Correspondence,
1972-1974

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 519
Creators:
National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Costume and Furnishings
Dates:
1972-1974
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These records chiefly consist of curatorial responses to public inquiries. Included is correspondence from private collectors, museum curators, clothing manufacturers, college professors, historical associations, and individuals.

Historical Note
Historical Note
For an administrative history of the furnishings component of the Division of Costume and Furnishings prior to 1969, see Record Unit 261.
In 1883 a Section of Costumes was established under the Department of Arts and Industries, Division of Anthropology, United States National Museum (USNM), but was abolished in 1884. Costume collections subsequently were curated by the Section of Historical Relics and its various successors through to the Division of History, under the direction of A. Howard Clark until 1918 and Theodore T. Belote, 1919-1948. Otis T. Mason of the Department (later, Division) of Ethnology aided Clark with costumes of ethnological importance.
The Period Costume Collection was established in 1911 and featured a series of dresses worn by former First Ladies. Collector and donor Mrs. Julian James and Walter Hough, Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology, acted as co-supervisors. When Mrs. James died in 1922, Belote curated the collections. Upon its formation in 1943, the Civil Section of the Division of History assumed responsibility for the costume collections. Until 1969, they remained under that Section and its various successors through to the Division of Political History, Section of American Costume. Curators Margaret Klapthor and Anne W. Murray were chiefly concerned with costumes, establishing the First Ladies Hall and the Hall of American Costume during these years. For additional details on the history of the Section under the Division of Political History, see Record Unit 252.
When the Museum was reorganized in 1969, the new Division of Costume and Furnishings and the existing Division of Political History each curated portions of the costume collections. Staff for the new Division was assembled from the Divisions of Cultural History (now defunct) and Political History. Rodris C. Roth served as Associate Curator (chiefly furnishings), 1969-1971, and Curator, 1972- , and Claudia B. Kidwell as Assistant Curator (chiefly costume), 1969- . Murray continued as Curator Emerita, 1969- .
Research of the Division of Costume and Furnishings primarily focused on the history of clothing and household objects in America with emphasis on the industrial period. It studied how changing economic, social, and technological factors affected the clothing and appearance of Americans. In addition, the Division was concerned with documenting and interpreting everyday wares used in the home, and the activities surrounding them. The Division staff and their predecessors collected a wide range of artifacts for study including clothing of men, women and children; jewelry; military and diplomatic uniforms; heating and lighting devices; clothing and gowns of Presidents and First Ladies; metal, synthetic and wooden wares; theatrical garments; furniture and accessories; household appliances; working class apparel; and architectural elements.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 519, National Museum of History and Technology. Division of Costume and Furnishings, Correspondence

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Clark, A. Howard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Belote, Theodore T. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mason, Otis Tufton, 1838-1908 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
James, Julien, Mrs. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hough, Walter, 1859-1935 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Klapthor, Margaret Brown Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Murray, Anne Wood Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Roth, Rodris Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kidwell, Claudia Brush Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Section of Costumes Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Department of Arts and Industries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Section of Historical Relics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Division of Ethnology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Period Costume Collection Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Department of Anthropology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Political History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Section of American Costume Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). First Ladies Hall Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.) Hall of American Costume Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Cultural History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Political History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
House furnishings Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Costume -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Public relations Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum curators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women museum curators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu