Four Jolly Clowns, Mother Hubbard's Party, Elastic Locomotives, Sliced Birds, Grace Hoops, and a Roaming Turtle
An out-of-state patron recently discovered that the library owns a rare 1888 wholesale toy catalog produced by Selchow & Righter in New York. Upon examining the item, we discovered what a fascinating cultural record it is. The catalog certainly speaks about a different time in the United States, but the mix of toys and amusements in the catalog--some benign and some offensive from our current perspective--seems to say that the impulse to entertain ourselves is timeless.
We decided to share this magical publication more widely by digitizing its full contents as a PDF file. It's a large file, over 20 megabytes, so be patient if you have a slow internet connection. The file is searchable by keyword. Enjoy and please share any discoveries you make.
The library has many other similar catalogs in the collection, and our holdings range from original to reprinted items to material that discusses commercial catalogs.
In case you missed it, the Alfred Jacob Miller exhibition was featured in both the Dallas Morning News and on Artdaily.org, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram selected this past Saturday’s symposium, Alfred Jacob Miller: East to West, as its pick of the week.
I was out of town this past weekend and missed both this program and Sunday’s Target Family Fun Day. While I enjoyed my trip, I regretted not seeing the results of almost a year’s worth of planning. If you attended either program please let me know what you thought.
I thought I might share some interesting information that I learned while reading Dr. Lisa Strong’s essays for the exhibition catalogue for Sentimental Journey: The Art of Alfred Jacob Miller
Did you know that in Great Britain there is a long history of comparing American Indians and Highland Scots? Both groups were idealized as valiant warriors and free spirits, whose way of life was supposedly coming to an end. Sir William Drummond Stewart’s (1795–1871) ancestral estates were in the Highlands, and he appears to have embraced such comparisons. In addition to the paintings and sketches created by Alfred Jacob Miller during their travels in the Rocky Mountains, Stewart adorned his home with Indian artifacts, planted seeds of native plants in his kitchen garden, and attempted to raise bison on his grounds. My particular favorite is this pair of mahogany bison chairs that Stewart commissioned upon his return to Scotland.
It is also significant that of the field sketches that Miller created Stewart preferred images that showed Stewart and the American Indians engaged in activities that were traditional aristocratic pursuits: big game hunting deer stalking, horse racing, and archery competitions. In both content and style these works establish connections between American Indians and Scottish aristocratic culture, suggesting that Stewart saw American Indians as a kind of indigenous aristocracy. Taking this idea one step further, Strong suggests that since highlanders were lauded for similar traits of honor, martial skill, hospitality these images made Stewart appear more authentic Scotsman as well as aristocrat.
Take a moment to check out Kris Boyd’s interview with Lisa Strong, guest curator of the Sentimental Journey: The Art of Alfred Jacob Miller on view at the Carter until January 11, 2009. Lisa appears on the same show as Bob Shieffer. Her interview begins at the 18 minute mark.
While this Blog has been quiet the past few days, the museum has been anything but. Everyone around here is bustling with excitement as we get ready to open our new exhibition, Sentimental Journey: The Art of Alfred Jacob Miller and introduce its related programs.
Preparations are also underway for other events including next Thursday’s Educator Evening in the Cultural District. Trust me, if you are an educator and within driving distance of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, you want to be sure to come to this free event.
Also on Thursday, everyone is invited to Get Art Smart at that evening’s Gallery Talk. This interesting, instructive, and interactive talk will be led by the museum’s stellar team of Gallery Teachers.
Friday morning features the New Parents Tour a program that gives new mommies and daddies an opportunity to take a guided tour of the museum without worrying if baby’s crying upsets other tour participants.
Finally, on Saturday everyone is invited to come out and celebrate our community’s amazing arts and cultural institutions during the Third Annual Day in the District. This event occurs in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum Day.
This month’s Target Family Fun Day takes place on Sunday, September 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. Bring your family together for this fun, free event where you will find families in the Carter’s collection of artworks, then participate in fun activities and create your own family portraits.
Target Family Fun Days are generously supported by Target.
I am a big fan of the Free Rice Vocabulary Game–I like words and feeling like I am doing some good for the world. So I was really happy to read about the Free Rice Painting Game on Tyler Green’s Blog.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that there are lots of Impressionist and Renaissance painters in stages one through five–they are, after all, some of the best known artworks out there. American artists like Winslow Homer, Thomas Cole, and Mary Cassatt don’t pop up until the higher levels–just another reason to get to know the Carter’s collection. Give it a try and see for yourself!