Press "Enter" to skip to content

Smithsonian Libraries / Unbound

Shading Us From the Elements, 19th Century Style

As I removed the trade catalog from its protective envelope, the awnings on the front cover caught my eye. It reminded me of visits to my grandmother as a child and the awnings over the windows of so many houses and stores in her neighborhood. Once I opened the catalog, and just as the title suggests, I realized Murray & Baker sold much more than awnings.

Handwritten Notes Left Behind from a Steamship Journey

Sometimes, planning a trip is as much fun as the trip itself. The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes catalogs that might have been used to plan vacations. Some are about summer and winter resorts while others describe railway and steamship travel. Let’s take a look at a late 19th Century trip along the Great Lakes.