Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

My friend Jennifer introduced me to Marian Morash’s The Victory Garden Cookbook (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982) in 2022. She explained that the cookbook was her mother's go-to wedding present. When Jennifer and her daughter saw a feature article about Mrs. Morash and her husband in Better Homes & Gardens (2017) they wrote her. They thanked her for the inspiration the cookbook provided three generations of cooks in Jennifer's family, and the modest Beard-Award-winning chef, author and TV personality wrote back, amazed that the cookbook could still be found.

Marian’s inspiration came from none other than Julia Child who passed along partially cooked foods from a cooking show that Marian’s husband, Russell Morash, piloted in 1962. The following summarizes the connections that laid the groundwork for the influential Victory Garden Cookbook.

The Victory Garden Cookbook 1982
Dust jacket, The Victory Garden Cookbook (1982). / THF708642

The Victory Garden Cookbook 1982 Inside Cover
Hardcover, The Victory Garden Cookbook (1982). / THF708645

Morash's Background and Inspiration

Morash’s husband, TV producer Russell Morash, first encountered Julia Child, co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1962), on the WGBH-TV show I’ve Been Reading, in an episode likely broadcast on February 19, 1962. Child captivated WGBH-TV staff and viewers with her cooking demonstration, and the station decided to produce three pilot episodes of The French Chef. These aired in 1962 on July 26 (the omelet), August 2 (coq au vin) and August 23 (the souffle). The new series, The French Chef, debuted February 11, 1963. Marian’s husband, Russell Morash, produced the new series. The half-prepared recipes that Russell salvaged from the show, along with Julia Child’s directions written to Marian so she could complete the cooking, nurtured the nascent chef. In 1975, Marian co-founded Straight Wharf Restaurant in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and ran it as executive chef.

Continue Reading

recipes, gardening, by Debra A. Reid, agriculture

Motor Muster
The flathead Ford V-8 engine, like the one in this 1953 Indy 500 pace car, was our Motor Muster feature for 2023. / Image by RuAnne Phillips 

It was another wonderful Motor Muster at The Henry Ford on June 17-18, 2023. Under beautiful sunny skies, we welcomed nearly 700 cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and even a few boats into Greenfield Village. The annual show, held each Father’s Day weekend, celebrates motor vehicles from 1933 to 1978 — some of the auto industry’s most innovative and exciting years. 

Motor Muster
The valves on Ford’s V-8 were on the sides rather than overhead, hence the “flathead” nickname. / Image by RuAnne Phillips 

Each year we spotlight a particular make, model or special theme. For 2023, our focus fell on “Flathead Fords” — the groundbreaking V-8 engines (and the vehicles powered by them) produced by Ford Motor Company from 1932 through 1953. Unlike overhead-valve designs used by Chevrolet and some other automakers, Ford placed the V-8’s valves inside the block and alongside the cylinders. With no valves on top, the Ford engine had a “flat head” — a nickname that stuck. 

Motor Muster
Sixteen Ford V-8 vehicles, all dating from 1932 to 1953, filled Detroit Central Market. / Image by RuAnne Phillips 

It’s an engine worth honoring in any year, but 2023 is especially appropriate as it marks the 60th anniversary of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America. This long-standing club has more than 9,000 members and 125 regional groups across the world. We are proud that the club chose to hold its 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Celebration Grand National Meet in Dearborn concurrent with Motor Muster. (And yes, though Motor Muster’s time period officially starts with 1933, we made a special exception for the club and allowed some 1932 Ford V-8 cars into the show.) 

Motor Muster
Bob Thompson posed with the 1960 Slingshot Dragster he built all those years ago with his racing partner Sam Buck. / Image by Matt Anderson 

We pulled a few related objects from our own collection and staged them in a special display at the Detroit Central Market. Naturally, we started with a flathead 1937 Ford V-8 engine. Our version is one of the 60-horsepower units Ford introduced for that model year. The “60” was advertised as a more economical alternative to the standard 85-horsepower Ford V-8. Our featured cars — all powered by flathead Ford V-8s — included a 1935 Ford Sedan, a 1953 Ford Sunliner convertible and a 1960 Slingshot Dragster built by a couple of young racers from Lockport, Illinois. One of those racers, Bob Thompson, was in the Motor Muster crowd this year. He stopped by the market to share stories and pose for a few photos with his dragster. It was a special treat for those who saw him. 

Motor Muster
These two MG cars, a green 1938 Tickford Drophead and a red 1948 TC, were among several that helped celebrate the British marque’s centennial. / Image by RuAnne Phillips 

In an unusual twist, Motor Muster had something of a second feature this year. MG, the British company whose two-seat sports cars were popular in the U.K. and in the U.S., was formed in 1923. MG collectors and fans gathered at Motor Muster to celebrate the marque’s centennial on the Greenfield Village green.  

Motor Muster
Greg Ingold, editor of the Hagerty Price Guide, gave instructions to an eager team of youth judges. / Image by Christy Sherding 

Our friends from Hagerty joined us again this year. The leading collector car insurance provider brought a display of two vintage Ford Broncos, copies of the company’s Drivers Club magazine and a Polaroid picture experience allowing visitors to pose for retro instant photos. Greg Ingold, editor of the Hagerty Price Guide, was especially busy over the weekend. On Saturday, he led a team of youth judges — the next generation of car collectors and enthusiasts — as they selected a car for special honors. (The young judges chose a 1938 Packard Super Eight convertible for their prize.) Later that day, Greg was on stage to help narrate our popular Pass-in-Review program, where historians comment on participating cars. Then on Sunday, he presented a talk on current trends in the collector car market. We’re grateful to Greg and the whole Hagerty team for their continuing support.

