Thursday, July 07, 2011

Do you call it a Library Print, a Bookshelf Pattern, or the Bookworm's Delight? The lack of established labeling conventions for these prints make searching for them difficult. I'd like to agree on library print.

This greyscale library print on rayon is the loveliest I have seen in quite some time. A library print must have other elements besides book spines and here we have some very active-looking statuettes (art deco ladies in crash helmets with arms akimbo)and some vases, but the real tour de force comes from the addition of the electric fan. The vintage radio too is a great touch, though more muted, its horizontal lines mirroring the stacking of books. But the fan in all its circularity is what elevates this print to greatness.

This terrific blouse is available for sale here, from Adrian Company Vintage, who has posted these pictures on Etsy. While the print is spectacular, and it appears to be a very wearable medium, over-sized 80's blouses can be difficult to wear. I'd pair it with a rather short skirt to elongate the silhouette widened by the boxy top. I'd be tempted to keep the rest of the ensemble greyscale as well.

I have long been looking for a library print book bag. This is a print that has been made into various bags.

This one was part of last summer's collection by WoodWood in Denmark. I like the placement of the print on this bag and how the vertical books move down along the body on the strap, but that style of bag is difficult for a short woman to wear (the long strap would leave the bag itself somewhere around my knees). The same print was also available last summer in a tote bag at the Morgan Library gift shop, which I keenly regret not snapping up when I had the chance. The closest I've been able to find in this photoprint of some book spines from Thomas Jefferson's Library.

While this bag is reasonably priced and available through the History Channel, of all places,and looks bookishly practical, nonetheless I don't believe in wearing novelty prints that one cannot vouch for or discuss coherently. U.S. History routinely fails to interest me and I often horrify the young Akhenaten with the gaps in my knowledge. Akhenaten, my young Egyptian paramour, can name more U.S. Presidents (and in chronological order) than I can. In order to comply with my own rule about standing by one's novelty prints, I'd have to visit the Library of Congress (the originator of this tote) and read a book or two about Thomas Jefferson just to keep from embarassing myself. And what if I am cornered on the subway by a Constitution enthusiast? For the love of Maude, isn't all of that a heavy trip to put on a tote bag?

Then I got to thinking about U.S. Presidential Libraries. Do they all have gift shops? Do they all put out tote bags? Have I hit a vein of Library Print items? Is this the motherlode?

Sadly, no. I was really hoping for a Nixon Presidential Memorial and Library Watergate Commerative tote bag, but there is no such animal. I would have settled for a Nixon in China tote, but Tricky Dick's library is one of the few without a gift shop. Most of the Presidential libraries are administered by NARA, National Archives and Records Administration. The gift shops are fairly standardized with pens and caps with the particular president's signature or a famous quote, a section for books by and about the president, and a kids section with model Airforce1 planes and tiny t-shirts that say "Future President". Perhaps a section with costume jewelry reproductions of pieces worn by the first lady. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum has the New Deal Store where you can pick up mugs commemorating 75 years of Social Security. There are also busts and sculptures of both FDR and Eleanor. But my favorite so far would have to be a 6 inch statue of FDR as the Sphinx. Apparently based on a caricature of FDR it must be seen to be believed.

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