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News Release - March 23, 2009

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2009

Contacts: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282 mjeffers@sfpl.org

House of Nat: Fashion Tips from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

Humor exhibition at San Francisco Main Library Opens April 1, 2009

Join us for a flouncy romp through fashion history as interpreted by the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor. Fashion styles come and go, but humor remains to tell the story of where we have been and what we have endured at the hands of designers who have sought to shape our silhouettes. The House of Nat: Fashion Tips from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor is decidedly outré; artisans and humorists have been hard at work through the centuries, showing the faux pas and silly side of couture. Ill-conceived fashion and "we're happy that's over" fads are gathered in the exhibition with sections featuring lingerie, accessories, hair styles, the dandy and burlesque fashion, along with fashion icons in books, periodicals, and ephemera drawn from the collection plus artifactual baubles drawn from the San Francisco History Center. Presented by the Book Arts & Special Collections Center, the exhibition opens April 1, and continues through May 31, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

The Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor (SCOWAH) is a unique library resource located in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the Main Library. A non-circulating research collection, SCOWAH was presented as a gift to the San Francisco Public Library in 1947 by Nat Schmulowitz - attorney, bibliophile, humanitarian and snappy dresser. The collection is considered the largest wit and humor collection in a public library. The annual SCOWAH exhibition, which opens every April Fools Day, is a tribute to Mr. Schmulowitz's generosity and lifelong interest in the Library; the depth and breadth of the collection is highlighted in the display of treasures that may be found at the San Francisco Public Library.

Related exhibitions and programs

Main Library, 100 Larkin St.

White Gloves & Wolves Den: The Culture of Shopping in San Francisco

Drawn from the San Francisco History Center, this exhibition highlights the I. Magnin, City of Paris, Square & Circle Club Collections, and the Junior League Archives, with additional selections from the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, supplemented by period ephemera, including shopping bags, brochures, advertisements, and fashion illustrations.

Sixth Floor

Striking Silhouettes: Highs and lows from the history of Haute Couture and Cut the Couture - I'll Do It Myself: A sampling of fun and fashionable How-To books for discovering your own style.

Exhibitions presented by the Art, Music, and Recreation Center, Fourth Floor

Hats! Hats! Hats! is on view in the Fisher Children's Center, Second Floor.

Spring Bonnets craft activity on Saturday, April 11 at 2 p.m., in the Creative Center: participants design and assemble a hat or cap out of mixed materials. Open to children of all ages.

Thursdays at Noon: Dedicated Followers of Fashion Free Video Series, featuring Funny Face (5/14), Blow-Up! (5/21), and Zoolander (5/28) in the Koret Auditorium, Lower Level.

Sew Literary: Authors and fashion designers Savannah Knoop/Tinc., Meliza Banales/Missy Fuego and Chelsea Starr discuss the fashion life with Michelle Tea, May 26, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium, Lower Level.

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