This post was written by Emily Daniel and Rebecca Durgin, graduate students in the Smithsonian-Mason History of Decorative Arts Masters Program. Emily and Rebecca are also Graduate Research Assistants at the National Museum of American History Library. After the apparent last snow of the season (hopefully!), Spring is finally coming to Washington, D.C. Brides-to-be always flock to the District this time of year with the promise of cherry blossom engagement photos. In more »
Recently while browsing the Trade Literature Collection, I came across the Wanamaker Diary from 1910. It instantly caught my eye because I remember going to the Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia as a child with my grandmother. Those shopping trips, which included a ride on the trolley, always felt like an adventure.
After recently experiencing two feet of snow and really cold temperatures, I found myself wishing for the much warmer temperatures of summer. Because there are so many subjects represented in the Trade Literature Collection, it didn’t take long before I found catalogs advertising sports equipment. And that made me think of much warmer weather to come in just a few, short months.
Now that it’s cold outside, this is the perfect time to think of warmer temperatures and perhaps a vacation. The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a lot of railway-related catalogs but not all of them are about equipment and supplies. Some are directed towards the tourist, like this nineteenth century catalog by Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Indian River Railway.
With just a few days left until Christmas, everyone is rushing around trying to accomplish last minute things, like finding the perfect gift. The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes several Dennison Mfg. Co. catalogs which give ideas for homemade party decorations and even handmade gifts.
One of the fun things about working with the Trade Literature Collection is that you never know what you might come across. There are hundreds of thousands of catalogs in the collection. The catalogs cover many, many subjects–food, clothing, toys, machine tools, boilers, lighting, medical supplies, and much more. But every so often, one catalog in particular might catch your eye. This time, it was a trade catalog by National Elgin Watch more »
With Halloween just around the corner, this is the perfect time to flip through candy-related trade catalogs. Today, with the mass production of products, we might not think about how things were made in the past. To make candy, ingredients needed to be grated, peeled, granulated, and cut. What machines performed that work? And how long did it take?
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