Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer, and historian who works at the intersection of craft, design, and contemporary art. He has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design; Head of Research at the V&A; and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. His new book, Craft: An American History, will be published in January 2021.
The crown jewel in the 1937 Hollywood musical Ready, Willing, & Able is an elaborate song-and-dance number called “Too Marvelous for Words.” A lovestruck male theater producer, attempting to write a love letter by dictation, is surrounded by an army of female secretaries: hanging on his words, clinging to ladders, sitting at typewriters. As the music picks up tempo, the secretaries tap their keys in time.