in the field of design education but successfully pursued their dream of opening a unique museum at Cooper Union. The snippets will touch on issues of women’s education, design for American industry, life in the Gilded Age, fashion, travel, and most important, the early days of the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, now our Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
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An ornate cricket cage


This cricket cage is part of a group from Italy and Japan given to the Museum by the Hewitt sisters, demonstrating their eccentric taste. There is a longstanding appreciation in Japan and Asia of singing insects, such as cicadas and crickets. The custom of visiting places known for the abundance and quality of singing insects has been a treasured seasonal pleasure in Japan, akin to the viewing of cherry blossoms. Among the most valued of crickets was the kirigirisu, esteemed for its rhythmic chirp and as a harbinger of frost.
Cricket cage, Hewitt sisters, Japan, 19th century

Illustrated Children’s Books from the Cooper-Hewitt Collection


Over the past several weeks, I explored the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Design Museum Library’s collection of illustrated children’s books as part of the Arts Intern program through Studio in a School.
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