Motor Muster
This gull-winged 1975 Bricklin SV-1 was among the more unusual vehicles at Motor Muster 2023. / Image by RuAnne Phillips  

Visitors enjoyed a variety of historical vignettes and special programs throughout the weekend. The 1930s were represented by a period Emancipation Day celebration at the Mattox Family Home, complementing the Juneteenth holiday on Monday, June 19. A wartime homefront vignette symbolized the 1940s. The 1950s were recalled by a suburban-style lawnmower and yardwork display at the Chapman Family Home. Fans of the 1960s could view a period roadside camping vignette near the Scotch Settlement School. Last but far from least, the Disco Decade was acknowledged with a bicentennial-themed picnic straight out of the summer of ’76. 

Motor Muster
France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race turns 100 in 2023, twice as old as this 1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans named for it. / Image by RuAnne Phillips 


Julia Child profoundly transformed American cuisine and food culture. Equally distinct as her voice and infectious personality, her legacy continues to inspire chefs of all levels.

In tandem with our limited-time exhibition at Henry Ford Museum of Innovation, Julia Child: A Recipe for Life, Plum Market Kitchen will serve Julia Child-inspired recipes and dishes through September.

Below are five recipes prepared by our talented team of in-house chefs that you can craft at home alongside family and friends.

Looking for other ways to expand your culinary knowledge? Learn more about our “Mastering the Art of Julia Child” programming series.

Tomato Provençal


  • 4 slices rustic French bread
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley
  • ¼ pound fresh basil
  • ¼ pound fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped or sliced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12-15 ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Lightly toast or dry out the bread slices.
  3. Add the bread, parsley, basil, rosemary and garlic to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and minced together. Add olive oil for moisture as needed.
  4. Cut tomatoes in half on a baking sheet and cover with the bread and herb mixture.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the tomatoes have softened.
  6. Serve as a side dish with nearly any recipe.



  • 1 eggplant, diced in large chunks
  • 2 zucchinis, diced in large chunks
  • 2 yellow squash, diced in large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ pound fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • Optional: breadcrumbs for topping
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Continue Reading
What We Wore: Shoes Exhibition Case

From practical footwear to eye-catching fashion statements, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation’s current What We Wore exhibit is all about shoes. On display are 30 pairs of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes dating from the 1780s to the 2000s.

Each pair offers a bit of footwear history — and, for some perhaps, a familiar style once found in their own closet!

Shoes will be on display until May 24. Here’s a peek at a few examples.

Men's Boudoir Slippers, 1855-1860

Men’s Boudoir Slippers, 1855-1860 / THF31115

Men's embroidered slippers were very popular in the mid-1800s. Ladies magazines often included embroidery patterns for house slippers that a woman might make for her husband as a gift.

Men's Wingtip Shoes, 1945-1955

Men’s Wingtip Oxfords, 1945-1955, Gift of Richard Glenn / THF370088 

The low-sided oxford came into fashion for men’s footwear in the 1910s, along with wingtips (a toe cap in the shape of a bird’s wing embellished with a perforated pattern). White shoes were for summer.

Reebok Pump AXT Cross-Training Shoes, circa 1990

Reebok Pump AXT Cross-Training Shoes, circa 1990 / THF370066

In the 1970s, athletic shoes became big business as the popularity of running and more relaxed dress codes in workplaces and schools led to a boom in the market. Manufacturers developed high-tech features designed for more support and stability. Reebok introduced the Reebok Pump in 1990, a shoe that used inflatable chambers that pumped-up for a custom fit.

Women's Shoes, 1785-1789

Women’s Shoes, 1785-1789, Gift of American Textile History Museum / THF370062 

Before shoemaking became a mechanized industry in the mid-1800s, shoes were made by hand. Amos Boardman created these silk shoes — undoubtedly for a prosperous client— in one of the many small shoemaking home-shops that flourished in late 1700s New England.

Women's Boots, Used by Anna D. Larkin, 1867

Women's Boots, 1867, Gift of Cora D. Maggini, Worn by Angeline (Anna) Duckworth when she married Rufus Larkin in Posey County, Indiana, in September 1867 / THF158262 

Sandals from ancient Greece or Rome inspired these 1860s shoes — footwear designed to reveal pretty-colored silk stockings beneath!

Women's Platform Shoes, 1945-1950

Women’s Platform Shoes, 1945-1950, Gift of American Textile History Museum, Donated to ATHM by Sharon and Phil Ferraguto / THF370078

Introduced in the late 1930s, platform shoes remained popular through the 1940s. These eye-catching examples sport cherry red, ivory and gray reptile leather.

Glitter Jelly Sandals, circa 1990

Women’s Glitter Jelly Sandals, circa 1990 / THF172055

Jelly shoes were a favorite among young women in the 1980s and 1990s. Made of PVC plastic, the shoes came in a rainbow of colors. Sandals were the most popular.

Girls' Slippers, circa 1850

Girls’ Slippers, circa 1850 / THF156007

In the mid-1800s, girls wore slippers with ribbon ties for formal occasions. For everyday? Low boots.

Boys' Boots, circa 1865

Boys’ Boots, circa 1865 / THF156008

Children’s clothing has increasingly included images that have appeal for a child. These are an early example — Civil War-era boots with a figure of a dashing Zouave soldier.

Saddle Oxfords, 1955-1965

Saddle Oxfords, 1955-1965, Gift of Randolph C. and Nancy M. Carey / THF78930

The saddle shoe, with its contrasting color leather “saddle,” is a style icon. Worn by uniformed schoolkids since the 1930s and by “bobby soxer” teens in the 1940s and 1950s, the saddle shoe has an enduring link to youth culture.

Jeanine Head Miller is curator of domestic life at The Henry Ford.

What We Wore, Henry Ford Museum, fashion, by Jeanine Head Miller, 20th century


On Aug. 23, 2022, Trey Mendez had his first crossword puzzle published in The New York Times. Like many creative types, crossword constructors — cruciverbalists, if you’re feeling dapper and Latinate — tend toward the autobiographical, and the theme of Mendez’s puzzle was no exception.

As a self-described “New Yorker with a mailing address in California who currently lives in Zagreb, Croatia,” his puzzle’s long, marquee answers were phrases about air travel whose first and last two letters were state abbreviations, as though the answers were linking those two states in flight. FLYING TIME, which starts with Florida and ends with Maine, thus was clued as “Duration of air travel from Miami to Bangor?”; VAPOR TRAIL as “What follows a plane going from Richmond to Chicago?”; and so on, out toward the horizon.

Continue Reading

Citizen Preservationalist
Photo courtesy of Bobby Green

The City of the Future. Los Angeles wore the label for most of the 20th century. The moniker implied an optimistic destiny for a city whose status as a world capital was predicated on the automobile.

With this mentality came developers whose regard for the past was nonexistent. At the century’s halfway mark, awareness of the slow disappearance of the city’s past was still to be realized. Los Angeles, at this point, was still focused on the future, and the building boom was unabated.

The preservation of America’s past has a legacy of being an uphill battle for many urban areas in all 50 states. For those cities that have formalized preservation organizations, the work is ongoing, with successes tempered by the destruction of the large and small. The Los Angeles Conservancy has been at the vanguard of preservation efforts in the LA area for over 40 years. Its ModCom Committee was an indication of the strength of a new generation of citizen preservationists who sought out and identified nontraditional buildings for preserving and designating as landmarks. Among the structures that were the object of their focus were midcentury residential and commercial structures. But they were also seeking the under-the radar movements such as the diminishing Googie style with its striking coffee shops, bowling alleys, car washes, motels and gas stations — objects that Los Angeles was noted for. These atypical architectural forms rarely caught the eye of mainstream preservation efforts until renewed interest in this area of study was launched by the 1972 publication of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas. Their observations-initiated books and essays that revealed the built environment, including the roadside, and their anonymous creators. Books by John Margolies, John Baeder, Richard Gutman, and my own publication, California Crazy, sparked intensive research and sent many nascent preservationists throughout cities, suburbs and remotely traveled roads, investigating and identifying the postwar and oddball remains of a recent past.

Enter one Bobby Green, a Southern California businessman who is helping reverse the unchecked process of eliminating building types that had once been a defining component of LA’s identity. Investing his passion and purse to save and bring back LA’s past, Green’s tale is a preservation success story with a very nontraditional approach — told here through three of his most challenging restored historic properties to date. 

Idle Hour

The first opportunity to save a programmatic landmark and create a successful business came to Green by way of Chris Nichols, editor at Los Angeles Magazine and one of the city’s most knowledgeable historians. Nichols, a seasoned preservation activist, was well aware of the Idle Hour, a massive barrel-shaped building in the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley. Built as a taproom and cafe in 1941 by Michael Connolly, a film technician at Universal Studios, the building slipped into the hands of his wife after a divorce. By 1971, it had been sold to a couple that created a flamenco dinner theater called La Caña that closed in 1984. The building languished for years, its tenuous condition making it ripe for demolition. Nichols took it upon himself to fight to get the building landmarked, which he accomplished in 2010. Green knew of the building since it was in a neighborhood where he had gone to junior high school. Informed by Nichols that the structure would be auctioned, Green made the purchase a reality in 2011. As he stated at the time, “This is the first time we get to restore history.”

Idle Hour 1941
The Idle Hour Cafe was built in the 1940s and lured thirsty patrons with “idle hours” to come and imbibe until the 1960s. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

Faced with a landmark that needed a lot of help, the challenge to create not only a viable business but one that honored the architectural integrity of the building proved a daunting task (and one that would ultimately be a $2 million investment). Part of the process was to validate the idea that the remnants of Los Angeles’ past could be preserved and have a successful secondary life. With this in mind, the restoration began. Rather than having to develop a theme as he had done with previous bars (see sidebar on Page 35), the building came with an affixed history. Green did thorough research, digging for every available photo and interviewing all parties associated with the building.

Fortunately, the structure had retained most of its integrity, but the barrel itself had sustained acute rot, prompting the replacement of all the exterior wood. Stained glass windows were restored and hardware matching the original was sourced.

Because the property included room for an outdoor patio, one was erected. As an added bonus, Nichols once again steered Green to a replica of the giant Bulldog Cafe that was housed in the Petersen Automotive Museum. As part of an upgrading, they were eliminating the set piece but were happy to donate it to whomever would take it off their hands. For Green, it was a no-brainer. The dog was disassembled and carted off to Idle Hour’s patio where it was reconstructed and made into a private dining room. Voila! Two programmatic buildings on the same lot.

Citizen_Bulldog Cafe_blog
The pipe-smoking pup is now a centerpiece of Idle Hour’s outdoor patio that also doubles as a private dining area. / Photo courtesy of William Bradford

Formosa Cafe

The Formosa Cafe was a unique opportunity to rehabilitate and restore a legendary restaurant from Hollywood’s past. Opened in 1939, its proximity to the movie studio across the street made it a convenient watering hole for actors and actresses. It’s smoky atmosphere practically begged gossip scribes to transcribe the goings-on within its Chinese-themed depths, an aesthetic heavily informed by its Hong Kong-born co-owner and longtime chef Lem Quon.

Filmmaker John Waters paid the ultimate compliment to the newly restored Formosa Cafe declaring, “I always thought this is exactly what Hollywood should look like.” / Photo courtesy of William Bradford

Like many fabled places, it was transformed multiple times through the years under the guidance of original owner Jimmy Bernstein, and later with Quon, who became Bernstein’s partner a couple of decades later. By 2011, it was about to be closed, but developers of the property and the adjoining shopping center were enlightened enough to want to save the restaurant from demolition and regain its former status.

