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Category: Trade Literature

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.

Delivery Cars: Making the Rounds in the Early 20th Century

For the past few months, many Americans have relied on delivery vehicles to transport essential goods, like food and other household products. And okay, maybe a non-essential pair of shoes, a game or a book or two. But delivery vehicles are nothing new. Let’s take a look at delivery cars through the lens of this early 20th Century trade catalog.

Sliding into Spring Fashion…and More in 1915

With just one glance at the front cover of this trade catalog, it appears like Spring is on the way. A lady is surrounded by flowers. Purple ribbons accessorizing her outfit are gently blowing in the breeze. Let’s take a look at what consumers might have stumbled across in 1915 while perusing this mail order/department store catalog.