Family & Social Life
Donations to the Museum have preserved irreplaceable evidence about generations of ordinary Americans. Objects from the Copp household of Stonington, Connecticut, include many items used by a single family from 1740 to 1850. Other donations have brought treasured family artifacts from jewelry to prom gowns. These gifts and many others are all part of the Museum's family and social life collections.
Children's books and Sunday school lessons, tea sets and family portraits also mark the connections between members of a family and between families and the larger society. Prints, advertisements, and artifacts offer nostalgic or idealized images of family life and society in times past. And the collections include a few modern conveniences that have had profound effects on American families and social life, such as televisions, video games, and personal computers.
"Family & Social Life - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Cherished by generations of child artists, Crayola crayons were invented in 1903 by the Binney & Smith Company of Easton, Pennsylvania. Using paraffin wax and nontoxic pigments, the company produced a coloring stick that was safe, sturdy, and affordable. The name "Crayola," coined by the wife of the company's founder, comes from "craie," French for "chalk," and "oleaginous," or "oily."
- This Crayola set for "young artists" was one of the earliest produced. Its twenty-eight colors include celestial blue, golden ochre, rose pink, and burnt sienna. The box is marked, "No. 51, Young Artists Drawing Crayons, for coloring Maps, Pictures" and contains twenty two of the original 28 crayons. The rear of the box depicts a girl coloring a piece of art on an easel and lists the crayon colors contained in the box. Both the packaging and the color names and crayon colors change over time reflecting social and cultural trends. Crayons are icons of American childhood that recall our collective memory for coloring both inside and outside the lines. Affordable and easily obtainable, they have transformed art education and fostered creativity in schools and homes, providing color to children for generations.
- Date made
- Binney and Smith
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center