Sara Penn's Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook
Sara Penn’s Knobkerry: An Oral History Sourcebook, conceived and developed by writer and oral historian Svetlana Kitto, shows the history and influence of artist and designer Sara Penn (1927–2020) and Knobkerry, the store she founded and ran in New York City from 1960–90.
Penn transformed textiles and ethnographic objects into coveted patchwork garments and displays that registered the local effects of globalization, including increased access to objects of international trade, eager markets for fashionable multiculturalism, and a conflicted relationship to American identity. Knobkerry also served as an important physical and social space for a network of Black intellectuals, musicians, and artists, and for a broader subset of cultural and subcultural figures passing through New York.
This publication assembles fifteen long-form interviews with figures close to Penn and Knobkerry, conducted by Kitto between 2017 and 2020. It also includes extensive reproductions of archival materials related to Penn and the store, collected by Kitto in collaboration with Penn and a number of her close relations.