Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Dress, Worn by Elizabeth Parke Firestone, 1950 (Object ID: 92.263.43)

Elizabeth Parke Firestone (1897-1990) was destined to develop a refined sense of fashion. Born the daughter of a wealthy Decatur, Ill., businessman, she was given the opportunity to study in Europe in her mid-teens. Through this adventure she developed a deep appreciation for French culture, particularly French decorative arts. She also nurtured a lifelong love of dancing, which influenced not only her fashion sense but her choice of spouse.

Elizabeth met Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., at a dance. Their 1921 wedding was the union of two well-established business families, and their celebration was the most lavish Decatur had ever seen. It began a 52-year marriage, during which the couple raised four children at "Twin Oaks," their Akron, Ohio, home. They also maintained homes in New York City and Newport, R.I.

Elizabeth's background prepared her well for her role of representing her husband and family in the most influential business and social circles of the time. She joined her husband on business trips, traveling the United States, Europe and Asia throughout their marriage. She looked to both the New York and Paris fashion scenes to find couturiers who met her style standards, then worked through both correspondence and visits to modify their designs to fit her best features.

Evening Dress, Worn by Elizabeth Parke Firestone, 1947

Elizabeth was meticulous about her looks, leaving no detail unattended. Her fair skin became radiant when she wore pinks and blues, and most of her clothing can be found in variations of these shades. Multiple matching gloves, shoes, purses and hats were commissioned for each outfit, so that replacements would be readily available in case of damage.

Trim, blonde and blue-eyed, Elizabeth looked stunning in designer gowns and was frequently photographed for fashion and society magazines. Well into her 50s her fashions were the talk of society, and her style-both classy and classic-was frequently noted in the press. In the 1950s she was named one of the "Best Dressed Women in the World" by the Couture Group of the New York Dress Institute along with the Duchess of Windsor and Hollywood actresses including Olivia de Havilland.

Prior to her death, Elizabeth and her family realized that the clothing she owned offered a rich and sweeping view of fashion history to future generations, and a large segment of her wardrobe was donated to The Henry Ford. Today that collection includes more than 1,000 dresses, shoes, gloves and other accessories, from early home-sewn creations including her wedding dress to custom-made American and European designer fashions. Each dress is truly a work of art, crafted by inventive couturiers for a patron who not only collaborated on the result, but well understood the contribution each made to the life of her family and the society of the day.

fashion, vintage dresses, vintage fashion

Mechanical ValentineThis time of year I feel so nostalgic about activities surrounding Valentine's Day! I fondly recall making cards for my mother on construction paper by coloring with crayons. Many looked a lot like this one in the museum's collections.

I also have many happy memories of exchanging cards with my classmates in elementary school, especially cutouts featuring kids or animals.

Take a look at this Cutout Valentine, "The Flags Spell 'Come Back to Me' Because I'm Lonely as You Can See," 1945. A mechanical card with two pieces hinged together so that the boat can rock from side to side. It was a gift to the museum from Mrs. Harvey Firestone, Jr. (Elizabeth Parke Firestone) and came in with the archival collection, Firestone Family Papers.

Valentine, "Bank of True Love," circa 1852. Richard Marsh of 374 Pearl St., New York City printed this Valentine in the form of a promissory note. It shows a view of lovers seated in a garden at the top and Cupid on the right with the text, "State of Matrimony." ID THF99107 / 89.0.540.683.


Cutout Valentine, "Radio Me and I'll Radio You," circa 1920. A mechanical card with moving arms and heads shows a girl and a boy with radio sets sending messages to each other. It is signed on the back, "Llewellynne From Aunt Ida." ID THF99109 / 89.72.1


Three-Dimensional Valentine, "To Greet My Love," circa 1910. Card opens out completely to form a tissue bell. It is signed on the back, "From Dufur to Eva Lena." ID THF99115 / 90.234.19.


This year I searched our collections for more selections of valentines and found some surprises. I happened to find several which struck me as a quite unique. One is designed to look like a promissory note, picture above, from a bank in the 1850s. Another is a cutout card featuring kids playing with radio equipment in the 1920s - then the latest technology! The third example is a card that folds out to form an elaborate 3D tissue bell.

Photographic print, Girls' Club Valentine Dance and Ford Plant Engineering Party, Dearborn, Michigan, February 14, 1947. Joseph Farkas was the Ford Motor Company photographer. ID THF99127 / P.833.83934.2.


