Pretty poinsettias, snow-covered pines, and cute little Scotties. This gift wrap is from the Modern Vogue Company, Inc. from around the 1930s and 1940s. We hope these inspire some vintage flair for your holiday gift giving!
Our friends at @nypl have a great way to spice up your gifts this year: DIY vintage gift tags! You can download images from their New York Public Library Digital Collections to explore digitized drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, and more, and then craft them into gift tags for your holiday presents. Link in profile: http://s.si.edu/NYPLtags This collection of gift wrap samples was donated by Bernard Levine, in March 1987. Bernard Levine Sample Book Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Santa, we don't REALLY want soap in our stockings. What's the most weirdly functional holiday gift you've received? (We were once given a bottle of dish soap in our stocking, so we know how the mom in this ad feels.) Squinting to read the poem? Here it is. Note the 1890s ideas regarding which toys are best for sons vs. daughters. We’d like a doll AND a drum, thank you very much. “I've traveled through the sleet and snow,
Across the country high and low,
To fill the stockings small and great
That here in line my coming wait.
In creeping baby’s tiny hose
The india rubber rattle goes;
A handsome doll, with staring eyes,
Will much the little miss surprise;
And what will more delight the boys
Than musket, drum or bugle toys?
And now, before I climb the flue,
I’ll bear in mind the mother true,
Who works so hard by day and night
To keep her clothing clean and white,
And in her stocking, long and wide,
Some cakes of Ivory Soap I’ll hide.” Ivory Soap Advertising Collection, 1883-1998, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. #HistoryHoliday#HolidayHistory#Ephemera#AdHistory#AdvertisingHistory#Soap#HolidayGifts#ChristmasStocking#Santa#StockingStuffers
Peacocks, owls, “swans a-swimming” this star quilt is a menagerie in silk, wool, satin, and embroidery. Lydia Pearl Finnell may have made this parlor throw for her trousseau. In this quilt, she shows off the fancy needlework techniques popular in the late 19th century.
Finnell was born on March 3, 1867, to William and Sarah Irvine Finnell in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. At the age of three, she was sent to live with her Aunt Lize and Uncle Boley. They taught her the social graces as well as housekeeping skills, cooking, animal husbandry, and some rudimentary doctoring skills.
At the age of 14 or 15, she attended Daughters College in Harrodsburg, where she received an excellent education for the time. This included plain and fancy needlework and the fine arts of canvas and china painting.
It's National Hot Cocoa Day, grab your mug and pass the marshmallows. In honor of this cozy holiday, here are a few of our favorite mugs from the collection. The first and second mugs shown here are from our Ellouise Baker Larsen Collection of American Historical Staffordshire China. One features an image of President John Adams, our second president, and James Monroe (with his name spelled wrong), our fifth president. The third mug has a gorgeous, almost magical, green color. It has a stippled exterior with a pulled acanthus leaf handle. Produced in England during the middle of the 18th century, it was donated to the museum by Helen Augusta Mosher in 1961 as one of the 839 ceramic objects she left us upon her death. Perhaps this one was particular appropriate for green tea?
The last mug was also produced in England, around the 1800s. It's a piece of "mocha ware." Mocha ware featured distinctive tree-like patterns made by a chemical reaction caused by dripping an acidic solution on the alkaline slip-glaze. This mug was also donated by Mosher.
Silk screened in a garage in Costa Mesa, California, John van Hamersveld's neon design for this poster seems to glow 1964 surfing vibes right into your retinas, even after all these years. "The Endless Summer" followed surfers on their quest for "the perfect wave" and introduced the world to surfing.
Written, produced, and directed by Bruce Brown, it was a surf "diary.” The movie was in limited release in 1964. It was released worldwide in 1966, grossing $5 million domestically and over $20 million worldwide. It's an integral piece of surfing culture. This week, we reflect on the legacy of Bruce Brown. He died Sunday at age 80. #BruceBrown#Surfing#SurfingHistory#SportsHistory#AmericanHistory#EndlessSummer#SummerSomewhere#SilkScreen#GraphicDesign#1960s#MoviePoster
Manfred Anson created this Menorah. A native of Germany, Anson described his idyllic childhood coming to an abrupt end with the Nazi rise to power in 1933. As conditions for Jews worsened, 14-year-old Manfred was enrolled at an agricultural school. The hope was that he could secure a visa to emigrate to Palestine. However, just prior to the start of World War II, another opportunity presented itself and he was chosen as one of 20 boys rescued by the Jewish Welfare Guardian Society of Australia.
On the blog, discover how Anson came to America: http://s.si.edu/Menorah (Link in profile.) Happy Hanukkah, Chag Sameach, and holiday greetings, Instagram friends. #AmericanHistory#Heritage#Menorah#WorldWarII#Hanukkah#ChagSameach#ManyVoices#ManyVoicesOneNation
"I've got the world on a string / I'm sitting on a rainbow" Today is Frank Sinatra's birthday. Do you have a favorite Sinatra tune? This photo of Ol' Blue Eyes was snapped by Herman Leonard, who took photos of jazz icons in the 1940s and 1950s.
Herman Leonard Photographs, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. #AmericanHistory#JazzHistory#BlackAndWhite#FrankSinatra#MusicHistory#Swoonatra
Yep, this is how we get ready for Monday. We put on our red cape, wander into the snowy woods, and find a friendly, bespectacled bear with a cauldron of piping hot breakfast cereal. Isn't that what YOU do?
We hope you woke up to a delicious, warm breakfast—whether or not it was prepared by a large, furry carnivoran mammal. Have an awesome, history-filled Monday, Instagram friends!
N. W. Ayer Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Cookie swap, here we come! Do you recognize this from mom or grandma's kitchen? Made in the 1960s by Nordic Ware, a family-owned manufacturing firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Cookie King is used to make "spritzgebäck." Sometimes called "spritz" for short, they're a Scandinavian cookie traditionally made around Christmastime.
You push the dough through a variety of nozzles to form different shapes. The Cookie King is an example of Nordic Ware's early cookware that was made to appeal to Minnesota's large Scandinavian population.
Taking a break from hanging up holiday horn-aments, these handsome reindeer model their two coats: one for summer and one for winter. This is one of 150 stone lithographs published in "Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," published between 1845 and 1848.
The lithographs were based on watercolor drawings by John James Audubon and, after 1846, his son John Woodhouse Audubon, who completed the series due to the elder Audubon's failing eyesight. Another son, Victor Gifford Audubon, assisted with the backgrounds of the drawings. The lithographs were printed on heavy white paper and coloring was applied by hand before the prints were bound.
We hope you're having a great day, history fans! You can see other images from "Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America" on our website: americanhistory.si.edu/collections #HistoryHoliday#HolidayHistory#Reindeer#Audubon#Lithography#HistSTEM#SantasReindeer
39° and overcast? Hot chocolate now, please! And not in one of those cardboard cups. Nope. We want it in a fancy trembleuse, a ceramic cup with a lid and saucer. This one was most likely used to drink hot chocolate or coffee.
During the 18th century, the preparing, serving, and consuming of chocolate and coffee became a ritualistic affair for the middle classes.
While it had been popular with upper classes for a century earlier, the desire to mimic the upper classes led to a proliferation of utensils and serving ware to enhance the experience.