Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1940

  • Work on this object began.

2018

2020

  • You found it!

Tablecloth, Presidents' Signatures, 1940

This is a Tablecloth. It was designed by Marguerita Mergentime.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It has been able to spend time at the museum on loan from Virginia Bayer.

It is dated 1940. Its medium is cotton.

These “talking” tablecloths reveal Mergentime’s strength as a graphic designer in her creative use of typography and careful composition of text in its relationship to the table and diner. Her textiles were expressive, capturing the essence of a word or phrase through a signature or typeface. In Food Quiz, questions with their answers were jumbled, leaving it up to the diners 1939to make the correct matches (answers were highlighted). Food for Thought, produced for Lord & Taylor, was a true test for American history buffs with answers contained in an accompanying booklet.

This tablecloth was part of a display of Mergentime’s linens and table settings at Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia during the 1940 Convention of the National Republican Party. She spoke at the store on June 26, 1940.

It is credited Courtesy of Mergentime Family Archive.

Its dimensions are

L x W: 169.5 × 128.9 cm (5 ft. 6 3/4 in. × 50 3/4 in.)

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318793348/ |title=Tablecloth, Presidents' Signatures, 1940 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 March 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>