Cabinet photograph, Cyclist Eugene Valentine with Bicycle and Medals, 1887. It was photographed by J. Wood of 208 Bowery, New York City. Signed on the back "Yours truly, Eugene Valentine, Dec 29, 1887." ID THF206673 / 86.18.48.1

Then I came across this photo of a Valentine's Day Party. It is identified as a Girls' Club Valentine Dance, but they look like ladies and a gentleman to me. The room is decorated with crepe paper streamers and a large heart-shaped doorway. The sign above the doorway reads, "Kiss Me!"

My searches also came up with a man named Eugene Valentine. Once I saw this I realized that Valentine is indeed a last name, not just a romantic holiday. The name is from the Latin "Valentinus" based on "valere," meaning to be strong. In the British Isles, it has been recorded from medieval times as a first and then a last name with many different spellings, including Valentyn, Vallentine, and Valentine.

I also found a business named Valentine-Souvenir Company of New York City. There are several dozen postcards made by this company in our collections, but not one is a Valentine card. It turns out this company was formed from several later mergers of the founding company started by John Valentine of Dundee, Scotland, in 1825. The original Valentine Company made lithograph prints before starting to produce postcards in 1896. From 1914 to 1923 the Valentine-Souvenir Company of New York City printed postcards using the letterpress halftone color printing process.

Postcard - "Band Stand over Lagoon, Belle Isle, Detroit, Mich.," circa 1915, Valentine-Souvenir Co. ID THF99105 / 87.9.23.50


I think that any search for Valentine's Day cards needs to include heart shapes as a design motif. In addition to the cards, I expected to find jewelry, dishes and quilts to have heart motifs, but here's something unexpected: a forerunner of the bicycle made with heart shapes cut out of the wooden wheels.

Velocipede, Draisine, attributed to a German maker, circa 1818. German Baron Karl von Drais invented the Draisine in 1817. Operators of this human-powered vehicle sat astride the wooden rail and pushed off with their feet. This early velocipede or hobby horse can be said to be the first bicycle. THF108100 / 32.161.1


What would Valentine's Day be without a box of chocolates? This 1950s magazine advertisement says it all. Happy Valentine's Day!

Whitman's Chocolates Advertisement, "Who Says Men Don't Understand Women?" It was published February 9, 1957, probably in Saturday Evening Post. ID THF99119 / 2008.61.4.


Cynthia Read Miller, Curator of Photographs and Prints, is continually fascinated with the museum’s over one million historical graphics.

valentine cards, valentines

The Henry Ford, like many cultural institutions, has been working on digitizing its collections—i.e., photographing and describing them, and making this information available online. While what we have completed is only a drop in the bucket given the vastness of our collections (25 million archival documents and photographs, and 1 million objects), we have made a lot of progress this year and wanted to share what we’ve accomplished.

There are two big projects we took on this year (in addition to many smaller ones). The first was digitization of 250 objects in support of the mobile version of our website. This included adding photographs and descriptions for the many Greenfield Village buildings—for example, check out the Menlo Park Laboratory, the Daggett Farmhouse, the Armington & Sims Machine Shop, and even the Firestone Farm Chicken Shed.

In Henry Ford Museum, we photographed and described objects from each of the permanent exhibits that we considered “can’t miss” artifacts. You’ll see some things you might expect, like the Wienermobile, the Dymaxion House, and the Rosa Parks bus, but have you ever gotten to see some of our lesser-known treasures, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt’s rocking chair, a Brownie camera, flintlock pistols, and a Paul Revere coffeepot?.

Evening Dress Made by Peggy Hoyt for Elizabeth Parke Firestone, 1928

The second big project for 2012 was creation of our Curators’ Choice lists. We asked our curators to select the 25 most important objects in our collections in each of 7 categories. (Henry Ford got 50, because, well, his name is on our door—and because 2013 will mark his 150th birthday.) There were three criteria the curators used for their selections: national significance, uniqueness to our institution, and resonance to museum visitors. It tells you a bit about the scope and import of our collections that many of these significant items are not on display—but you can now view them all online. They range from a massive cable strander to a tiny scrap of a poem, from a 17th century horse racing trophy to a 1990s cell phone, from an elegant evening dress

Lincoln Logs, circa 1960 (Object ID 90.365.13)

In addition to these two major projects, we also spent 2012 digitizing selections from throughout our collections, many with ties to current exhibits and events. Have you seen our visiting LEGO® exhibit and want more? Check out our digital collection of building toys. Did you make it out to Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village or Holiday Nights? Take a look at some of the vintage greeting cards that help inspire our décor for these events. Were you able to participate in some of our special weekend muster events? Learn more about our collections relating to the War of 1812 or the American Civil War—you may have seen some of these objects on display during your visit!

