Ozark Nuthead Dolls

Ozark nuthead dolls“Hillbilly Wedding,” a hickory nut doll diorama, was made by Ben Smith and his wife, Ethel. The Smiths, who lived in the Fayetteville/Springdale area, made dolls and other souvenir items in the late 1940s which were sold locally and by mail order. The Smiths’ son Lavon helped with the souvenir business while attending the University of Arkansas, where he studied art.

The Shiloh Museum purchased “Hillbilly Wedding” from doll collector Hilda Geuther of Eureka Springs.

Ozark nuthead dolls

“Hillbilly Wedding,” a hickory nut doll diorama, was made by Ben Smith and his wife, Ethel. The Smiths, who lived in the Fayetteville/Springdale area, made dolls and other souvenir items in the late 1940s which were sold locally and by mail order. The Smiths’ son Lavon helped with the souvenir business while attending the University of Arkansas, where he studied art.

The Shiloh Museum purchased “Hillbilly Wedding” from doll collector Hilda Geuther of Eureka Springs.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Donated by Robert Winn

1939 Worlds' Fair jigsaw puzzleThis jigsaw puzzle was a souvenir of the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. With a slogan of “Dawn of a New Day,”  the fair opened on April 30, 1939, the anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. At cost of $160 million, the 1939 World’s Fair’s price tag was second only to the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. 

As part of the fair’s festivities, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company prepared a time capsule that was buried in 1938 and sealed in 1939. Among its contents are copies of Life magazine, a kewpie doll, a pack of cigarettes, a hat made by famed designer Lilly Daché, microfilmed copies of an almanac, a dictionary, and a Sears Roebuck catalog, and an RKO newsreel. The time capsule is scheduled to be reopened 5000 years after it was sealed, in 6939.

The 1939 World’s Fair ran through the fall of 1940 and attracted more than 44 million visitors.

1939 World's Fair, showing the Perisphere, Trylon, and Four Victories of Peace sculpture.

1939 World’s Fair, showing the Theme Center (No. 1 on the jigsaw puzzle) and Four Victories of Peace sculpture. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress


About the donor: Robert Winn (1903–1996) was a teacher, World War II veteran, local historian, and author. Born and raised near Winslow (Washington County), he graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and received a master’s degree from the University of Florida.

After spending much of his career as an educator in California, Winn returned home to Northwest Arkansas in 1970 where he established himself as a tireless chronicler of local history. He wrote seven books and countless articles for the Washington County Observer, the Northwest Arkansas Times, and Washington County Historical Society’s quarterly Flashback. Longtime Morning News of Northwest Arkansas journalist Kay Hall once wrote that Robert Winn “had more knowledge of state history and background information ‘in his head’ than many libraries have on their shelves.” 

Robert Winn was also a tireless supporter of the Shiloh Museum. Over the years, he donated hundreds of artifacts to the museum, including his diaries which contain daily entries spanning 70 years.

1939 Worlds' Fair jigsaw puzzle

Donated by Robert Winn

1939 Worlds' Fair jigsaw puzzleThis jigsaw puzzle was a souvenir of the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. With a slogan of “Dawn of a New Day,”  the fair opened on April 30, 1939, the anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. At cost of $160 million, the 1939 World’s Fair’s price tag was second only to the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. 

As part of the fair’s festivities, Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company prepared a time capsule that was buried in 1938 and sealed in 1939. Among its contents are copies of Life magazine, a kewpie doll, a pack of cigarettes, a hat made by famed designer Lilly Daché, microfilmed copies of an almanac, a dictionary, and a Sears Roebuck catalog, and an RKO newsreel. The time capsule is scheduled to be reopened 5000 years after it was sealed, in 6939.

The 1939 World’s Fair ran through the fall of 1940 and attracted more than 44 million visitors.

1939 World's Fair, showing the Perisphere, Trylon, and Four Victories of Peace sculpture.

1939 World’s Fair, showing the Theme Center (No. 1 on the jigsaw puzzle) and Four Victories of Peace sculpture. Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress


About the donor: Robert Winn (1903–1996) was a teacher, World War II veteran, local historian, and author. Born and raised near Winslow (Washington County), he graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky and received a master’s degree from the University of Florida.

After spending much of his career as an educator in California, Winn returned home to Northwest Arkansas in 1970 where he established himself as a tireless chronicler of local history. He wrote seven books and countless articles for the Washington County Observer, the Northwest Arkansas Times, and Washington County Historical Society’s quarterly Flashback. Longtime Morning News of Northwest Arkansas journalist Kay Hall once wrote that Robert Winn “had more knowledge of state history and background information ‘in his head’ than many libraries have on their shelves.” 

Robert Winn was also a tireless supporter of the Shiloh Museum. Over the years, he donated hundreds of artifacts to the museum, including his diaries which contain daily entries spanning 70 years.

Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP

Donated by Mike Donat

Pentax Spotmatic SP cameraThis Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP camera saw quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s current photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?

Donated by Mike Donat

Pentax Spotmatic SP camera

This Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic SP camera saw quite a bit of Northwest Arkansas history. It once belonged to longtime photojournalist Charles Bickford who worked for the Springdale News for almost 40 years. During that time he was one of the best-known photographers in Arkansas. Bickford’s subjects varied from Arkansas football, basketball, and baseball games to politicians speaking from the end of a pickup truck to everyday life events. Many of his photographs and negatives live on in Shiloh Museum’s photo archives as part of the Springdale News Collection.

Later in his career, Charles Bickford sold this Pentax camera to Mike Donat, also a photographer who, amongst a varied career, worked for the Northwest Arkansas Times, shot game and practice footage for the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, worked in Collier Drugstore’s photo department, and in 2006–2007, was the Shiloh Museum’s photographer and darkroom technician. Donat donated this camera, an iconic piece of local photojournalism history, to the Shiloh Museum in 2005.


Bo Williams, the Shiloh Museum’s current photographer/digitization project manager, shares his insight on this Pentax camera:

CAMERA INFO
– Pentax Spotmatic SP in black paint

– Originally released in 1964 but produced until 1976. However, this was likely manufactured pre-1970 due to the lens provided with it (Pentax was not very diligent with correlating their cameras’ serial numbers to specific production dates).
– Manufactured by Asahi Optical Co. in Japan but distributed by Honeywell in the United States

Pentax cameras were, and continue to be, the underdogs of the photographic world. Despite world-renowned quality and innovation, they just never seemed to find the fame that they deserved. Even the Spotmatic SP as seen above was one of the first SLR cameras to include a through-the-lens light meter, a feature that would be considered a given by today’s standards but would have been unheard of sixty years ago. As far as quality is concerned, their lenses are still considered some of the best ever produced, even when compared to contemporary offerings, while many of the camera bodies themselves are still very functional despite being 50+ years old. In fact, I use a Pentax film camera of a similar vintage myself for my own personal work and it has never let me down. Despite all of this, I would imagine that very few readers today will even recognize the Pentax name as they have always lived in the shadow of the likes of the more prevalent Canon and Nikon. This is why, when I was asked to select an artifact from our collection to be highlighted for the Artifact of the Month, I knew immediately what had to be done.

Now for a bit of camera history. Back in the day, photojournalists, press photographers, and war photographers often found themselves in precarious situations while being paid very little to do so. At the same time, budding camera manufacturers such as Pentax usually produced their cameras in two finishes; the cheaper, less durable and inherently more subtle black paint and the now infamous hallmark of any “vintage” camera, silver chrome. The aforementioned working photographers, needing to keep a low profile and some cash in their pockets to buy more film, tended to opt for the cheaper and stealthier black-paint cameras. This was all well and good for a while but then something interesting happened. These photographers found themselves at the precipice of history, quite fortuitously, with a camera in their hand. Their work went on to capture and define world history. The more notoriety the photographers gained, the more attention their cameras received. They became the rock stars of the photographic world and their cameras the equivalent of Fenders and Gibsons. These cameras that were once produced as a cost-saving measure have survived through history to become some of the most sought after and collectible pieces of photographic equipment today. A black-paint camera alone is enough to draw the eye of any photographer, but one worn down to the brass like this humble Japanese Pentax SP, proudly brandishing dents and scratches as testaments to surviving through history, is certainly worthy of attention in 2020. It might be a bit cliché, but the question has to be asked: can you imagine what this camera must have seen?

Toy Horses

Donated by Pat Vaughan

plastic toy horses, circa 1950sDuring the 1950s and 1960s, small plastic figurines like these horses were popular,  inexpensive toys. Four major manufacturers of these plastic playsets were Ajax, Archer, Beton/Bergen, and Lido. According to some sources, Beton/Berger made the first plastic horse figurine only to have their molds copied by the other manufacturers.

Of the four horses seen here, only one bears a manufacturers mark: Lido. Lido toy Company was formed in 1947 by Seymour and Effrem Arenstein, nephews of William Shaland, who owned one of the world’s largest large toy import companies. Lido produced a wide variety of toys until 1964 when it was sold to Bala Industries.

Donated by Pat Vaughan

During the 1950s and 1960s, small plastic figurines like these horses were popular,  inexpensive toys. Four major manufacturers of these plastic playsets were Ajax, Archer, Beton/Bergen, and Lido. According to some sources, Beton/Berger made the first plastic horse figurine only to have their molds copied by the other manufacturers.

