Tools of communication have transformed American society time and again over the past two centuries. The Museum has preserved many instruments of these changes, from printing presses to personal digital assistants.
The collections include hundreds of artifacts from the printing trade and related fields, including papermaking equipment, wood and metal type collections, bookbinding tools, and typesetting machines. Benjamin Franklin is said to have used one of the printing presses in the collection in 1726.
More than 7,000 objects chart the evolution of electronic communications, including the original telegraph of Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell's early telephones. Radios, televisions, tape recorders, and the tools of the computer age are part of the collections, along with wireless phones and a satellite tracking system.
"Communications - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Stephen Ferris etched Home of Mariano, Gypsy King in Granada, Spain, during his 1881 visit to sites associated with Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish artist he deeply admired. In a letter from Granada to art editor Sylvester R. Koehler, Ferris told of his fascination with gypsy cave dwellings. He described them as “most picturesque and weird, overgrown with vines, cactus, and aloes . . . . I have made several drawings of Gitanos [gypsy] caves and of one especially a favorite model of Fortunys [sic] a Gitano prince in splendid costume. We bought his dress and I intend to paint and etch my picture when I get time.” Ferris etched the gypsy’s portrait in costume separately and included it, slightly altered, on the right in this print showing the family and animals assembled in front of their cave. Ferris noted in pencil on the print that it was etched directly from life.
- Gypsies or gitanos still live in caves in the Sacromonte(Holy Mountain) area of Granada. Today the number of cave dwellers has dwindled, but the area remains famous for flamenco singing and dancing.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- graphic artist
- Ferris, Stephen James
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center