In addition to the above, we have digitized selections from the following areas of our collections for your immediate browsing pleasure.

From our transportation collections, you can review the Morgan Gies collection, wonderful lantern slides from the early 20th century New York to Paris and New York to Seattle races, and classic design drawings from Bill Mitchell and Virgil Exner.

Circus Trapeze Artist, circa 1890 (Object ID 87.18.70.2)

If you prefer paper-based artifacts, you might take a look at our digital cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, and trade cards. These provide a glimpse of many aspects of 19th century life.

Henry Ford as a Small Child Being Shown a Bird's Nest by his Family, Painted by Irving Bacon, 1936 (Object ID 00.28.17)

If you are interested in the historical figures who helped shape American history, try our digital collections relating to designer Don Chadwick, racecar driver Lyn St. James, agricultural pioneer George Washington Carver, and a vastly expanded selection of artifacts related to Henry Ford. We also have a variety of personal documents from notables including Abraham Lincoln, Aaron Burr, George Washington, Mark Twain, and Alexander Graham Bell. Read their own words in their own hand from the comfort of your home!

Hammond Typewriter, Model No. 2, 1895-1900 (Object ID 37.154.2)

But wait, there’s more! Check out quilts, coverlets, stoves, telephones, lunchboxes, patent models, steam engines, toys, typewriters, and violins, as well as many objects from our World’s Fair and agricultural collections.

Phew.

In total, with all of the above objects digitized (and, believe it or not, many more I did not mention), we added about 8,000 new objects to our collections site in 2012! Still, we have much, much more to do. We are still in the process of putting our 2013 list together, but we know we will be tackling areas of our collections related to agricultural, industrial, and technological innovations, as well as automobile racing. In addition, we’ll continue digitizing collections objects to bring some context to several 2013 milestones: the 150th birthday of Henry Ford, the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks, and the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death.

The single biggest reason we have embarked on this massive digitization project is to provide easy public access to our collections, the vast majority of which are not on display. As we reflect on our efforts last year, I and everyone on our digitization team hope that you are finding our digital collections as fascinating, enjoyable, and informative as we are. If there are areas of our collection you would like to see us digitize in 2013, please let us know in the comments below or via our Facebook page.

Ellice Engdahl, Digital Collections Initiative Manager at The Henry Ford, is very excited by the digitization promise of 2013.

archives, artifacts, digital artifacts

This Saturday, Dec. 15, marks what would have been artist and designer Ray Eames' 100th birthday. Design is an important topic at The Henry Ford, so over the next few days we're pleased to share a few posts dedicated to Ray's spirit and contribution to the Eames design name.

Posting with us today is Cheryl Oz of Cheryl Oz Designs, a metro Detroit illustrator and designer. Cheryl is a past Maker Faire Detroit participant and recipient of an Editor's Choice Award. - Lish Dorset

I studied design and advertising at the College for Creative Studies. During an art history class, I was introduced to the work of Charles and Ray Eames and from that point on I never looked at art and design the same way again.

At the time I knew very little about the designers, so what I loved the most was what I saw in their work. I loved the clean lines, color choices and movement in their pieces. Their furniture was so different from the furniture I grew up with in my family's home.

From that point on I feel like my work has been influenced by the Eames aesthetics. It wasn't until years later when I decided to start focusing more on illustration, that I then remembered how inspired I was by the Eames duo and imagined others most likely were, too.

I have always been inspired by everyday things. I loved the notion that when the first Eames chair was in the production process, it was meant to be a mass-produced, affordable chair that anyone could own. I like to think of my artwork in the same manner. I feel that everyone should be able to afford art that they love for their home. Surely, I thought there were other people that felt the same way that I do, and still wanted a bit of Eames in their home, so I started painting a few of my favorite pieces of their furniture.

Besides being a painter, Ray was the woman behind the scenes who gave insightful input to her husband Charles, who appreciated her talents and held her opinions in high regard. Her input was almost unheard of for a woman of her time. She had an incredible sense of color and with Charles, they both led a colorful life in their amazing world of art and design.

Happy 100th birthday, Ray!

Eames

Image ID THF208776

One of the great pleasures of being archivist at The Henry Ford is the continuing ability to receive interesting collections and to meet the donors. One such person was Edward Gies, who called to ask if we would be interested in some photographs of presidential vehicles. Since we have a number of presidential vehicles in our collection, but not a large amount of support material, I said I certainly was. He said he and his wife were planning a trip to the museum and he would bring the material along. When Mr. Gies arrived, he brought a small but very rich collection not only of photographs but also of ceremonial flags that had flown on a number of our vehicles.

What made the experience even more exciting was to discover that the collection had been gathered by Mr. Gies’ father, Morgan Gies. Morgan Gies was a member of the United States Secret Service and the man in charge of the White House vehicles. He held that position for 27 years, serving five presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson. In addition to overseeing the White House fleet, he was often the driver of the presidential vehicle or the backup car.

Morgan Gies designed the special ramps that allowed presidential vehicles to be transported quickly and efficiently by air to distant locations.

ID THF208770

The 1950 Lincoln Bubbletop when then Princess Elizabeth visited the United States in 1951. She is seated next to President Truman and Morgan Gies is the driver. Elizabeth was crowned Queen two years later in 1953.

The donation also contained three American flags and two ceremonial flags flown on the front of presidential vehicles: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (1882-1945) Sunshine Special, Dwight David Eisenhower’s (1890-1969) Bubbletop, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s (1917-1963) 1961 Lincoln, all of which are in The Henry Ford’s collection. Other special flags include one for Princess Elizabeth (before she was Queen) flown on the Bubbletop and a special flag for Pakistan that was flown on the Bubbletop when President Eisenhower visited that country while on an eleven nation trip through Europe, Africa and Asia.

Presidential Limo

Image ID THF208758

Presidential Limo

Image ID THF208764

The Ferdinand Magellan rail car was named after the famous explorer. It was identified as U.S Car No.1 and was used by presidents from 1943 to 1958. A custom built wheel chair elevator was installed to lift President Roosevelt up onto the rear platform of the car. The elevator was removed after Roosevelt’s death in 1945.

The two queens mentioned above are not individuals but the two backup cars used in parades. They were named after the two luxurious ocean liners of the era. At that time the President’s car was the Sunshine Special, named so because the top folded down to allow the President to enjoy the sun and open air.

Image ID THF208824

The Morgan L. Gies presidential vehicles photographs collection has been cataloged and most of it has been digitized, too. You can browse the collection online or come in to the Benson Ford Research Center reading room to look at it in person.

Terry Hoover is the Chief Archivist at The Henry Ford.

limousines, presidential limousines

Growing Up LEGO

November 2, 2012 Archive Insight

It seems like LEGO has been a part of my life since as far back as I can remember. What started as a few simple sets, like this basic building set from the collections of The Henry Ford, from friends and family has turned into hundreds of boxes sprawled over a customized workshop in my own house.

I was always good at entertaining myself as a child and took to LEGO early. The collection was initially stored in a small tub, but eventually graduated to a chest of drawers. I removed my clothes and found a less suitable storage solution for them. LEGO was far more important and this allowed me to hover over the drawers and build my creations on top of my dresser.

My parents somehow put up with this and continued to feed the obsession. Before I out grew my bunk beds, they were an ideal surface to create towns, space campus or medieval battlefields. I have a pretty strong imagination and LEGO helped grow and develop it.

To this day, when asked what I would like for Christmas, I always respond, "LEGO."

LEGO bricks are such a fascinating medium because you can visualize 3-D objects simply and effectively. It works best for creations that are angular with straight edges. It's also a great medium for prototyping simple machines and casting moulds.

So just how important are my LEGO sets? I designed and built a LEGO workshop in the basement of my house. Having a space like this has helped me tackle new projects, like picture mosaics and 3-D logos.

"Nick Brickly" on the set of Brick Challenge

Were you at Maker Faire Detroit? If you were, than you might have seen me as Nick Brickly, host of my Brick Challenge game show. It's a LEGO-based game show similar to Double Dare. We ask questions and challenge contestants to mini games. Join the fun on stage Saturdays in January 2013 at Henry Ford Museum.

I can't wait to see LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition when it opens its doors tomorrow. Just like Brick Challenge, the LEGO Architecture series and the work of Adam Reed Tucker are great examples of how LEGO is more than a toy - it's a medium for creation and communication.

Nick Britsky is Royal Oak-based LEGO lover and maker. A participant of Maker Faire Detroit since 2010, you can catch him on stage at Anderson Theater this winter as part of LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition's Saturday programming.

LEGO, lego bricks, toys

We get questions from young and old alike regarding our national treasures. Everything from such topics as historic figures: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers, to our historic objects: the Rosa Parks Bus, George Washington’s camping equipment, or the John F. Kennedy Limo, just to name a few. As Research Specialist in the Benson Ford Research Center, it's my job to respond to these requests.

Student Exhibit

Some of my favorite requests come from elementary students, kindergarten to sixth grade. I personally love working on these inquiries and absolutely love seeing how the information we have is used for so many different projects.

George Washington Camp bed and gear

Typically museums can display only a small portion of their collections at a given time, so I am grateful for these amazing questions that lead me to explore objects I have never seen, such as the "Monkey Bar" Diorama (Object ID 15.1.1/THF49084) or Circus Poster, Barnum and Bailey Present "Marvelous Performances of the Troupe of Trained Cats and Pigs," (Object ID 35.784.119/THF81700).

"Monkey Bar" Diorama (Object ID 15.1.1/THF49084)

Circus Poster, Barnum and Bailey Present "Marvelous Performances of the Troupe of Trained Cats and Pigs," (Object ID 35.784.119/THF81700)

One of our library books is actually among these gems. It’s called Talleyrand Meets the Car Makers. In this circa-1960s book by Ford of Britain, Talleyrand (a very cute toy dog similar to today’s Flat Stanley) goes on tour of a Ford plant to entertain and educate.

Talleyrand meets the car makers

As Research Specialist in the BFRC, Stephanie Lucas is responsible for the timely and efficient delivery of accurate responses to a broad range of remote reference requests; keeping track of numbers; participating in the creation of programs and tools to promote access and use of The Henry Ford collections; and going beyond the barrier when needed.

customer service, research center

Some followers of The Henry Ford’s blog may remember that back in January we told you about our 2012 project to digitize the most “significant” artifacts in our collections. We have been working furiously on getting these artifacts identified and digitized, and while we’re not finished yet, we’ve gotten a lot done, and wanted to share some interesting tidbits about our work thus far.

The basic assignment we set ourselves was to divide the collection into categories, and ask our curators to select the 25 most significant items at The Henry Ford in each of the categories. Though there are many ways one can group items in our collections, for the purposes of this exercise, we chose these groupings:

  • Home and Community Life
  • Information Technology and Communications
  • Transportation
  • American Democracy and Civil Rights
  • Agriculture and the Environment
  • America’s Industrial Revolution
  • Henry Ford (Since Henry Ford is such a significant personage around here, we decided he gets 50 objects instead of 25.)
  • The curators established lists for each grouping, which was no easy task. Criteria of national significance, uniqueness to our institution, and resonance to museum visitors helped guide selections, but there was still a laborious and sometimes painful process of culling to get down to 25 (or 26 or 27 — a few extras snuck through!) objects in each category.

    We also considered the issue of overlap. In the end, less than 10 objects ended up on lists in multiple categories, and where they did, the rationale was very clear. These include the limousine in which John F. Kennedy was shot (which relates to both Transportation and American Democracy and Civil Rights), the Fordson tractor Henry Ford gave to Luther Burbank (which relates to both Henry Ford and Agriculture and the Environment), and a Westinghouse steam engine, pictured below (which relates to both Henry Ford and America’s Industrial Revolution). Most of the overlaps involve Henry Ford, which is not surprising when you consider the origins of this institution.

    Westinghouse Portable Steam Engine No. 345, made circa 1881, used by Henry Ford

    Another really interesting thing about the lists is that though these are some of our most significant artifacts, not all of the items are currently on public display. The majority of the objects the curators selected are indeed located in the Henry Ford Museum: from George Washington Carver’s microscope, located in our Agriculture exhibit; to the Noyes piano box buggy located in Driving America; to the Jazz Bowl, located in Your Place in Time. A few objects are located in Greenfield Village, including the Edison electric pen, which you can view in Menlo Park Laboratory; and Firestone Barn, which is a building, a working barn, and a significant artifact, all rolled into one!

    Firestone Barn. Photograph by Michelle Andonian

    A number of objects selected live in our archival collections, which may be viewed via a visit to the Benson Ford Research Center. These include two-dimensional objects such as a photograph of the first Highland Park Ford assembly line and Ford Motor Company’s first checkbook.

    Ford Motor Company Checkbook, 1903

    Other objects are just too fragile to be on permanent display or don’t have a spot in our current exhibits, so The Henry Ford’s collections site is the only place you’ll be able to view them. These include an embroidery sampler from 1799, a gold bugle, and a Moog synthesizer.