Of the four horses seen here, only one bears a manufacturers mark: Lido. Lido toy Company was formed in 1947 by Seymour and Effrem Arenstein, nephews of William Shaland, who owned one of the world’s largest large toy import companies. Lido produced a wide variety of toys until 1964 when it was sold to Bala Industries.

Swanky Swigs

Donated by Susan and Orville Hall Jr.

Swanky SwigsThese small beverage glasses, popularly known as “Swanky Swigs,” belonged to the Orville and Janie Hall family of Fayetteville. The glasses seen here date from the 1930s through the 1950s. 

The term “Swanky Swig” was coined by Kraft Foods. In 1933 Kraft began offering their processed cheese spreads in reusable glass containers they called Swanky Swigs. It was a marketing strategy to encourage housewives to purchase Kraft’s products during the Great Depression, when money was tight. Once the jars were empty, they could be washed out and used as beverage glasses. The glass jars were produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Co. The first Swanky Swigs were hand painted. 

More than eighteen different Swanky Swig designs were produced from the 1930s into the 1970s, including stars, solid color bands, animals, and some of the floral patterns seen here. During their heyday, Swanky Swigs were produced for markets in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The popularity of Swanky Swigs led other food companies to produce their own version of a decorated reusable glass container, but among glass collectors, the term “Swanky Swig” is used only when referring to glasses made by Kraft. 

In 1974, Fayetteville’s Safeway grocery store advertised Kraft cheese spreads in Swanky Swigs: olive, pimento, olive-pimento, and pineapple cheese spreads were 49 cents each; cheese and bacon, and Old English flavored spreads were 55 cents each (Northwest Arkansas Times, November 24, 1974).

Donated by Susan and Orville Hall Jr.

These small beverage glasses, popularly known as “Swanky Swigs,” belonged to the Orville and Janie Hall family of Fayetteville. The glasses seen here date from the 1930s through the 1950s. 

The term “Swanky Swig” was coined by Kraft Foods. In 1933 Kraft began offering their processed cheese spreads in reusable glass containers they called Swanky Swigs. It was a marketing strategy to encourage housewives to purchase Kraft’s products during the Great Depression, when money was tight. Once the jars were empty, they could be washed out and used as beverage glasses. The glass jars were produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Co. The first Swanky Swigs were hand painted. 

More than eighteen different Swanky Swig designs were produced from the 1930s into the 1970s, including stars, solid color bands, animals, and some of the floral patterns seen here. During their heyday, Swanky Swigs were produced for markets in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The popularity of Swanky Swigs led other food companies to produce their own version of a decorated reusable glass container, but among glass collectors, the term “Swanky Swig” is used only when referring to glasses made by Kraft. 

In 1974, Fayetteville’s Safeway grocery store advertised Kraft cheese spreads in Swanky Swigs: olive, pimento, olive-pimento, and pineapple cheese spreads were 49 cents each; cheese and bacon, and Old English flavored spreads were 55 cents each (Northwest Arkansas Times, November 24, 1974).

Bear Brand Teddy Bear

Bear Brand Hosiery teddy bear, circa 1970sDonated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.

Donated by David Quin

This teddy bear was a marketing item for Bear Brand Hosiery Company. Founded in Chicago in 1893 as Paramount Knitting Company, the name was changed to Bear Brand in 1922. At first the company specialized in factory-made fleece-lined men’s socks, later branching out to include stockings for women and casual socks for the whole family.

In 1951, Bear Brand Hosiery opened a factory in south Fayetteville (the present-day location of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park on Cato Springs Road). According to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times (April 10, 1951), the new plant boasted 280 knitting machines, “hundreds of windows which afford proper lighting,” a special ventilation system, and an employee cafeteria. The knitting machines were to be run on a double shift, yielding an output of 2500 pairs of socks per day. At its full operation, Bear Brand anticipated putting 150 local people to work. 

Bear Brand also opened a plant in Siloam Springs in 1951, followed by factories in Bentonville in 1962 and Rogers in 1968. The 1960s saw Bear Brand’s focus shift to production of women’s pantyhose, making Northwest Arkansas a leader in the pantyhose industry. In 1970, Fayetteville hosted Bear Brand’s annual national sales meeting. Held at the Holiday Inn, the convention featured a “psychadelic, choreographed fashion show” which stressed the “hosiery needs of the liberated woman.” New hosiery styles shown included “those for the woman with a generous figure, thigh-high styles for future fashion in longuette (mid-length) dresses, an over-the-calf style for wearing with pants suits, styles for the young or early teen petite figure, and a nude pantyhose with only the waistband unconcealed.” (Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1970)

The Siloam Springs Bear Brand factory closed in 1975 and the Rogers plant in 1976, with the Bentonville and Fayetteville operations soon to follow.