The restaurant’s situation had been closely watched by Green, who was among the bidders asking to restore the restaurant. Based on previous work, the 1933 Group received the commission in January 2017. The restoration effort received an additional boost from the LA Conservancy, which encouraged them to apply for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, which awarded them a $150,000 grant.

Tasked with bringing back the Formosa’s glory years, Green envisioned a revival that would eclipse even the best of the restaurant’s former days. This included meticulously restoring the Red Car rail line addition from 1939 that clung to the side of the restaurant. Peeling back the layers of the 1902 streetcar required time-consuming patience and a staff of experts. The retention of the famous celebrity photographs that lined the walls also demanded an intense commitment. All the images were removed, cataloged, restored and rehung exactly where they had been. Contemporary light fixtures were replaced with Chinese lanterns that were not part of the original interior but inspired by the set decorations when the movie L.A. Confidential used the bar for location filming. Artifacts used in the filming of 1937’s The Good Earth were brought from China, used in the movie and sold off. One ornate bar was installed in the Yee Mee Loo restaurant in downtown LA’s Chinatown. Eventually, it ended up in Green’s hands and is now featured in a new section of the Formosa.

Bobby Green committed to not only preserving but celebrating that the Formosa Cafe’s ownership of what is most likely the last surviving 800 series train/trolley car in the world, dating back more than 115 years. He also gave careful consideration to how the cafe would exhibit images and themes about Asians in Hollywood history. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

When told that legendary LA gangsters Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen frequented the place and ran a bookmaking racket in a back room, Green responded by featuring a section of the restaurant dedicated to the hoodlums. A bonus was discovered when a submerged drop box for Siegel’s money was found while restoring the floor. The safe is now prominently featured at the foot of one of the booths.

Tail o' The Pup

Veloz and Yolanda, a well-known Hollywood dance team, named their new 1946 investment Tail o’ the Pup in a humorous nod to the nearby fine-dining establishment Tail o’ the Cock. Located curbside on La Cienega Boulevard, the diner received a movie premiere-style opening and never turned back. A stalwart hot dog stand, it served up red hots that “snapped” at that location until the mid-‘80s, when real estate demands forced the new owners to move several blocks away. In 2005, the stand once again faced eviction from developers. The owners closed down and pulled up stakes, transporting the giant wiener to a warehouse. All the while, Green was keeping his eye on the activity and finally made the move to buy the stand and all of the rights to the name in 2018.

Citizen_Tail O The Pup_blog
Previously hidden away in a storage facility waiting to be saved, the refurbished structure now serves its dogs (aka pups), burgers, fries and milkshakes in style at its new location on Santa Monica Boulevard. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

Then began the hard work. The structure was moved to the 1933 Group’s Burbank warehouse where restoration progressed for two years. To accommodate his vision, they had to update virtually every surface while still maintaining the original structure. There was no rush because a location for the Pup was pending. The dog was taken apart and its metal midsection reinforced from the inside. The wood frame and stucco ends of the bun and wiener were refurbished. The door of the hot dog also served as its awning and when opened had to be manually operated. Knowing its weight would be a problem, Green stepped in and devised a motorized apparatus that now opens the door with a flick of a switch. He calls this “common sense engineering,” born from his experience owning his own automotive speed shop.

When a location was finally found on Santa Monica Boulevard, only blocks from its original placement, the fact that it was part of Route 66 only added to its roadside credentials. Facing the street, the Pup is a stand-alone structure on a plot that housed a former restaurant. Prior to that, it was the 1972 studio for the rock band The Doors, who recorded their final album there.

Bobby Green purchased the rights to the Tail o’ The Pup moniker and promised to restore Hollywood’s favorite hot dog stand to look and function the way it did for some 60 years prior. / Photo courtesy of 1933 Group

This area was converted to a full-scale kitchen and indoor dining area with a second-story patio. With its complex complete, Tail o’ The Pup was back in service in pristine condition. Another Los Angeles icon saved and ready to serve.

This post was adapted from an article written by Jim Heimann in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.

From a DJ's Closet

February 24, 2023 Think THF

The Henry Ford acquires artifacts that help tell the tale of hip-hop’s birth

Caransa Sweater Worn by DJ Kool Herc, circa 1975

Caransa Sweater Worn by DJ Kool Herc, circa 1975 / THF191962

On Aug. 11, 1973, Jamaican immigrant Clive Campbell and his sister Cindy rented their apartment building’s recreation room at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, New York. They were throwing a party to raise funds for Cindy’s back-to-school wardrobe. By this point, Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, had amassed a loyal following using his father’s sound system to DJ at block, house and basement parties. The two siblings gave out hand-drawn index cards as invitations and packed the room. That night, Herc’s performance techniques coalesced into something new, and by most accounts, hip-hop was born.

Using two turntables, Herc cued and repeated percussion “breaks” in soul and funk music to extend the high-energy moments dancers craved. He called this his “Merry-Go-Round” technique, and with it, he could make the breaks last as long as he wanted. This was the invention of the “breakbeat,” and the crowd went wild. Herc punctuated these beats with a version of the Jamaican dancehall “toasting” of his youth — only now, it was permeated by NYC slang, including terms of his own that would become pervasive in the hip-hop scene, like “b-boys” and “b-girls.” Herc’s spin on toasting paved the way for MCs and, eventually, rappers.

DJ Kool Herc at Nightclub, Bronx, New York, circa 1981

DJ Kool Herc at Nightclub, Bronx, New York, circa 1981 / THF191961 


In those early years, hip-hop was a lifestyle more than a music genre, and live performance was king. Herc, for instance, didn’t record an official album of his own until 2019. Although bootlegs of performances exist, we are reliant on objects and ephemera to properly tell the story of this then-nascent movement that would dominate American culture. Items of clothing and photographs serve as vital traces of the elusive history of the hip-hop genre and all that it encompassed.

In September 2022, The Henry Ford acquired two photographs, a wool and leather sweater, and a few pairs of shoes owned by Herc. Some items were worn at the legendary T-Connection club in the Bronx, where iconic bootleg recordings of his DJ sets were captured on tape. In one photo, we see Herc posted up in the club, decked out in that same sweater, purchased at A.J. Lester’s department store, and a pair of PRO-Keds Super “69er” shoes — exactly like the ones included in this acquisition. A must-have in the early hip-hop scene, the “69er” or “Uptowner” was worn by the likes of Herc, Afrika Bambaattaa and KRS-One.

Converse and Sedgwick & Cedar Limited Edition Shoes, Worn by DJ Kool Herc, 2007

Converse and Sedgwick & Cedar Limited Edition Shoes, Worn by DJ Kool Herc, 2007 / THF191942

Though Herc’s seminal performances were fleeting, they would reverberate across the histories of recording technology, electronic instrumentation, dance, fashion and art. Acquisitions like these can take us back to the T-Connection, back to 1520 Sedgwick. They can help us pinpoint the source of these reverberations, making the history of hip-hop tangible.

Kristen Gallerneaux, Curator of Communications and Information Technology

This post was adapted from an article in the Winter-Spring 2023 issue of The Henry Ford Magazine.

A sleek red convertible with tan interior and top down is parked in a display indoors
Like an actor cast in a role, this 1985 Modena Spyder California was chosen to play the part of a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. / Photo by Matt Anderson

For those who haven’t visited Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in recent months, we have a wonderful new display space created in partnership with the Hagerty Drivers Foundation. Each year, we’ll share a couple of significant automobiles included on the foundation’s National Historic Vehicle Register. The (currently) 32 vehicles on the register each made a lasting mark on American history—whether through influence on design or engineering, success on the race track, participation in larger national stories, or starring roles on the silver screen.

Our first display vehicle is Hollywood through and through. It’s a “1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder” (those quotes are intentional) used in the 1986 Gen-X classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Those who’ve seen the film know that the car is a crucial part of the plot—ferrying Ferris, Sloane Peterson, and Cameron Frye around Chicago; threatening to expose their secret skip day; and forcing a difficult conversation between Cameron and his emotionally distant father.

In true movie fashion, though, not all is what it appears to be.

Black-and-white photo of sleek, low convertible with top down parked in a display indoors
This 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California is the real thing, as featured in Henry Ford Museum’s Sports Cars in Review exhibit in 1965. / THF139028

The Ferrari 250 is among the most desirable collector cars in the world. GT street versions sell at auction for millions of dollars. And GTO competition variants—well, the sky’s the limit. Even in the mid-1980s, these autos were too pricey for film work—particularly when the plot calls for the car to be (spoiler alert) destroyed. Instead, Ferris Bueller director John Hughes commissioned three replicas for the shoot: two functional cars used for most scenes, and a non-runner destined to fly out the back of Mr. Frye’s suburban Chicago garage.

Replica cars were nothing new in the 1980s. For years, enterprising manufacturers had been offering copies of collector cars that were no longer in production and too expensive for most enthusiasts. The coveted Duesenberg Model J is a prime example, having been copied by replica manufacturers for decades. Some replica cars were more about convenience than cost. Glassic Industries of West Palm Beach, Florida, produced fiberglass-bodied copies of the Ford Model A with available niceties like automatic transmissions and tape decks. Occasionally, the line between “real” and “replica” got blurry. Continuation cars like the Avanti II (based on Studebaker’s original) or post-1960s Shelby Cobras (based on Carroll Shelby’s racing sports cars) were sometimes built with formal permission or participation from the original automakers.

So, if the Ferris Bueller car at The Henry Ford isn’t a real Ferrari, then what is it?

The replica’s builder, Modena Design & Development, was founded in the early 1980s by Californians Neil Glassmoyer and Mark Goyette. When John Hughes read about Modena in a car magazine, he called the firm. As the story goes, Glassmoyer initially hung up on the famous writer/director—believing that it had to be a prank. Hughes phoned again, and Modena found itself with a desirable movie commission. Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Ferris Bueller, leased one car and bought two others.

The Modena replicas featured steel-tube frames and Ferrari-inspired design cues like hood scoops, fender vents, and raked windshields. While the genuine Ferrari bodies used a blend of steel and aluminum components, Modena’s bodies were formed from fiberglass—purportedly based on a British MG body and then fine-tuned for a more Ferrari-like appearance.

Page from magazine or catalog with images of Ford Torino cars and text
The replica Ferrari’s V-8 was sourced from a 1974 Ford Torino, not too different from these 1973 models. / THF232097

The most obvious differences were under the cars’ skin. Rather than a 180-cubic-inch Ferrari V-12, the Modena at The Henry Ford features a 302-cubic-inch Ford V-8 (originally sourced from a 1974 Ford Torino). While the Ford engine was rated at 135 horsepower from the factory, this one has been rebuilt and refined—surely capable of greater output now. And instead of the original Ferrari’s four-speed manual gearbox, the Modena has a Ford-built three-speed automatic transmission. (According to lore, actor Matthew Broderick wasn’t comfortable driving a manual.)

After filming wrapped, the leased car was sent back to Modena’s El Cajon, California, facility. After some work to repair damage from a stunt scene, the car was sold to the first in a series of private owners. By 2003, this beloved piece of faux Italiana/genuine Americana had been relocated to the United Kingdom. The current owner purchased it at auction in 2010 and repatriated the car to the United States. The Modena was much modified over the years, so the current owner had it carefully restored and returned to its on-screen appearance—as you see it today.

Imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be the quickest route to a lawsuit. Following the release of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferrari sued Modena Design & Development (along with other replica builders). The matter was settled out of court when Modena agreed to make some minor changes per the Italian automaker’s specifications. Replica production then resumed for a few more years.

The Modena Spyder California may not be a real Ferrari, but it’s certainly a real pop-culture icon. That’s reason enough to include it on the National Historic Vehicle Register, and to celebrate it at The Henry Ford.

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford.

Henry Ford Museum, Europe, 1980s, 20th century, Illinois, California, by Matt Anderson, popular culture, movies, cars

Large glass display case containing mannequins wearing clothing, signs and graphics, and additional hung clothing
Our latest installation of What We Wore: Bonnie Cashin. / THF191461

The current What We Wore exhibit in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation features clothing by Bonnie Cashin. American designer Bonnie Cashin’s ideas, radical when introduced, have become timeless.

Who was Bonnie Cashin? An inscription in her senior yearbook provided a hint of things to come: “To a kid with spark—may you set the world on fire.” She did. By the 1950s, Cashin had become “a mother of American sportswear” and one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century.

Born in 1908 in California, Bonnie Cashin apprenticed in her mother’s custom dress shop. At 16, she began designing chorus costumes for a Hollywood theater. Next stop—the Roxy Theatre in New York City, where the 25-year-old was the sole designer. The street clothes Cashin designed for a fashion-themed revue led to a job at the prestigious ready-to-wear firm Adler & Adler in 1937. Cashin left for California in 1943, where she spent six years at 20th Century Fox, designing costumes for approximately 60 films.

Black-and-white photo of a woman in a suit and hat standing at a table in a restaurant showing a poster to a man seated at a table
Cashin’s designs for the 1944 movie Laura were the most influential of her 20th Century Fox creations. Motion pictures of the 1940s tended to showcase female stars as wealthy and glamorous women. Cashin’s designs for actress Gene Tierney suggested clothing chosen by the character of Laura herself, rather than costumes worn for an actress’s role. A revolutionary concept for the time, the garments reflected Cashin's real-life views. / THF700871

Black-and-white photo of two women standing in front of a closet with hanging clothing, looking at a blouse or jacket one of them is holding
Cashin and actress Olivia de Haviland look over costumes created for the motion picture The Snake Pit in 1948. / THF703254

In 1949, back in New York, Cashin created her first ready-to-wear collection under her own name. Cashin designed for “the woman who is always on the go, who is doing something.” She introduced the concept of layering, with each piece designed to work in an ensemble, alone, and in different combinations. The fashion world took notice. In 1950, Cashin won both the prestigious Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award and the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award.

Advertisement with impressionistic black-and-white drawing of a woman in a raincoat holding an umbrella; also contains text
This 1952 ad dates from the year Bonnie Cashin opened her own design studio. It captures the spirit of Cashin’s intended customers—women always on the go. / THF701655

In 1952, Cashin opened her own one-woman firm, Bonnie Cashin Designs. Cashin insisted on total creative control as she worked with the manufacturers who produced her designs. Cashin chose craftsmanship over commercial success. She never wavered in her artistic vision—functional simplicity and elegant solutions.

Jacket in brown, beige, navy, and rust-colored check or hounds tooth pattern
Jacket (Wool, Brown Leather Binding, Brass Toggle Closures), 1965–1970, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188918

Dark camel-colored suede pants
Trousers (Suede), 1955–1960, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188947

Many Cashin designs were practical solutions to problems she herself experienced. Her tailored poncho was born after she cut a hole in a blanket to cope with temperature fluctuations while driving her convertible through the Hollywood Hills.

Apple green, mustard yellow, and brown plaid boxy mohair coat with wide sleeves
Coat (Mohair, Suede Bindings, Brass Clip Closure), 1955–1964, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188928

Apple green sweater with three-quarter sleeves and small buttons up the front
Sweater (Cashmere, Brass Buttons), 1955–1964, Designed by Bonnie Cashin, New York City, and Made by Ballantyne, Innerleithen and Peebles, Scotland. / THF188908

Mustard-colored leather pants with triangular flap at fly buttoning at two places at the waist
Trousers (Leather, Brass Toggle Closures), 1965–1970, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188945

Cashin is most well-known for her innovative use of leather, mohair, suede, knits, and nubby fabric, as well as heavy hardware used as fastenings. Cashin had a deep love of color and texture—she personally selected, designed, or commissioned her fabrics.

Ad with text and photo of woman in blue denim shirt and red leather pants or skirt standing at table with sewing machine and fabric; more fabric is stacked on shelves behind her
In this 1972 ad for Singer sewing machines, examples of Bonnie Cashin’s favored textiles—suede, leather, knits, and nubby tweeds—appear on the shelves behind her. / THF700873

Traveling widely during her career, Cashin closely studied the traditional clothing of other cultures. Her international focus and attention to refining traditional shapes down to their most modern and mobile forms led to her distinctive “Cashin Look.”

Shirt with nubbly yellow, red, and beige plaid pattern, elbow-length sleeves, and red leather piping down the placket
Jacket (Mohair Bouclé, Leather Bindings, Brass Sweater Guard Closure), about 1965, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City; Fabric Made by Bernat Klein, Galashiels, Scotland. / THF188913

Bonnie Cashin created dazzling costumes for the stage and screen—then excelled at exquisite minimalism in her sportwear. The intersection? Cashin’s garments always moved with the wearer and were designed to be set against a backdrop—whether a theatrical scene or contemporary life.

