Free exhibits are currently On View at the library and at the Coronado Community Center (C3) Gallery.
A love for antiques and a passion for collecting brought Joan and Bill Helton together in the 1960s. They met while working in the antique business in San Diego. In the 1970s they closed their Adams Avenue antique shop to dedicate their time to their hobbies, but a twist of fate forced them to rebuild their fire-damaged Victorian home. This experience gave them the necessary construction and woodworking skills they would later use as miniature craftsmen.
Bill’s interests included toys, stamps, coins, postcards, and political memorabilia. Joan collected dolls, buttons, apothecary jars, and vintage sewing items. Joan was a longtime member of the San Diego Doll Club. With a collection of some five hundred dolls, she eventually turned her skills toward doll house furniture and accessories. Along with several other Doll Club members, she helped form the local chapter of The National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (N.A.M.E.) Joan was the visionary and decorator, while Bill was the builder, cabinetmaker, and electrician. Bill’s interest in Western and Native American artifacts inspired several displays, and their proximity to San Diego’s Old Town led to many historical depictions.
In 1977, they built a version of the La Casa de Estudillo in Old Town for the N.A.M.E National Convention in San Diego. It was presented as the raffle prize and was eventually shipped to San Antonio, Texas. That was the first of many commissioned projects they accepted including Gump’s in San Francisco and a two-story replica of Tiffany’s in New York. Over the next 20 years, Joan and Bill were prominent members of the California miniature scene, first as collectors/hobbyists, then as well-respected craftsmen. They created over 70 shops/displays and as their business expanded, they had a repertoire of over 250 miniature items for sale at shows and conventions until the 1990s.
Upon retiring a second time, Joan turned her collecting enthusiasm to vintage buttons, which she collected until her death in 2015. Bill has continued pursuing his interests in buttons, political memorabilia, and Asian art. He has maintained his membership with the San Diego Button Club and still attends their meetings at the ag
One hundred years ago the fashions and lifestyle of the “flappers” were in full swing. The death of millions of young men in World War I caused many youths to believe
World events also influenced fashion and jewelry styles. The Exposition des Arts Decoratif in Paris in 1925 launched the popularity of Art Deco in architecture, furniture, jewelry, and dress ornamentation. King Tutankhamun’s tomb and treasures were found two years earlier in Egypt in 1923. The styles of these Egyptian objects became very popular (as did movies about classical Egypt). The color of “Eau de Nil” (water of the Nile) green became a popular color for dresses and gowns of the mid-1920s – to reappear on the dresses of Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren in costumes by Edith Head in the 1950s and 60s.
The items on exhibit provide a window into the tastes of the young women of the Jazz Age and the new consumer items available to them. While corsets are still present in advertisements, this period and the few years before was the first time women were not tightly bound by their undergarments. The bra as shown was typical of those in the 1920s, where the flat-chested look was desired along with the drop-waisted dress. By contrast, the flapper skirt was short, worn for daytime or informally.
Make-up and lipstick had become popular for the young woman – a novelty. The vanity cases became an item of necessity as well as something to show off. The big hats of the 1910s became tight-fitting cloche hats, skull caps, or even just scarves tied around the head. Long ropes of pearls and bead necklaces were another signature.
The Spirit of Spring Exhibit by the San Diego Watercolor Society
As His Eyes Saw It
Photos by Major Morris, educator and photographer from the US northeast in the 1960s
During his long life of 95 years, Major Morris was a photographer, a World War II veteran, a college professor, a Harvard University graduate and a champion of education.
Major Morris grew up in Cincinnati's poverty-stricken West End during the Great Depression. He dropped out of high school at 15 to help support his family after his grandmother’s death. Morris served in the Po Valley of Northern Italy in the segregated US Army during WWII. After the war he worked several menial positions while trying to continue to educate himself at night school, among others at MIT. He was accepted to Harvard University at the age of 55 and got his master’s degree in 1976. During his working life and time at Harvard he supplemented his income as a freelance photographer. Morris went on to become a college administrator and professor teaching education and was a lifelong champion of nurturing children’s dreams of a better future regardless of their circumstances. Major Morris died in 2016.
World War II: Portraits of Honor
Photos by Jeffery Rease
Coronado's Tom Rice is one of the veterans featured in the 'World War II Portraits of Honor' project, a celebration of the Greatest Generation which aims to capture the images and stories of veterans of the second world war.