Papers relating to Virginia "Jimmie" Booth's career as a buyer for Lord and Taylor, where she worked for Dorothy Shaver. Papers include correspondence; photographs; original drawings by designer Clare Potter; printed material including articles, magazine advertising and catalogs; a scrapbook of clippings and memorabilia.
Scope and Contents:
Collection primarily documents Booth's career as a buyer for Lord & Taylor. It includes correspondence, photographs, drawings, clippings, and a scrapbook. There are materials relating to American born designers Claire McCardell (May 24, 1905- March 22, 1958) and Clare Potter (July 7, 1903- January 5, 1999). There is also information relating to European designers including Irish born Sybil Connolly (January 24, 1921- May 6, 1998) and Swedish born Countess Ebba Von Eckermann (April 19, 1921-February 2, 2018). In addition, materials relating to textile manufacturing and weaving, particularily in Ireland, can also be found among the materials. The collection is arranged in seven series: Series 1, Personal Papers, 1936-1999, undated; Series 2, Hillandale Handweavers, 1948-1949, 1972, undated; Series 3, Lord & Taylor Country Clothes Shop, 1950s-1960s, undated; Series 4, Irish Materials, 1958-1999, undated; Series 5, American Designers, 1944-2000, undated; Series 6, European Designers and Textile Manufacturers, 1955-1997, undated; and Series 7, Miscellaneous, 1962.
Collection is organized into seven series.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1936-1999, undated
Series 2: Hillandale Handweavers, 1948-1949, 1972, undated
Series 3: Lord & Taylor Country Clothes Shop, 1950s-1960s, undated
Series 4: Irish Materials, 1958-1999, undated
Series 5: American Designers, 1944-2000, undated
Series 6: European Designers and Textile Manufacturers, 1955-1997, undated
Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1962
Biographical / Historical:
Virginia Wagoner Booth, known as Jimmie Booth, was born June 20, 1922 in Bronxville, New York, the daughter of John and Josephine Wagoner. She studied printing and engineering at Syracuse University. An engineer with Pratt & Whitney during World War II, she entered the fashion world as a bridal consultant at G. Fox in Hartford in 1945.
In 1952 Dorothy Shaver, of Lord & Taylor, hired Booth for the Hartford store and asked her to develop and manage The Country Clothes Shop in the 5th Avenue store in New York. There, Booth collaborated with and promoted such American designers as Clare Potter, Bonnie Cashin, and Claire McCardell. Booth also worked extensively with European designers.
Married to H. Robert Booth (Bob) Booth of Hillandale Handweavers, Jimmie promoted the use of both American and European hand-loomed fabrics by her designers. She frequently modeled the fashions herself. Her casual, yet elegant, style is the epitome of "the American Look" still popular today.
In 1998, Jimmie Booth, Dorothy Shaver, and other creators of The American Look were saluted in the exhibition, "Designing Women: American Style 1940-1960" at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
In addition to her design work, Booth was a violinist with the Hartford Symphony in the 1940s, and later became the chef at the Brooklyn, Connecticut, Golden Lamb Buttery, which she and her husband, H. Robert Booth (Bob), owned and operated. She died January 2011 at the age of eighty-nine in Hartford, Connecticut.
Materials in the Archives Center
Dorothy Shaver Papers NMAH.AC0631
Carolyn and Donald Grepke Paper Doll Collection NMAH.AC0752
Estelle Ellis Collection NMAH.AC0423
Joseph Magnin Poster Collection NMAH.AC0355
Ming-Ju Sun Garfinckel's Fashion Drawings NMAH.AC0897
Henry Booth Collection, NMAH.AC0726
Priscilla of Boston Collection NMAH.AC0557
California Shop Records NMAH.AC0572
National Cotton Council of America Photographs and Films NMAH.AC01177
Division of Costume Audiovisual Collection NMAH.AC0801
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana NMAH.AC0060
The collection was donated by Virginia "Jimmie" Booth, in May 2000.
The collection is open for research use.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.