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Three ways to celebrate Phyllis Diller on her 100th birthday

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Thu, 15 Jun 2017 17:57:36 +0000
<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p>Phyllis Diller, the groundbreaking stand-up comic, would have been celebrating her 100th birthday on July 17, 2017. The Smithsonian honored her career earlier this year as we worked with hundreds of volunteers to digitize and transcribe Diller's&nbsp;<a href="">gag file</a>, a large cabinet where she kept her jokes categorized by theme. Now that all of her jokes are available to the public, here are some ways you can celebrate her birthday!</p><p><img alt="A color photograph of a blond woman in a shift with buttons down the front, a cigarette, and blue gloves. She is laughing on what appears to be some sort of television set with 70s decorations behind her. The picture is bordered by cream lace with illustrated flowers stuck on each corner. This is set on a bright red background." class="auto-caption media-image img__fid__22511 img__view_mode__media_large" rel="lightbox" src="" style="width: 435px; height: 550px;" title="Phyllis Diller in the middle of one of her iconic, larger-than-life laughs. This picture is from the souvenir photo program &quot;Phyllis Diller Loves You,&quot; which includes Diller's life story, family lore, recipes, and information about how she designed her elaborate costumes."></p><p><strong>1. Dress for the Occasion</strong></p><p>Phyllis Diller knew how to dress to make a statement. She was known for her wild hair and her even more eccentric performance outfits. A fun, birthday-worthy example of her style in our collection are the white fringed cowboy-style boots she wore to Bob Hope's 93rd birthday party in 1996. Diller paired these boots with a knee-length fur coat and a pink scarf around her neck as she danced with Hope to celebrate his birthday.</p><p><img alt="A pair of white leather cowboy boots with fringe" class="auto-caption media-image img__fid__22517 img__view_mode__media_large" rel="lightbox" src="" style="width: 550px; height: 423px;" title="Diller and Hope were lifelong friends. She costarred with him in three movies and several television specials, as well as joining him for two USO Christmas tours."></p><p><img alt="A black and white photograph of a seated man and woman. The man wears a hat and military-esque clothes. The woman wears a white top and leans into the man, laughing " class="auto-caption media-image img__fid__22513 img__view_mode__media_large" rel="lightbox" src="" style="width: 403px; height: 550px;" title="Bob Hope with Phyllis Diller and her iconic wild hair"></p><p><strong>2. Tell A Joke</strong></p><p><img alt="A white card with black typewriter text on it" class="auto-caption media-image img__fid__22518 img__view_mode__media_large" rel="lightbox" src="" style="width: 550px; height: 334px;" title="Phyllis Diller had a joke about almost everything. This one comes from the category &quot;Birthdays&quot; in Drawer 7 of her gag file."></p><p>Whether you think a joke about birthdays (Drawer 7), old age (Drawer 12), gift ideas, or greeting cards (both Drawer 37) would be most appropriate for Phyllis Diller's 100th birthday, look no further than her own gag file! Thanks to the help of over 1,200 volunteers, the Smithsonian celebrated Women's History Month this past March by digitizing and transcribing all 52,569 joke cards in Phyllis Diller's gag file. All of these jokes are now available for your enjoyment through the <a href="" target="_blank">Smithsonian's Collections Search Center</a>&nbsp;and the <a href="" target="_blank">Smithsonian Transcription Center</a>.</p><p><img alt="A white card with black typewriter text on it" class="auto-caption media-image img__fid__22519 img__view_mode__media_large" rel="lightbox" src="" style="width: 550px; height: 334px;" title="One character Diller used frequently in her comedy was her mythical husband, who she referred to as Fang. He was always depicted as a lazy, bumbling fool."></p><p><strong>3. Learn More or Reminisce</strong></p><p>When I started working on this project, I didn't know much about Phyllis Diller or her career. If you are in the same boat that I was one year ago, you can&nbsp;<a href="">learn seven fascinating things</a>&nbsp;about her on the blog. After this project went live, many people shared personal stories about Diller on Twitter and Facebook. A few even reached out to the museum to share their stories, including a couple of women who worked for Diller during the height of her career. It was exciting to hear their stories about traveling with Diller or simply spending time with Diller around her home. I learned from Ingrid Chapman, the woman hired by Diller to create the organizational system, that the jokes were not always as meticulously organized. Chapman explained that the jokes were originally recorded in a book, which made it harder to find specific gags in a hurry.</p><p>Take some time today on her birthday to learn more about Phyllis Diller, or perhaps refresh your memory, and explore the many&nbsp;<a href="">objects in the museum's collection</a>&nbsp;that represent her career.</p><p><em>Hanna BredenbeckCorp is a project assistant in the Division of Culture and the Arts.</em></p><p><em>The digitization of Phyllis Diller's index card collection was generously supported by Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan.</em></p></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-related-user field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Related Staff Member:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/bredenbeckcorp">BredenbeckCorp</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-posted-date field-type-datetime field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Posted Date:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><span class="date-display-single">Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 08:00</span></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-blog-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Categories: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/blog-tags/collections">From the Collections</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1"><a href="/blog-tags/womens-history">Women&#039;s History</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2"><a href="/blog-tags/film-television">Film &amp; Television</a></li></ul></div><div class="feedflare"><a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a> <a href=""><img src="" border="0"></img></a></div><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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