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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Cowboys & Boomerangs:
Fabrics of the Fabulous 50s

America in the 1950s was at a crossroads, caught between technology and tradition. At the same time that it was looking ahead to the promise of "better living through chemistry," it was also looking behind, with nostalgia, to a distant past.

Home decorative fabrics of the era reflected this duality. Printed textiles included images of modern art and science, like mobiles and Sputniks, along with Old West motifs, and the folk paintings of Grandma Moses.

Often, these radically different designs were used together: boomerang drapes in the living room, with cowboy curtains in the den. The former symbolized a faith in speed and science, the latter a yearning for a slower-paced home on the range.

The exhibit explores these opposing trends, as well as the influence of popular culture on this art for the masses. Decorative objects from the period complement the fabrics, which are from the collection of Michele Palmer, who curated the exhibit.

For more information, go to:

Click Here to see selected fabrics
from the collection of Michele Palmer

Babbidge Library
Gallery on the Plaza