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Ho lidays o n Dis p lay

introduction 

i


con ten ts

Introduction: Creating the Holiday Spirit

chapter one d i s p l ay wo r l d chapter two M e c h an i cal , E l e ctr ical, an d Em otio nal Effe cts chapter three N i g h t t i m e at N e la Par k chapter four Me c h an i z at i o n Tak e s Co m m an d chapter five Fl oat i n g S p h e r e s o f In flue n ce chapter six Tu d o r Tow n to Tr act Ho m e epilogue Wh e r e t h e S to r e s We r e

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4 20 32 46 74 106 126

Notes

141

Credits

147

151

Acknowledgments


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opposite

Reindeer relax in the kitchen, Cozy Cloud Cottage,

Marshall Field & Co., 1948

Children’s souvenir booklet, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Montgomery Ward & Co., 1939

popularity grew with each passing year.15 Moss delegated the responsibility for creating a character, a story, and a window display to JoAnna Osborne, a young stylist and interior sketch artist. A recent graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, Osborne’s pen and watercolor renderings of domestic interiors had attracted the attention of Field’s display managers, who offered her a job in 1943. Asked by Moss to create a “little creature,” Osborne reflected upon the memory of a beloved Norwegian Uncle who wore a pork-pie hat. She described her idea to her husband Addis Osborne, an artist and Art Institute lecturer, who drew up several

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h o l i d ays o n d i s p l ay

sketches of the character that she thought would become “Uncle Marshall,” a sprightly if somewhat rotund elf with wings. In conference with Moss and other executives Osborne’s “Uncle Marshall” became “Uncle Mistletoe.”16 The Christmas window set introduced Uncle Mistletoe as Santa Claus’s Chicago emissary. The story was set to verse by Helen McKenna, a store sign shop artist. Entitled A Christmas Dream, McKenna’s verse followed the meter of Clement Moore’s The Night Before Christmas. Osborne recalled that she and McKenna “wanted something else with a cadence” that viewers “would say to themselves.” The stratagem worked, confirmed by Osborne who picked up the habit of reading the moving lips of passersby in front of the window glass.17 The first Uncle Mistletoe flew by himself, though in later treatments he visited the homes of Chicago children by flying carpet, a feat understandable given his origin in Field’s interior display studio. In 1948 Osborne and Moss gave him a wife, “Aunt Holly,” and a home, the “Cozy Cloud Cottage.” It was all too easy for Moss, who made a residence for Uncle Mistletoe, Aunt Holly, and their guest Santa Claus in the “Modern House,” one of two spacious residential display settings that filled either end of Field’s eighth floor. In 1947 Moss had outfitted the Modern House as a furniture showcase for designer T. H. RobsjohnGibbings, who had attracted attention with Goodbye, Mr. Chippendale, a critique of Americans’ taste in antiquities, Tudor towns, mission furniture, and the Bauhaus. Field’s invited Robsjohn-Gibbings


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Profile for Princeton Architectural Press

Holidays on Display  

For millions of people the world over, the annual visit to a department store to view the festive window displays and visit Santa in his win...

Holidays on Display  

For millions of people the world over, the annual visit to a department store to view the festive window displays and visit Santa in his win...

Profile for papress