Charcoal gray wool coat with red leather piping around the collar and down the placket
Coat (Wool, Leather Binding), 1965–1972, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188933

Burnt-orange leather pants with button at side of waist and also at side of knee
Trousers (Leather, Brass Toggle Closures), 1965–1972, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188943

Burnt-orange leather jacket with Nehru collar, narrow long sleeves and three brass toggles down front
Jacket (Leather, Brass Toggle Closures), 1965–1972, Designed by Bonnie Cashin and Made by Philip Sills & Co., New York City. / THF188938

Innovative and influential, Cashin continued to design until 1985. Following her death in 2000, among the handwritten notes jotted on scraps of paper in her apartment was one that read, “How nice for one voice to ignite the imaginations of others.”

Jeanine Head Miller is Curator of Domestic Life at The Henry Ford.

20th century, California, New York, women's history, What We Wore, movies, making, Henry Ford Museum, fashion, entrepreneurship, design, by Jeanine Head Miller

A two-story red brick house under construction, surrounded by scaffolding, with another timber-framed structure being constructed behind it
Firestone Farmhouse and Firestone Barn during reconstruction in Greenfield Village, December 1984. /

Two centuries ago, in the 1820s, Peter Firestone began the construction of his new farmstead in Columbiana County, Ohio. It eventually comprised a sturdy brick home, a very large barn, and several small outbuildings. The task took him, his family, and numerous local craftsmen many years to complete. The farmhouse alone is said to have taken four years; it is possible the entire complex may have taken as many as ten years.

When The Henry Ford acquired Firestone Farmhouse and Firestone Barn in 1983, the first challenge we faced was moving them to Dearborn, Michigan, from their original location in eastern Ohio—some 200 miles away. We decided the only feasible method was to completely disassemble the buildings, pack the materials into trailers, and transport them to Greenfield Village, where we would reenact Peter Firestone's feat.

Research and Disassembly

Our project commenced in April 1983, when an architectural recording team began to measure the structures to be moved and created drawings that would be used for their reconstruction. The team noted the condition of the buildings, researched their history, and began to develop theories about the changes the structures had gone through over the years. Armed with architectural plans and documentary evidence, we began a careful probing of the buildings to uncover information about their construction.

We took paint samples from wood surfaces and analyzed them microscopically to help identify layers of paint applied over time. We also removed brick and mortar samples for chemical analysis. At this time, we discovered former stair locations, old room partition placements, blocked-up doorways, and the remnants of a fireplace in the farmhouse. Our examination of the barn revealed much about its original form and the changes made to it in the early 20th century. Our team recorded the location of mortises for missing framing members and incorporated patterns of the original construction into the drawings.

In conjunction with this work, we conducted two other types of research—archeological research and architectural field research. Evidence from an archeological dig to locate outbuildings that had once been part of the historic farm proved inconclusive, but we did uncover a large quantity of artifacts that helped establish how the farmhouse had been furnished in the past. As part of our architectural field research, we surveyed more than 200 area farmsteads. After analyzing our material, we went back to conduct an in-depth study of 25 barns resembling Firestone Barn, as well as various other 19th-century outbuildings.

We began disassembling the structures by removing and numbering interior woodwork and doors, which were then packed into trailers. Our team removed plaster and lath from ceilings and partitions. Then, we took up floorboards from all three levels of the farmhouse, numbered them, and placed them into trailers. In this same way, all the elements of the farmhouse interior and roof were disassembled and readied for shipment to Greenfield Village.

Next, restoration specialists took apart the masonry structure of the farmhouse brick by brick. They cleaned the bricks onsite and packed them with straw in shipping crates. As the brick walls came down, we removed window and door units intact. Then, the masonry specialists prepared the farmhouse’s sandstone foundation for disassembly. They numbered each stone on the interior face (which had several layers of whitewash on it) and photographed each wall surface with its numbering pattern showing. As the masons removed the stones, they again numbered each one on its top bedding surface. The stones, too, were cleaned and packed with straw in crates, and the number of each stone was listed on the outside.

Black-and-white image of several men working on a construction site
Masonry restorers removed each brick from the walls of Firestone Farmhouse. After being cleaned of excess mortar, the bricks were packed with straw in the crates in the foreground. / THF149938

The barn was stripped of its 20th-century additions, siding, and roof to expose the frame of the building for disassembly. The wooden pins anchoring each timber joint had to be driven out so that the posts and beams could be taken apart in the reverse order of their assembly. Prior to removal, each timber was numbered with a color-coded plastic tag that identified its location in the frame. Timbers less than 40 feet long were loaded into trailers. Those that were longer—for example, one floor support beam that measured 68 feet—had to be shipped on a special stretch trailer.

GIF that cycles through four images of deconstructing a barn, from the full building down to the beam structure
Disassembly of Firestone barn at its original site, Columbiana County, Ohio, 1983. / THF628361, THF628363, THF628367, THF628369


Each stage of disassembly yielded more information about the original construction and subsequent alterations of the buildings.

In the barn we discovered the original granary and hay chute arrangements. Analysis of historic photographs and field data brought to light the "drive-through" equipment shed/corn crib that had been almost obliterated by 20th­century alterations. We also unveiled early 19th-century changes to the structure, including a tool and storage room on the second level and subdivisions of the stalls on the first level.

The farmhouse continued to divulge more of its secrets. Evidence of major interior and exterior renovations turned up daily, as we found reused materials from the original construction in every conceivable portion of the later construction.

Unfinished wall with open door-shaped hole in it
This bedroom doorway, which had been closed off during Firestone Farmhouse’s 1882 renovation, came to light during the disassembly process. / THF149936

We made one very exciting find while moving a section of hand-decorated plaster ceiling above the central stairway. Attached to a framing member associated with the farmhouse’s renovation was a scrap of paper inscribed, “James Maxwell Washingtonville Ohio 1882 / Harvey Firestone Columbiana Ohio 1882.” Aged 12 and 14, respectively, these boys had left a "secret" message, and we had been the lucky finders. Census research established that James Maxwell was the son of a plasterer. He was probably helping his father with interior renovation for the Firestones. Since we knew from the account book of Harvey Firestone’s father, Benjamin, that the renovation of the exterior of the farmhouse had been accomplished in 1882, the note proved conclusively that the interior renovation had been done at the same time. This helped influence our choice of 1882 as the restoration period for the entire farm.

