Peerless: Cars from the Past

Cars are part of our everyday lives. For many of us, it would be hard to imagine life without cars. So it’s not surprising to browse the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library and find catalogs by automobile manufacturers. Let’s take a look at one of these catalogs, a catalog describing the 1910 car models for Peerless Motor Car Co.

Twelfth Night Traditions: A Cake, a Bean, and a King

Have you heard of a cake with a bean baked into it and the man who finds the bean becomes King for the night?  That is just one tradition associated with Twelfth Night, but there are many more customs and traditions for this holiday.  Several items mentioning Twelfth Night are located at the National Museum of American History Library, like the 1923 Dennison’s Christmas Book by Dennison Mfg. Co.

A Homemade Christmas

Do you make your own holiday decorations?  Have you ever wanted to make your own decorations?  Or do you remember making decorations and gifts in school as a child?  This 1923 booklet, Dennison’s Christmas Book, by Dennison Manufacturing Co. includes suggestions for Christmas, New Year, and Twelfth Night parties.  For now, let’s take a look at the Christmas decorations.

The Weight of a Bell

Did you know the 1876 Centennial Bell and the 1893 Columbian Liberty Bell both weighed thirteen thousand pounds? Do you know why? The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a Meneely Bell Co. catalog which answers that question and more.

“Comfortable Corsets” Circa 1893

This post was written by Cathy Rae Smith who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library. “Style, Comfort, Economy” touted the full color exposition pamphlet for Royal Worcester WCC Corsets.  The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago gave attendees an opportunity to see the leading products and advances of the time–including this company’s fully boned, tightly laced corsets described as offering “great FLEXIBILITY, always comfortable.”

A Three Month Tour…in 1908

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.”

Taking a Trip Back in Time with the Camera

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.

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