Guide to the Virginia "Jimmie" Booth collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0729
Creators:
Booth, Virginia
Dates:
1936-1999, undated
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
3 Cubic feet
6 boxes, 3 oversize folders
Repository:
Papers relating to Virginia "Jimmie" Booth's career as a buyer for Lord and Taylor, where she worked for Dorothy Shaver. Papers include correspondence; photographs; original drawings by designer Clare Potter; printed material including articles, magazine advertising and catalogs; a scrapbook of clippings and memorabilia.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Collection primarily documents Booth's career as a buyer for Lord & Taylor. It includes correspondence, photographs, drawings, clippings, and a scrapbook. There are materials relating to American born designers Claire McCardell (May 24, 1905- March 22, 1958) and Clare Potter (July 7, 1903- January 5, 1999). There is also information relating to European designers including Irish born Sybil Connolly (January 24, 1921- May 6, 1998) and Swedish born Countess Ebba Von Eckermann (April 19, 1921-February 2, 2018). In addition, materials relating to textile manufacturing and weaving, particularily in Ireland, can also be found among the materials. The collection is arranged in seven series: Series 1, Personal Papers, 1936-1999, undated; Series 2, Hillandale Handweavers, 1948-1949, 1972, undated; Series 3, Lord & Taylor Country Clothes Shop, 1950s-1960s, undated; Series 4, Irish Materials, 1958-1999, undated; Series 5, American Designers, 1944-2000, undated; Series 6, European Designers and Textile Manufacturers, 1955-1997, undated; and Series 7, Miscellaneous, 1962.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection is organized into seven series.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1936-1999, undated
Series 2: Hillandale Handweavers, 1948-1949, 1972, undated
Series 3: Lord & Taylor Country Clothes Shop, 1950s-1960s, undated
Series 4: Irish Materials, 1958-1999, undated
Series 5: American Designers, 1944-2000, undated
Series 6: European Designers and Textile Manufacturers, 1955-1997, undated
Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1962

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Virginia Wagoner Booth, known as Jimmie Booth, was born June 20, 1922 in Bronxville, New York, the daughter of John and Josephine Wagoner. She studied printing and engineering at Syracuse University. An engineer with Pratt & Whitney during World War II, she entered the fashion world as a bridal consultant at G. Fox in Hartford in 1945.
In 1952 Dorothy Shaver, of Lord & Taylor, hired Booth for the Hartford store and asked her to develop and manage The Country Clothes Shop in the 5th Avenue store in New York. There, Booth collaborated with and promoted such American designers as Clare Potter, Bonnie Cashin, and Claire McCardell. Booth also worked extensively with European designers.
Married to H. Robert Booth (Bob) Booth of Hillandale Handweavers, Jimmie promoted the use of both American and European hand-loomed fabrics by her designers. She frequently modeled the fashions herself. Her casual, yet elegant, style is the epitome of "the American Look" still popular today.
In 1998, Jimmie Booth, Dorothy Shaver, and other creators of The American Look were saluted in the exhibition, "Designing Women: American Style 1940-1960" at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
In addition to her design work, Booth was a violinist with the Hartford Symphony in the 1940s, and later became the chef at the Brooklyn, Connecticut, Golden Lamb Buttery, which she and her husband, H. Robert Booth (Bob), owned and operated. She died January 2011 at the age of eighty-nine in Hartford, Connecticut.

Administration
Author
Anne Jones and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Virginia "Jimmie" Booth, in May 2000.
Processing Information
Processed by Anne Jones, volunteer, 2003; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Preferred Citation
Virginia "Jimmie" Booth Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Dorothy Shaver Papers NMAH.AC0631
Carolyn and Donald Grepke Paper Doll Collection NMAH.AC0752
Estelle Ellis Collection NMAH.AC0423
Joseph Magnin Poster Collection NMAH.AC0355
Ming-Ju Sun Garfinckel's Fashion Drawings NMAH.AC0897
Henry Booth Collection, NMAH.AC0726
Priscilla of Boston Collection NMAH.AC0557
California Shop Records NMAH.AC0572
National Cotton Council of America Photographs and Films NMAH.AC01177
Division of Costume Audiovisual Collection NMAH.AC0801
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana NMAH.AC0060

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1940-1970 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Costume design Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lord & Taylor Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Potter, Clare Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McCardell, Claire Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davies, Donald Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives