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Subseries 1.1 contains letters from German and American museum curators and professors recommending Culin's appointment at the University of Pennsylvania.
Subseries 1.2 focuses on Culin's work as an ethnologist, and includes letters directly related to collecting or the profession itself, with some mention of his personal or social life. Correspondence documents Culin's association with The Brooklyn Museum, as well as dealings with collectors and curators. Important correspondents include George Dorsey (Field Columbian Museum), Thomas Keam (collector and trader of Native American objects), Charles H. Read (British Museum), artist Thomas Eakins, Franklin W.Hooper (Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences), and John Wanamaker.
Subseries 1.3 consists of a letter press book containing Culin's outgoing correspondence during his first four years at The Brooklyn Museum, and relating primarily to museum business and the collection of Native American materials in the Southwest. Franklin W. Hooper, Director of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, is the primary correspondent. Other important correspondents include Alfred G. Mayer (Curator-in-Chief, The Brooklyn Museum), George Dorsey (Field Columbian Museum), and Andrew Vanderwagen (a trader in Native American objects).
Subseries 1.4 is a large and diverse collection of materials detailing Culin's daily museum, professional, scholarly, and personal activities. This wide-ranging correspondence deals with the acquisition, interpretation, and display of artifacts, as well as documentation of museum administrative matters.
Purchases and gifts to The Brooklyn Museum, loans to other institutions and department stores, activities of the Museum Governing Committee, and major installations such as the Rainbow House (1925-26) and exhibitions such as "Primitive Negro Art" (1923) are documented in correspondence with directors, trustees and Culin's colleagues at the Museum, including Frank Babbott, Edward Blum, and Walter Crittenden (trustees), and William Henry Fox (Director).
Purchases and donations to The Brooklyn Museum are further documented in correspondence with professional dealers, collectors, and missionaries, including William O. Oldman, Edwart Barrett, Wise & Company, Yamanaka & Company, and Hassan Khan Monif (Persian Antique Gallery, New York).
Primary correspondents among museum professionals include: Louis Clarke (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology); John deVegh (National Museum of Applied Art, Budapest); Berthold Laufer (Field Columbian Museum, Chicago); Charles Lummis (Southwest Museum), Albert A. von le Coq (German ethnologist and archaeologist), as well as directors and curators at the British Museum; Commercial Museum, Philadelphia; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Culin supplied study pieces for design institutes and manufacturers, and arranged for loans of exhibition material to department stores; particularly significant is the "Primitive Negro Art" exhibition (1923), where textile patterns created from museum objects were used in the creation of new lines of textiles and clothing. Correspondents include representatives of Aaron & Company; Abraham & Straus; Arditti & Sons; Blanck & Company; Bonwit Teller; Lord & Taylor; Macy & Company; A. Namm & Sons; Wanamaker Company; Edward L. Mayer & Company; and Pratt Institute.
Correspondence with Frederic B. Pratt (President) and William Longyear (Professor, School of Fine Arts), reflect the Museum's relationship with Pratt Institute, including having students study at and display their work at the Museum; Pratt's purchase of objects that Culin wanted to acquire for the Museum; and Culin's assistance in arranging exhibitions at Pratt, including "German Textiles" (1924).
In Culin's extensive correspondence with M. D. C. Crawford (editor, Women's Wear), many subjects are considered: the International Congess of Americanists; the International Silk Exposition; department stores; the "Primitive Negro Art" exhibition; development for a study room for designers; textiles; museum acquisitions; the Pratt Peasant Costume exhibition (1924); the Rainbow House; Culin's "Road to Beauty" manuscript; the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial (1926); the "History of the Blouse" exhibition at the United States Waist League (1922); object loans; and Crawford's books, "The Heritage of Cotton" (1924), and "The History of Silk" (1925). Culin's collaboration with Crawford provided the foundation for the Museum's Industrial Division (1935-46), and Design Laboratory (founded 1947).
Culin's professional relationships with designers are revealed in correspondence with artist Ruth Reeves, accompanied by clippings of her lectures and fashion designs, which were reproduced in Women's Wear illustrations. Culin also corresponded with Elizabeth Alexander (Arden Gallery), Lee Simonson (Theatre Guild), the Neighborhood Playhouse about loans for performances and exhibitions, and with the Art Alliance on the subject of art competitions.
Correspondence with John deVegh, Director of the National Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, offers a portrait of Hungary recovering from World War I. Correspondence with Charles Winter of the Hungarian Consulate, Walter T. Swingle (United States Department of Agriculture, and editor of the Hungarian newspaper Szabadsay), and Anna Igumnova provide additional views of life in eastern Europe at that time.
A large collection of clippings includes many "Design Department" and "Romance of Merchandise" columns from Women's Wear, some with Culin's byline; clippings documenting the effect of Brooklyn Museum exhibitions and programs on the general population, the textile manufacturers, and museum community in general; reviews and synopses of Culin's lectures and exhibitions; articles on topics such as Asia, games, clothing and textiles; and obituaries.
Culin's lectures at various institutions are documented in clippings and correspondence. Lectures at The Brooklyn Museum on topics such as divination and fortune telling, dolls, and games are similarly chronicled.
Also included are photographs related to or attached to correspondence, and an extensive collection of ephemeral material, including announcements, flyers, catalogs, invitations, notices, holiday cards, business and calling cards, loan forms, invoices, booklets, sketches, press releases, notes, receipts, and labels.
- Collectors and collecting -- United States.
- Costume design.
- Department stores -- United States.
- Ethnological museums and collections.
- Ethnology -- North America.
- Hungary -- Politics and government -- 1918-1945.
- Hungary -- Public opinion.
- Hungary -- Social life and customs -- 1918-1945.
- Indians of North America -- Museums.
- Museums -- Acquisitions.
- Museums -- Educational aspects.
- Textile design -- United States.
- Collectors and collecting.
- Department stores.
- Manners and customs.
- Political science.
- Public opinion.
- Textile design.
- North America.
- United States.