This post was written by Cathy Rae Smith, who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library, and Alexia MacClain, a SIL staff member at the National Museum of American History Library. “Encumber yourself with as little baggage as possible.” Though this holds true today, it was offered as advice to the traveler joining one of Althouse’s Select Foreign Tours in 1908. Let’s revisit an era of leisurely steamship travel in which the motto boasted, “Even the very best is none too good for our guests.”
Today with digital cameras, it has become so easy to take lots of photos and instantly see the pictures. But let’s take a trip back in time to 1897 when cameras were a little different.
Has a red, white, and blue pole near a store ever caught your eye? It’s happened to me. I see the red, white, and blue pole but I don’t need to look at the sign. I know it means there must be a barber shop behind that window. We might be familiar with how barber shops looked later in the twentieth century. But what were they like in the first decade of the twentieth century? What did barber shop furniture look like over a hundred years ago? This trade catalog by Theo. A. Kochs Co. gives us the chance to go back to 1903 for a glimpse into barber shops of the past.
The inner workings of the watches are illustrated, from self-winding watches to spring wind-ups, as well as the quaintly named Trenton Movement and the Auburndale Rotary.
Iowa Seed Co., 36th Annual Catalogue, 1906. Back Cover. October is National Apple Month. The Libraries has an abundance of beautiful images of fruits and the like in its seed catalog collection, which is part of the trade literature collection in the National Museum of American History Library. I have to admit that as delicious as the depicted Wealthy Apple looks, and as intrigued as I might be about the Transparent Apple, what really strikes my fancy is that Majestic Tomato, front and center, for fifteen cents. Yum. —Elizabeth Periale
But the most ingenious and perhaps strange idea of all is the little tissue paper cat who is struggling to jump out of the bride-to-be’s bag.
September is National Chicken Month. It seems appropriate to feature this poultry catalog from 1874, which features an incubator that resembles an upright piano, as well as the impressive advertising tagline, “People Live and Learn.”
Support the Libraries