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Handkerchief (USA)

This is a Handkerchief. It is dated 1939 and we acquired it in 1939. Its medium is silk and its technique is screen printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The 1939 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens was themed the ‘World of Tomorrow.’ Visitors came away with visions of radio-controlled highways, mechanical milking machines, and the 7-foot-tall Westinghouse robot. Many also left with Fair memorabilia, from the pins given away at the Futurama exhibition that read ‘I have seen the future,’ to more costly souvenirs, such as silver spoons, porcelain dishes, and the silk handkerchief featured here.

Printed in orange, green, and brown on a yellow ground, this handkerchief illustrates several of the Fair’s most celebrated structures. On the left is the Fountain Lake Amphitheatre, and on the right is the famous Heinz dome. In the central medallion are the 610-foot tall Trylon and 200-foot wide Perisphere, an exhibition building that housed a model city designed by Henry Dreyfuss. These structures formed the focal point of the fair’s central promenade, and were reproduced by the millions on Fair memorabilia.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled A Souvenir from the Fair.

This object was donated by Unknown. It is credited Gift of Anonymous Donor.

  • Drawing, Design for Sportshack
  • brush and gouache, black ink, airbrush over stencil, graphite on illustration....
  • Gift of Donald Deskey.
  • 1988-101-1515
  • Design Fictions
  • digital print.
  • New York World’s Fair, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York....
  • MOBILITY.038

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

  • Book, Futurama, 1939
  • offset lithograph on paper.
  • Smithsonian Libraries, T785 K1G32 1939.
  • 113.2018.2

Its dimensions are

H x W: 48.3 x 49.8 cm (19 x 19 5/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Licensed by World's Fair Corp. Made in U.S.A.

Cite this object as

Handkerchief (USA); silk; H x W: 48.3 x 49.8 cm (19 x 19 5/8 in.); Gift of Anonymous Donor; 1939-18-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Handkerchief (USA) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>