The warm glow exuding from animated store windows never ceases to arouse a feeling of nostalgic comfort in many Americans during the frigid months of the holiday season. In “Holidays on Display,” Bird examines what makes these windows, along with lighting displays and parade floats, have such a strong appeal to consumers. He does this through a photographic and textual history of all aspects of the display world. The book tracks the evolution of the outdoor lighting, animated windows, and parade floats that fill the streets of America with “holiday spirit.” Bird’s seamless use of text and more than 100 never-before-seen images produces a vivid and telling history of emotionally stirring display.
The list of selected staff publications may be searched by keyword or author and can be sorted by year.
One of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution is a dollhouse. Sitting on the National Museum of American History's third floor is a five-story home donated to the museum by Faith Bradford, a Washington, D.C., librarian, who spent more than a half-century accumulating and constructing the 1,354 miniatures that fill its 23 intricately detailed rooms. When Bradford donated them to the museum in 1951, she wrote a lengthy manuscript describing the lives of its residents: Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll and their ten children, two visiting grandparents, twenty pets, and household staff. Bradford cataloged the Dolls' tastes, habits, and preferences in neatly typed household inventories, which she then bound, along with photographs and fabric samples, in a scrapbook. In America's Doll House, Smithsonian curator William L. Bird, Jr., weaves this visual material into the rich tapestry of Faith Bradford's miniature world. featuring vibrant color photography that brings every narrative detail to life, America's Doll House is both an incisive portrait of a sentimental pastime and a celebration of Bradford's remarkable and painstaking accomplishment.
Ensign George H. Gay, Jr. flew his TDB Devastator torpedo bomber into history on June 4, 1942 in the morning hours of the Battle of Midway. Gay piloted one of 15 torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) which took off from the carrier Hornet (CV8) to strike a blow against the Imperial Japanese Navy's Carrier Battle Group. Due to a variety of factors, VT-8 went in on its attack run unescorted. Japanese fighter planes shot down Gay and all of his compatriots, with Gay becoming the sole survivor of the attack. Although he and his unit failed to strike a blow, their sacrifice upset the delicate opeations of the Japanese carrier battle. Forced to maneuver and reverse course to doge the American torpedoes, the Japanese lost valuable time in launching and recovering aircraft. These delays thwarted strikes against the American carrier force and provided a critical window for American dive bombers to strike fatal blows against three of the four Japanese carriers. Gay witnessed the attacks while floating and concealed from Japanese view.
In an era where the Navy is facing contested seas from challenges posed by China and Russia, history can unlock potential advantages with which to meet current and future threats. Gathering and preserving its operational records, in essence data, is critical. Unfortunately, in terms of such historical records, the Navy is in the Digital Dark Age. It retains only limited data and is losing access to its recent history – knowledge purchased at considerable cost. The Department of Defense and the Navy must consider a cultural and institutional revival to collect and leverage their data for potential catalytic effects on innovation, strategic planning, and warfighting advantages. This cultural transformation of collecting and preserving historical data within the Navy will be a long process, but leveraging its history to meet current and future problems will aid in maintaining global maritime superiority.
Woodblocks were used to reproduce illustrations prepared in the field. The illustration for this woodblock was prepared on what is now referred to as Teddy Roosevelt Island on the Potomac River for the New York Illustrated News, ca 1863.
A history of the original U.S. Patent Office building and descriptions of a sampling of patent models now represented in the some 10,000 object collection of the National Museum of American History.
John I. Wells his life, inventions, and letters patent
This article discusses the Congressional and east coast print production and printing of the volumes describing the findings of the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-42).
A representation of the story surrounding the press pass printed by the Union Army of the Potomac and assigned to William Conant Church, of the New York Times, in 1862.
Fashion feathers and the part they played in American Conservation history. A short recap of the story told in the physical and virtual exhibit The Feather Trade and the American Conservation Movement, 1998, see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/feather/index.htm.
This article discusses the invention, use, and short-lived importance of the American Civil War portable printing press to the armies and navies of the Union and Confederate forces.
A short recap relating to portable printing presses used by Civil War units to produce orders, and other field documents such as the Appomattox parole.
This collection of original cast recordings includes book with historical essay and extensive annotations on each selection.
This 12-volume series is devoted to rare original cast recordings of musicals by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Sigmund Romberg.
This archival recording focuses on remastered 78’s made by Victor Recording Company artists in the 1920s and 1930s.
The earliest sound recordings of American musical theater artists is the focus for this recorded anthology.
The legacy of American songwriters is traced through this recording series with individual volumes devoted to Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Cy Coleman, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, George Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, E. Y. Harburg, Jerome Kern, Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Andy Razaf, Arthur Schwartz, Jule Styne, James Van Heusen, Fats Waller, Harry Warren, Kurt Weill, Richard Whiting, Alec Wilder, Vincent Youmans.
The history of the American musical is conveyed through 66 archival recordings of songs from stage and screen and textual annotation.
Cole Porter’s work for the international musical stage and screen is chronicled in 84 archival recordings and textual annotation.