As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been volunteering weekly in the offices of the Goldstein Museum of Design on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, tidying up the donor files. The Goldstein collection includes furniture, textiles, silver and ceramics, but the largest part is clothing and accessories. The files I see each week contain the paperwork–deeds of gift, acknowledgment letters, and inventories of donations–involved in changing the ownership of property.
Every week I find something in a file–the original charge slip for a hat, an obituary, a yellowed society page showing a bride in the wedding gown that’s now in the Goldstein’s care–that personalizes the donation. Today I paged through the file of a donor who’d left the Goldstein the dress she wore at the 1953 presidential inaugural ball. The folder was thick with special edition newspaper sections and inaugural programs saved for sixty years.
Many other files are thin and nondescript. There may, however, be photos of the donations online that tell a lot about the donor’s taste, travels, or family connections.
The Goldstein’s collections are gradually being documented in photos. It’s always a treat to look up a donor and find items that have been prepared and photographed so beautifully.
Especially when I see hats I think of the moment the wearer looked at herself approvingly in the mirror at the hat shop and decided, “Yes, this is the one.”
Today I came across the records of these two 1950s hats embellished with fruits of summer:
- Catalog no. 2004.022.003: From 1950, by Elsa Schiaparelli: “White Hat with White Beading and Strawberry & Vine Design.”
- Catalog no. 1979.015.019: From 1957-51959, by Peck & Peck: “Natural Straw Boater-Style Hat With A Black Velvet Ribbon Around Crown With Streamers and Fake Cherry Cluster Decoration.”
A few weeks back I discovered this suit with these delightful strawberry buttons:
- Catalog no. 2003.052.035a-b: From 1990-1995, by Franco Moschino: “White cotton pique jacket with strawberry buttons and short skirt.”
There are more photographs of each of these items in the Goldstein Museum of Design database. Go to the home page, click on the Collection tab, then “Search the Collection,” and then enter the catalog numbers.
All photographs are by the Goldstein Museum of Design.