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VIRGINIA "JIMMIE" BOOTH COLLECTION, 1936-1998  
#729

by: Anne Jones, 2003

(3 cu. ft.: 1 DB, 3 FltB, 2 F/O, 3 O/S Fldrs)

Biographical Note

Virginia Wagoner Booth, known as Jimmie Booth, studied printing and engineering at Syracuse University. An engineer with Pratt & Whitney during World War II, she entered the fashion world as a bridal consultant at G. Fox in Hartford in 1945.

In 1952 Dorothy Shaver, of Lord & Taylor, hired Booth for the Hartford store and asked her to develop and manage The Country Clothes Shop in the 5th Avenue store in New York. There, Booth collaborated with and promoted such American designers as Clare Potter, Bonnie Cashin, and Claire McCardell. Booth also worked extensively with European designers.

Married to Bob Both of Hillendale Weavers, Jimmie promoted the use of both American and European hand-loomed fabrics by her designers. She frequently modeled the fashions herself. Her casual, yet elegant, style is the epitome of "the American Look" still popular today.

In 1998, Jimmie Booth, Dorothy Shaver, and other creators of The American Look were saluted in the exhibition, "Designing Women: American Style 1940-1960" at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.

In addition to her design work, Booth was a violinist with the Hartford Symphony in the 1940s, and later became the chef at the Brooklyn, Connecticut, Golden Lamb Buttery, which she and her husband, Bob, own and operate.

Scope and Content

This collection is arranged in seven series:

Series 1: PERSONAL PAPERS, PHOTOS, AND MEMORIBILIA, 1936-1998

This series includes materials dating from Booth's college days and recent years.

Series 2: HILLANDALE BUSINESS, 1948, 1949, 1972, n.d.

This series consists of advertisements, articles, and correspondence.

Series 3: LORD & TAYLOR COUNTRY CLOTHES SHOP, 1952-1960s

Photographs of the store, advertising, news articles, original illustrations and catalogues.

Series 4: IRISH MATERIALS, 1950s-1960s

Articles and photographs of the weavers at work.

Series 5: EUROPEAN DESIGNERS, 1955, 1967, 1997, n.d.

Articles and photographs related to Donald Davies and Von Eckerman.

Series 6: AMERICAN DESIGNERS, 1948, 1951-1957, n.d.

The bulk of this series consists of a large number of original sketches by Clare Potter, including fabric swatches. There is also a large scrapbook of Potter's featuring articles and advertisements.

Series 7: MISCELLANEOUS, 1962

An issue of the trade publication, The Ambassador.

Provenance

This collection was donated to the Archives Center in May, 2000 by Virginia "Jimmie" Booth.

Related Collections

DOROTHY SHAVER PAPERS, ca. 1922-1959, #671

Container List

Box Folder
Series 1: PERSONAL PAPERS, PHOTOS, AND MEMORABILIA, 1936-1998
1 1 College Related Materials
2 Syracuse University Publications
3 Souvenir Theatre Programs, 1930s
4 Horse Show Programs, 1953
5 Jimmie and Robert Booth
6 Newspaper Articles
7 Miscellaneous Photographs of Jimmie
1 8 Photos of Jimmie Modeling
2 4 Photos of Jimmie Modeling
1 9 Glamour Magazine, July 1959
10 Biography of Jimmie done as school project, 1997
11 Gallery Guide, "Designing Women" Show, 1998
12 Photographs: Jimmie at "Designing Women" Show, 1998
2 1 Articles from This Week, 1950-1952
2 Article about Jimmie from This Week, June 15, 1952
3 Jimmie in Sligo Ltd. ad in Town & Country, September 1955
Series 2: HILLANDALE BUSINESSES, 1948, 1949, 1972, n.d.
1 13 Photometric Article, Time magazine, June 7, 1948
14 New England Homestead, October 1949
15 Article about Hillandale, n.d.
16 Yankee Magazine, September 1972
17 Connecticut Magazine, October 1972
18 Hillandale Handweavers, Correspondence
19 Hillandale advertising
20 Hillandale Barn/Golden Lamb Buttery
Series 3: LORD & TAYLOR/COUNTRY CLOTHES SHOP, 1952-1960s
1 21 Country Clothes Shop - Interiors
22 Window Displays, 1950s
23-24 Window Displays, 1960s
25 Fashion Photographs
26 Lord &Taylor Advertising, "Pride of Ireland"
27 News Articles about the "Pride of Ireland" campaign
2 5 Lord & Taylor/Clare Potter Advertisement
6 Vogue, July 1952 - Lord & Taylor dress shown
7 Lord & Taylor Christmas Catalogue, 1956 - Country Clothes Shop featured
8 Lord & Taylor "British Fortnight," 1958
MpCD 1-3 Original Hood Illustrations for Advertisements, 1957-1958
Series 4: IRISH MATERIALS, 1950s-1960s
1 28 Time Magazine, 1963
29 Ireland Magazine, 1960s
30 General Interest Magazines
2 9 Photographs: Clothing Manufacturing, Shannon, Ireland [Probably Sligo, Ltd.]
10 Photographs: Clothing Manufacturing, Ireland
11 Photographs: Edward Doughty & Sons (Drogheda, Ltd.) Handweavers, Donegal
12 Photographs: Handweavers, Enniskerry, County Wicklow
13 Photographs: Irish Linen Workers
3 1 Photographs: Irish Craftsmen
2 Photographs: Irish women in Woolshop, Irish village
3 Photographs: Irish Scenes
4 News Articles about Irish Crafts, 1960s
5 News Articles about Ireland-General, 1960s
Series 5: EUROPEAN DESIGNERS, 1955, 1967, 1997, n.d.
3 6 Subil Conally: Article in Victoria Magazine, March 1997
7 Donald Davies: Advertising and Promotion
8 Donald Davies: Fabric Swatches
9 Donald Davies: Photographs: Davies' Designs
10 Davies Shopping Bag, and Photograph and Drawing of Store
11 Davies: Ads in American Newspapers
5 2 Donald Davies: Ad for Lord & Taylor, New York Times, 1967
3 12 Donald Davies: Articles in British Newspapers
13 Donald Davies: Featured in Magazines
14 Donald Davies: Management consultants report, 1955
5 1 Donald Davies: Photograph of Estate, Enmskerry
3 15 Donald Davies: Miscellaneous photographs of Davies and Others
16 Countess Von Eckermann & Weavers, Ripsa, Sweden
17 Countess Von Eckermann: Photographs of Von Eckermann Designs
18 Countess Von Eckermann: Newspaper Articles
19 Photographs of models in Irish fashions
Series 6: AMERICAN DESIGNERS, 1948, 1951-1957, n.d.
3 20 Claire McCardell: Article in Life Magazine, 7 June 1948, page 103
4 1 Clare Potter: Sketches: Resort, 1951-1952
2 Clare Potter: Sketches: Resort and Holiday, 1953
3 Clare Potter: Sketches, Fall 1954
4 Clare Potter: Lord & Taylor Ad
5 Clare Potter: News Article, n.d. Clare Potter obituary from the New York Times, 11 January 1999
6 Clare Potter: Photographs: Clare Potter and her home, includes Halsman contact sheet
6 -- Clare Potter: Scrapbook of Articles and Advertisements, 1955-1957
4 7 Phelps Leather Goods (William and Elizabeth Phelps)
8 Other American Designers
Series 7: MISCELLANEOUS, 1962
4 9 The Ambassador British Trade Publication, 1962, Number 9

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E-mail: archivescenter@si.edu
Revised:  June 19, 2003