The Sewing Machine: its invention and development Introduction by Barbara Suit Janssen
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by Barbara Suit Janssen

We are delighted to announce that Grace Rogers Cooper's 1976 classic, The Sewing Machine: Its Invention and Development, long out of print, is once again accessible to researchers and the public. The Smithsonian Institution's mission of "diffusion of knowledge" is well suited to this web publication of a museum reference work. This pairing with the sewing machine trade literature already available on the Smithsonian Libraries Website (Sewing Machines: Historical Trade Literature in Smithsonian Collections) adds the documented history of sewing machines to its paper ephemera. Cooper's book provides a photographic guide to significant sewing machines and patent models in the collections of the National Museum of American History. This website gives easy access to Smithsonian collections for researchers and collectors to pursue their own research questions.

Grace Rogers Cooper was the curator of the Division of Textiles from 1948 to 1976. She was responsible for many exhibitions on textile history, including the opening show in the new National Museum of History and Technology in 1964 (now the National Museum of American History.) She was also the author of The Copp Family Textiles, 1971, and Thirteen-Star Flags: Keys to Identification, 1973.

Barbara Suit Janssen
Museum Specialist, Textile Collection
Natural Museum of American History
Behring Center

February 2004