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's Archive for March, 2009

Edward Bransten: Tea Taster

I have been processing the papers of the Haas-Bransten family, members of the San Francisco Jewish “aristocracy,” and was struck by this clipping from one of the scrapbooks: Now, Edward Bransten Sr. was an extraordinary man. He was born in San Francisco in 1870 to Joseph and Jane Brandenstein (the name change to Bransten came [...]

The Passion of Things

I really try hard not to start bawling at work, I really do. But sometimes, you can’t help but get choked up at the beauty of the objects in our care, and the stories which accompany them. That’s what happened to me today. We’d been filming a documentary about the Magnes, its collections, and some [...]

Another Successful Magnes Event

We all gathered in the large and dimly lit auditorium at Harold Way, which really added to the ambiance and theme for the evening. At one point the animation was synced up to the WINDOWS, which gave me the goosebumps, and stopped my colleague and I in our tracks, and we couldn’t help but stare. Similar to what I believe a real sighting might feel like. Afterward, Michael Caplan came up to me and admitted how powerful the evening was…I suspect Ghosts gave us all the goosebumps.

For the love of billheads…

A confession: I love billheads. You know the old receipts companies used to use between, say, the 1860s and the 1930s or 1940s. Some of them are so lovely with their illustrations and engravings. I especially admire illustrations of old company buildings, but illustrations of products can also be quite wonderful. We have a range [...]