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.
Spanish Playing Cards, late 1800s This deck of Spanish playing cards was donated to the New Mexico History Museum by Josefita Manderfield Otero.
Originally of Chinese origin, playing cards were adopted in Mamluk Egypt by the 14th century and then spread to the Iberian Peninsula in the latter part of that century. By 1380 naipero (card-maker), was a recognized profession. The four suits are bastos (clubs), oros (gold coins), copas (cups), and espadas (swords). Spanish suited cards are used in Spain, Southern Italy, France, Latin America, North Africa and the Philippines. Unlike the suits found in Northern Italy, the swords on Spanish cards are straight, and the clubs are knotty instead of being depicted as ceremonial batons. Several of the cards from this deck can be seen in the History Museum’s exhibition, Telling New Mexico.
Shave permit pins from the Teddy Roosevelt Centennial celebrations in Las Vegas, NM (1958), and a shave permit from the Clovis, NM 50th anniversary celebration, 1957. Shaving permit pins such as these were sold as a way to raise money for centennial or anniversary celebrations in many towns across the country. As part of the fundraising effort, citizens could register for a beard-growing contest. If someone did not want to participate in the contest, they could purchase a “shave permit.” This jokingly gave one “permission to shave.” The proceeds from the sale of the permits and registration fees for the contests were put towards the town’s celebration fund. Why a beard-growing contest? Often, the Brothers of the Brush would spearhead the fundraising efforts. This organization got its name because they sought to emulate the towns’ founders. Many of the towns were founded in the Victorian period when beards and mustaches were in vogue. The Brothers of the Brush decided to capitalize on this look and encouraged beard-growing as a way to raise money. NMHM/DCA 11501.45 and 2014.53.159
A 19th century measuring box known as a media fanega (or a half fanega). It is made of milled pine and enforced with metal strips, and has a leather handle. A fanega was an old Spanish unit of measurement usually used to measure grains. The measure varied from region to region in the Spanish-speaking Americas. This object is just one of approximately 16,000 objects in the history museum’s collections. These objects are not just used for exhibit, but are often used for research.
Recently, a scholar studying the different Spanish units of measurement requested dimensions of several of these measuring units. From these internal dimensions, he calculated this media fanega at 2,428.3 cubic inches. His research calculates that an official standard set by the 1852 New Mexico territorial legislature for the unit measurement of the media fanega was 2,476.25 cubic inches. Thus, he determined that of all the media fanegas in the museum’s collection from that time period, this media fanega was the closest to that official measurement.
The collections staff thanks all the scholars and researchers who continue to provide extended knowledge to our object records.