Torn scrap of lined paper with cursive handwriting on it
This hidden message enabled us to precisely date Firestone Farmhouse’s 1882 renovation. / THF124772

Firestone Farm in Greenfield Village

While all this work was taking place in Ohio, we transformed Greenfield Village in anticipation of the farm's arrival. Workers cleared a seven-acre area designated as the farm site for development. We moved six buildings to new locations in the Village; eliminated four non-historic buildings from the area; constructed three new buildings for behind-the-scenes activities to replace those displaced by the farm; and relocated a portion of the railroad tracks.

By the end of 1983, four trailers, two large stacks of over-sized beams, and no fewer than 250 crates of brick and stone were all onsite awaiting the spring construction season. While planning for the entire farm restoration continued, workers began to reproduce a substantial portion of the barn that had been lost to 20th-century alterations. We purchased white oak logs, and craftsmen began hand hewing and joining timbers to recreate most of the original ground-floor framing, which had been replaced by modern materials. This process alone, excluding the actual erection of the timbers, took four craftsmen nearly three months to accomplish. Later in the project, additional components had to be created to replace portions of two sheds initially attached to the main barn. These had been drastically altered for 20th-century farming needs. The upper portions of the barn required numerous replacements and repairs, though most of this part of the frame had been unchanged from its original construction.

In May 1984, we broke ground for the foundation of both the farmhouse and barn. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the masonry shell of the farmhouse rose slowly from the foundation toward the roof line, with windows, doors, and floor framing incorporated during the process. The task of restoring each basement stone to its original location and replicating the brick bonding was tedious and time-consuming. To replace damaged bricks, we manufactured replicas in three different shades to match the originals in color variation, as well as in shape and texture. The entire masonry shell of the farmhouse was finally completed late in the fall, just as plunging temperatures threatened to stop the project. Winter weather halted most outdoor activity, and a temporary roof was placed on the building until late the next spring.

Two men construct a stone block wall on a construction site, while a third man looks at a large display board he is holding that contains photographs
Masons set the transported stones back into Firestone Farmhouse’s new foundation. Here, the author assists by referring to composite photographs of each of the basement walls. / THF149926

The largely reproduced lower frame of the barn was erected in the summer, with repairs and minor replacements to the large upper section of the building continuing into the fall. After trial-fitting and adjusting individual portions of the upper stories, workers reassembled them in sections called “bents.” Each bent was lifted into place, then connected to another by struts and top plates to create the full frame. The erection process for the three-tier main frame lasted until December, when production of the attached sheds began. We completed roofing and siding of the main barn in the winter months as work on the remaining portions of the sheds moved offsite and indoors to escape the cold weather.

Two men look closely at a model of an unfinished building balanced on a pile of dirt with a wooden barn behind them
The author in May 1985 with a portion of the scale model constructed to assist in the restoration of the barn. The ramp side of the nearly completed barn is in the background. / THF149932

We restored the interior of the farmhouse during the first four months of 1985, placing each numbered floorboard, wall stud, wall plank, and door or window trim piece in its original location. At the same time, we repaired or replaced damaged materials using the same type of materials in the original construction. We applied new plaster to lathed stud walls and ceilings, as well as to the brick walls of the interior, then reinstalled additional trimwork that had covered the old plastering. Finish work then began on the interior surfaces of the farmhouse in preparation for white­washing, painting, and papering. Carpenters moved outside at this time to restore the three porches that had been built in 1882. We finished painting the exterior in early June 1985.

With the coming of spring, we resumed outdoor work on the barn. We completed the attached sheds and massive stone ramp that leads to the upper floor of the barn, then moved our work inside. We attached plank floors with wooden pegs in the threshing area; restored the granary and tool room; and placed packed earth floors in the animal stall area on the ground level. We constructed new doors based on historic photographs, field studies, and an extant door—one of three types used for the barn.

The restoration of the farmhouse and barn did not represent a complete recreation of the Firestone farm. Additional elements helped establish the environment of an operating farm of the 1880s. We reproduced a pump house next to the farmhouse using historic photographs, archeological evidence, and field research data. We also acquired a period outhouse in Ohio, restored it, and placed it in the yard behind the farmhouse. We then erected a chicken house—modeled after examples shown in agricultural literature of the period—adjacent to the barn, as well as a fence enclosure for hogs. To complete the experience, we built more than 7,000 linear feet of fencing to match historic photographs of fields at the farm’s original site.

Over a period of almost two and a half years, we moved the Firestone farm from Ohio to Michigan and meticulously and accurately restored it to its physical condition of a century earlier. The process required an understanding of the historical record, the careful handling of tens of thousands of historic architectural objects, and the reproduction of thousands of missing elements. It may not have equaled Peter Firestone's feat 160 years earlier, but it did honor his effort, as well as that of the millions of 19th-century farmers who contributed to our country's agricultural heritage.

Blake D. Hayes is former Conservator of Historic Structures at The Henry Ford, including during the move and reconstruction of the Firestone farmstead. This post was adapted by Saige Jedele, Associate Curator, Digital Content, at The Henry Ford, from an article in Volume 14, Number 2 of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Herald (1985).

Ohio, 1980s, 20th century, research, Greenfield Village history, Greenfield Village buildings, Greenfield Village, Firestone family, farms and farming, conservation, collections care, by Saige Jedele, by Blake D. Hayes, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford