Category Archives: Ephemera

The Fad for the Orient: Early Twentieth-Century Trade Catalogues and U.S. Fiction

My residency at the Winterthur Museum, Library, and Garden last year coincided with the opening of the exhibition Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, which focused on how Asian art objects traveled to North and South America … Continue reading

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Paper Dolls and the Cycling Craze

The 1890s was a momentous decade for women. Not only was the suffragette movement gaining worldwide momentum with New Zealand and South Australia enfranchising women, but sea changes in fashion also transformed the daily lives of women. Despite dress reform … Continue reading

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Artists’ Handmade Paper Dolls

One day I decided to hunt our Waldron Collection for handmade paper dolls by known or professional women artists. My interest was piqued after using illustrator Frances Brundage’s paper dolls from the 1890s set “Children from Many Lands,” sold by … Continue reading

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The History of Little Paper Dolls

It may seem incongruous that a renowned research library for the study of American decorative arts has an outstanding collection of paper dolls. This extensive and greatly used collection was donated in the 1970s and 1980s by Maxine Waldron, art … Continue reading

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Research Never Tasted So Good

As the 2016 election season reaches its climax, one of our research fellows has provided us with a delicious treat to celebrate the occasion. Bryce Evans, senior lecturer in history at Liverpool Hope University, England, is researching the history of … Continue reading

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Shake Your Groove Thing

Get ready to tap your toes with our newest online exhibit, Shall We Dance? Three Centuries of Dance in America.  The beauty of virtual shows is the ability to breathe new life into a previous exhibit with supplemental material and … Continue reading

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The Custom of New Year’s Calling

Looking to kick the New Year off right? Why not skip the bacchanalian revelry of New Year’s Eve and re-create the centuries-old custom of calling on friends on New Year’s Day? Popular in the 1800s, calling evolved from a Dutch … Continue reading

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Strawbridge and Clothier’s Game of Consumerism

The youth demographic—the golden ticket in marketing. Every retailer looks to target this market to ensure future business success. It’s never more apparent than during the holidays when shopping and consumerism crescendo to an all-time high. Before social media, online … Continue reading

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Playing with Fire

“Fire engines gave us the same thrill that children have felt in all times at the sight of running horses accompanied by the clanging of bells.” –Samuel Canby Rumford  Samuel Canby Rumford grew up in a house on the corner … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Archibald Hamilton Rowan: Textile Manufacturer on the Banks of the Brandywine

In the summer of 1795, exiled Irishman Archibald Hamilton Rowan arrived in Philadelphia, his journey to America quite an extraordinary one. Born in 1751 into an Irish family of privilege, he was raised by his wealthy English grandfather and educated … Continue reading

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