NYC 2019

We survived the polar vortex in Minnesota, with only one frozen pipe (and a no-doubt expensive plumber visit).

On day one of my annual trip to NYC (when my husband has a conference), I spent the afternoon at the New York Public Library doing research on the exhibits of Frida Hansen’s tapestries in the U.S.  Ideally, I want to FIND the missing “Southward” tapestry, described in this Norwegian Textile Letter article, “Frida Hansen: Will We Ever See her Woven Swans and Maidens?” My second hope is that I may find a wonderful photograph, or additional interesting descriptions.

NYPL lion on a non-operating drinking fountain

Working at the NYPL made me ridiculously happy (Mecca for a librarian).  I didn’t find anything mind-blowing, but thoroughly enjoyed paging materials and leafing through dangerously crumbling early 20th century books. To request an off-site book, I had to get a temporary library card. “I could hardly be having any more fun,” I mused as I walked back to my table in the Art and Architecture Room, reserved for patrons doing research with materials in that room–that’s me!

Berthea Aske Bergh displayed Frida Hansen tapestries in 1907 at the Second Annual Exhibition of the National Society of Craftsmen, in the galleries of the National Arts Club on Gramercy Square, so I checked the Bulletin of the National Arts Club to see what I could find. There was almost nothing in the falling-apart bulletin, just the sentence, “It is interesting to contrast the wonderful modern tapestries of Madame Hensen of Norway with the beautiful sixteenth-cen-…. (and then the rest of that sentence has fallen away from the next page).

I leafed through the rest of the Bulletin, and was struck by a diatribe against female members of the National Arts Club on the last two pages, including: “American women–especially young and pretty ones–live in an atmosphere of assent and adulation, which they mistake for the results of their own intellectual capacity and genius.  This is not altogether the fault of the women.  Their selfishness and self-importance and bee carefully cultivated. The first step in the direction of reform is to destroy the pernicious faith of our women members in their own importance. They are not a bit more important than the men. If every woman in the club were shot to-morrow, there would remain in the world dozens of kind, noble, and affectionate true sisters, wives, and mothers.”

I’ll return for more library adventures on Tuesday.

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