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Montgomery Ward for Hearth and Home

When it’s the summer of 1915 and you live in rural West Virginia, where to shop boiled down to two choices, Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. These two mail-order behemoths were the country’s repository of all things — a consumer’s wonderland in catalog form. Whatever the need, from simple sewing notions to formidable build-it-yourself house […]

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The Incredible Mr. Omir

  I don’t know if John Omir ever saw this poster, but if he had, his broad smile and inflated chest would hint that he knew something about its message. Patriotic broadsheets like this one from World War Two, were posted throughout British shipyards. They served as a reminder to the workers that they too […]

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Two bullets – Eight million dead.

Todays post has no ephemera associated with it. But I thought it important to republish this article I wrote a few years ago. Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of what was and what is our future. On February 4th, 2012 the most influential event in the last one hundred years silently slipped from memory into […]

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This post is Classified

One of my more enjoyable pastimes is fingering through old magazines or newspapers reading the Classified Ads. From the elaborate display ads placed in Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in the 1890’s to the pulp rags of modern times all advertisements have similarities.  But like most things, ads bear the patina of the times that they were […]

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

  While looking at these ads, think of Balzac’s quote, “A man’s own vanity is a swindler that never lacks a dupe.” Or, less poetic but more direct, Barnum’s “There’s a sucker born every minute.”   This first one, “Hair Grows,” appeared in the December 1915 issue of Popular Science, by the Modern Vacuum Cap […]

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Freshmen 1917

Mud Games

  The scrapbook where these images were carefully positioned and identified, chronicles student college days at Cornell University, from 1916 through 1920: unfortunately, the author of the scrapbook is not identified. “ Animal House” style frat parties may be the last word in excessive ‘social gatherings’ on college campuses, but they don’t compare to what […]

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