    Moog Synthesizer, 1964-1965

    One object that made the list, the kinetoscope that Thomas Edison invented to play moving images, is not even in Dearborn at the moment—it is on display at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World in Florida. If you have upcoming travel plans that include Epcot, stop by the American Heritage Gallery and say hi to one of our most significant objects!

    Edison Kinetoscope with Kinetophone, 1912-1913

    So what’s next for this project? Well, we still have about 20 percent of these significant objects left to digitize and make available online, and there are a number for which curators are still writing brief descriptions. Once all the objects are online and well-described, we’ll create sets for each category, so you can browse these gems from our collection by the topic they relate to. Watch for a future blog post when this is complete! 

    Ellice Engdahl, Digital Collections Initiative Manager at The Henry Ford, would definitely include on her personal list of significant collections objects everything from the Rosa Parks bus to the Monkey Bar.

    artifacts, digital artifacts

    National Air Tours helped familiarize Americans with aircraft as commercial vehicles. Before the 1930s, planes in the United States rarely carried travelers. They served the military, provided entertainment, or carried mail.
    An advertisement for a famous aerial show

    By 1925, Americans could travel long distances by train or automobile. Rail lines and new numbered highways nearly spanned the country. Though air travel was an interesting suggestion, it seemed unreliable. Airplanes were incredible inventions that had crossed oceans and navigated the globe. But there had been accidents, and too many had been fatal. Americans thought it best to leave planes to the brave—soldiers who’d flown in World War I. Entrepreneurial barnstormers. A few intrepid airmail pilots. Continue Reading

    flying, planes

    This photo of Grimm Jewelry Store at 613 Michigan Avenue in Detroit was taken in 1926. Engelbert Grimm's store was moved to Greenfield Village in 1940.

    There was a Grimm celebration at Greenfield Village today when descendants of jeweler Engelbert Grimm came from near and far to meet in front of his store to kick off their family reunion. The actual reunion is tomorrow, but many had the opportunity to meet today at the well-love artifact for a photo opportunity in front of "great-grandpa's" store. The charming little building, designed by architect Peter Dederichs, Jr., was built in the late 1880s and moved to the Greenfield Village in 1940.

    Engelbert Grimm was a German immigrant who ran the store for 45 years. He offered mass-produced, inexpensive jewelry and watches to Detroit-area residents. He and his family resided on the second floor. Henry Ford enjoyed visiting the store and talking to the store owner about fixing watches and working with machinery.

    The family members meeting today were related to Engelbert's daughter Marie. Marie had eight children, the seventh and only surviving is Josephine (née Lefevre) Smith, who will soon celebrate her 95th birthday.

    It was fun watching some family members introduce themselves because they either hadn't yet met, or it had been years since they laid eyes on each other. As one told me with a wink, "After 50 years, some folks look a little different."

    Some had photo albums in hand and were eager to show Josephine to share or learn more family history.

    Sharing family memories, Grimm family at Greenfield Village

    Family members came from California, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan.

    Josephine's daughter Cheryl Koeh said at her mother's 90th birthday, the discussion came up that it would be nice for family to come together for an occasion other than just weddings and funerals. They began planning for the reunion far enough in advance to give time for out-of-state relatives to arrange to make the trip. This is their largest family gathering.

    Grimm family reunion

    More than 60 relatives met for the fun and a the photo op. They even welcomed the knowledgeable presenter at the shop to be part of their family photo.

    Grimm Family Reunion

    In addition to the big group photo, families captured their own mementos of the event.

    Grimm Family Reunion

    Colette and Dick Sheridan had last visited Greenfield Village 55 and 60 years ago, respectively. They are both Michigan natives and used to come to the village quite frequently. Colette said when she was young, her mother always sent her for visits to the village when company came to town. The Sheridans said that the village had changed a lot since their last visits, but they also agreed there were so many parts that seemed the same.  They've long been California residents and were happy to travel to Michigan for the reunion. Four of their eight children were able to make the trip, too.

    Grimm reunion - Greenfield Village

    Even the youngest of the family enjoyed a look through the store. The displays show items that would have been sold in the shop near the turn of the century.

    Grimm family reunion - Greenfield Village

    This little guy, Jonathan, decided to see if he knew the combination to the safe.

    Josephine Smith and her daughter Cheryl Koeh.

    The weather was just right, and the mood was festive. By the smiles and laughter I heard, I'm sure many of the family would agree, it was a great day to be a part of the Grimm family.

    families, Greenfield Village, reunions