Who could use an extra cup of coffee this morning?
Shapleigh Coffee Co. tin canister used in the Dietrich family in Santa Fe during the late 19th century. Established in 1796 in Boston, MA, the former Allen, Shapleigh, & Co. coffee manufacturer was well-known on the East Coast for their “mocha java” blend. While we’re not certain how this canister came to New Mexico – either via wagon train or on the rails – the Dietrichs may have used this canister to store other goods long after the Shapleigh coffee ran out.
This yellow, orange, and gray painted canister measures 19.75” high and 16.75” wide with a depth of 15.75.”
“Look Ma, no wheels!” Protection and conservation of objects are two of the most important duties of any museum, and the NMHM is no exception. Earlier this week we worked with Dept of Cultural Affairs’s Museum Resources Division staff Tim Jag, David Levine, and Angela Duckwall to remove the damaged wheels off of our early 20th century hearse. A couple of special, large sized wrenches and a few tugs later, all of the wheels were safely and carefully removed. The wheels will be sent out for conservation – new rubber! – so we can safely move the hearse in the future and ensure its public enjoyment for years to come.
Please look out for our wheel-less hearse as it remains on exhibit in our current show, Looking Back: Reflecting on Collections, on view in the Herzstein Gallery. Look out for a future post in the next couple of months when we reattach the newly-treated wheels. You can also check out the hearse with its wheels in place in the virtual version of Looking Back.
For more information on the Looking Back exhibit which examines the nature of collections and collecting, check out this curator talk with Alicia Romero and Hannah Abelbeck.
A black, alpaca wool jacket with velvet and rick-rack trim around the neckline and along the shoulders, c. 1904-1913. This object represents one type of merchandise sold in a general store on the plaza in Chimayo, NM that was owned by Victor Ortega and later his son, Ben. Victor Ortega was heavily involved in the community. He was also a notary public, a postmaster, participated in the 1st constitutional convention of NM and also acted as the director of the local school and served as a probate judge.
Read more about Victor Ortega in this Spring 2012 El Palacio article titled “Don Victor Ortega.“ NMHM/DCA 11731.45
Do any of you participate in sewing clubs or quilting bees?
This 1917-1918 undyed cotton muslin quilt was made by members of the Anniston So and Sew Club, as the center square reads. Constructed of 10” x 10” squares laid out in a diamond pattern, each square is embroidered with a club member’s name and date. Some squares have “Logan, NM” or “San Jon, NM” as well, noting the location of the So and Sew in Quay County. Both the seams where squares are joined and the squares themselves are embellished with multicolored embroidery. This piece is completely hand quilted and measures 71.5” x 85.5”.
Infant’s sunsuit or daysuit. This is a one piece garment with short sleeves, mother of pearl buttons and a scalloped collar. The outfit was worn by the donor on his first birthday, July 20th,1940. A sunsuit is an old-fashioned term for a child’s one-or-two piece suit of clothes usually consisting of shorts and sleeveless top that was worn in sunny weather but could also be used as a swimsuit. Sunsuits were usually clothing worn by toddler boys, as is the case with this outfit. NMHM/DCA 2010.13.1
Hewn wooden cross made for and used in the “Milagro Beanfield War” film (1988) directed by Robert Redford and shot in Truchas, NM. The inscription reads: “Miracle Valley Project, / Rest in Peace / El Brazo Onofre” and measures 35.5” high and 17.5” wide. Redford initially donated the piece to the Museum of International Folk Art before it was transferred to the History Museum.
A chair and step stool combination, c. 1870-1880. Most step stools, being utilitarian, are plain wood or metal, but this one is covered in beautiful needlepoint. Perhaps it was to prevent slipping? The item was said to have been brought to New Mexico over the Santa Fe Trail. The twill tape ties on the legs in the first photograph indicate to Collections staff that the chair comes apart at that point and to be careful when lifting the object.
Zozobra, a.k.a. Old Man Gloom, was first created by Santa Fe artist, Will Shuster, in 1924. The first public burning of Zozobra was held in a vacant lot behind the Santa Fe City Hall in Sept 3, 1926. Each year in early September, Old Man Gloom is burned to rid us of anguish, anxiety, and gloom, while commemorating the start of the Santa Fe Fiestas. Shuster’s creation first appeared in his backyard as a six-foot puppet. Over the years, Zozobra has grown to a monstrous fifty-foot high marionette.
Upon the reopening of the New Mexico History Museum, you can view the model of Zozobra on display in the exhibition “Looking Back.”
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, this year’s burning of Zozobra will be a no-crowd event held this evening at 8pm MDT. You can watch the burning on your television or go online at KOAT Channel 7, and at www.KOAT.com.
Swiss made, hunter case, key wind pocket watch, c. 1850-1890. Manufactured by Moulinie, Geneva, possibly Moulinie and Legrandroy. The pocket watch has an 18 K gold case with blue enameled front and back, and seed pearl decoration. Full jeweled works on the interior. The original owner of this pocket watch was a woman and so the watch has been identified as a woman’s watch, but for the most part pocket watches were not made specifically for men or for women. However, women usually gravitated toward the smaller sized pocket watches. This one is small at 1 ½” in diameter. This pocket watch can be seen on exhibit in Telling New Mexico. NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b
In 1907, children roller skating on sidewalks became a huge issue for the people of Las Vegas, NM. It even sparked debate in the city council.
One letter writer to the Las Vegas Daily Optic asked, “If the children roller skate, why do they do any more harm than the baby buggies and go-carts? Why not make the women go out in the street and wheel their babies there? And I wonder if the mayor and the city council were ever children. And why don’t New York, Chicago and St. Louis, Kansas City and even Albuquerque make them stop skating? Because they like to see the children have fun, and why don’t Las Vegas?”
Another citizen wrote that “It must be a pretty, crusty old curmudgeon who would seek to prevent the harmless amusement the children have been extracting from roller skating.”
Surely, these late 19th century Smith & Griggs Manufacturing Co. roller skates, made of metal, wood, and cast iron, saw many good times on the feet of Josefita “Pepe” Manderfield when she was a child in Santa Fe.