"Something Old, Something New. . . " continues the Balch institute's tradition of presenting timely, interesting and informative exhibitions on our multicultural heritage. Of the three major celebrations of the cycles of life (birth, marriage, death), weddings tend to be the most exuberant and traditional. What better place to see the blending of cultures than at a wedding? And, what better way for the Institute to illustrate cultural continuity and change than with an exhibition of the many varieties of ethnic weddings that have occurred, and still continue to occur, in this land.
We hear so much about the breakdown of the American family in our media that an exhibition on the many ways of creating a family seemed to be overdue. I hope that this exhibit will serve as a reminder, and perhaps even an inspiration, to young people to cherish their "roots" and the values and practices that go with them.
M. Mark Stolarik
Modern Bride is proud to Co-sponsor this exhibition with the Balch institute be cause ethnicity is the very essence of what weddings are all about. it is as integral a part of this rite of passage as the words "I do." The ties that bind one partner to the other are manifold, but somewhere in the mix there will be a special cultural, religious, national, linguistic or regional bond. Contemporary mobility, inherent in the pursuit of education and employment opportunities, increases the likelihood of marriage between those of diverse backgrounds. Whether the match is between two persons who share a particular community of faith and/or national origin, or those who seem to have little history in common, each one brings to the union certain personally meaningful traditions. Many are portrayed in the photographs and artifacts that have been collected for this exhibit.
These are wonderful customs representing a multitude of legacies passed from one generation to another. The special wedding rituals presented in this exhibit are evidence of how much influence ethnic practices have on wedding celebrations to this very day. Many of the nearly 2.5 million couples marrying each year will have formal weddings that incorporate some specific ethnic traditions. Whether discovering roots almost obliterated by years of integration or acknowledging familiar family customs, couples want to affirm their origins when they exchange marriage vows. This exhibit provides inspiration and information to help them accomplish that goal.
After November 28, 1987, "Something Old, Something New: Ethnic Weddings in America" will travel to other cities. In doing so, it will provide engaged couples and their families throughout the United States with a unique opportunity to observe the sentiment, the rituals and the consummate joy expressed in ethnic wedding celebrations past and present.
Cele Goldsmith Lalli
The Museum has been fortunate to have had the help of a large number of individuals, organizations and institutions in developing the exhibition. Our cosponsor, Modern Bride, has made an especially important contribution, particularly Cele G. Lalli, editor-in-chief. We are also grateful to The William Penn Foundation, The L. J. And Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, The Arcadia Foundation and After Six, Inc. for their support for the exhibition and catalog.
We especially wish to thank Katrina Thomas, the photographer whose photos form the basis for the Balch installation (and comprise the traveling exhibition) for her enthusiasm and hard work throughout the preparation of the exhibition and catalog. Associate Curator Ruth Leppel also deserves special praise for her exhaustive research assistance and extensive networking with families and community groups to secure wedding artifacts.
Museum Designer Steven Tucker created an exceptional design for the exhibition, bringing isolated objects together in a meaningful way with unusual impact.
We also wish to acknowledge the contributors to the catalog. Philip V. R. Tilney was kind enough to allow a 1970 article from Indiana Folklore to be adapted for inclusion here as a case study. Paula Benkart, Hilda Rogers and Jill Meisner made important contributions to the clarity and flow of the catalog through their copy editing skills. loan Guerin designed a visually exciting and appropriate format for the catalog, printed by Garrison Printing. Margaret Lee designed an excellent exhibition announcement.
We are very grateful to the numerous lenders to the original exhibition as it appeared at The Balch Institute.
Institutional lenders include: Holy Trinity Armenian Church, St. George Greek Cathedral of the Delaware Valley, Yumi Katsura Bridal House, Temple Judea Museum of Keneseth Israel Reform Congregation, Korean Association of Philadelphia, Manor Junior College Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center, Ukrainian Education and Cultural Center, American Museum of immigration, Harambee Institute Inc., Danish Immigrant Museum, Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center at the Balch Institute, Adela's Bridal Shop, and the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.
Individual lenders to the show include: Olha M. Bilynsky, Chan Sokhan and Nhean Herng, Hanshi Deshbandhu, Lillian Willoughby, Mary Imbergia, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Marfione, Sumiko Kobayashi, Paul and Susan Binkis, Elsa Wachs, Gloria Boni I la-Santiago, Marife Mora, Irene Wildgrube, Mary Lou Johnson, Richard Hall, Joe Solowiejczyk, Maria Kasian, Florence Lee Jung, Patricia Proscino Lusk, Anatole Prasicky, Rudine and Ornowali Brown, Anna Phelgye, Nadine Karnow, Betty M. Louchheim, Paul and Joanna Mattis, Martha Wagar, Susan Madden, Helene Cincebox, Myrna Tatar, David and Miriam Feigenbaum, Mildred Lizenbaum, Mel Epstein, Anne Stolarik, Anne U. Kobayashi, and Michael and Marijka Jula
Those artifacts in the show from the Institute's own collections were given by the following donors: Evi Bossanyi Loeb, Raymond Bodziak, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Jones, Miriam Ball, Josephine Isabella, Nicolina Di Sciascio, Marie Ianni, Michael Kostryckyj and Mrs. Ivan Popovich.
M. Mark Stolarik provided guidance throughout the development of the exhibition and catalog. Museum interns Virginia Parks and Ariadne Valsamis were exceptionally helpful in research and planning. The Balch Library staff, particularly Patricia Proscino Lusk and Donna Kutnick, secured hard-to-find reference material. Evelyn Day of the Museum staff, Gregory Zeitlin, Kim Tieger, Charles Adams and Arnold Thomas offered valuable technical support.
We are also grateful to many others who provided contacts, advice and other assistance: Theresa Bucchieri; Stephanie Dahl; Helen Davis Picher (William Penn Foundation); Patricia Pelehach; Rachel Quill; Jillian Steiner Sandrock (L. J. & Mary C. Skaggs Foundation); Laurie Stern (Bed of Roses); Suzanne Gould, Mary Ann Cavlin, Debrarose Altomare (Modern Bride); The Very Reverend Haigazoun Melkonian (Holy Trinity Armenian Church); Yang Sam (South East Asia Mutual Assistance Association Coalition); Cecilia Moy Yep (Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp.); Mitzie Mackenzie (Chinese Christian Center); Fr. Demetrios Katerlis (St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral); Bernard Croke; Rosalind Falco; Mika Inatome (Yumi Katsura Bridal House); Christine Izak (Manor Junior College Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center); Judy Maslin (Temple Judea Museum of Keneseth Israel Reform Congregation); Orysia Hewka (Ukrainian Education and Cultural Center); Dr. Karen Leppel; Dr. Eve Leppel and Dr. Thomas Walsh; Mayum Munir (Masjid Nur); Dr. Shirley Parham (Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum); Harriet Binder; Lonnie McGuire, Diana Pardue, Marcy Cohen (American Museum of Immigration); John Skief (Harambee Institute Inc.); June Sampson (Danish Immigrant Museum); Kim lee Sue; Penny Wong Sing; Amelia Sacilowski; Linda Steinberg and Elaine Silverman (National Museum of American Jewish History); Abigail D. Chapman; Lily Schwartz (Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center); Sandy Basanow (Society for the Promotion of Kalmyk Culture); Lena Carlafon, Karin Persson and Clarissa Solmssen (American Swedish Historical Museum).
Gail F. Stern
Pamela B. Nelson