Wanamaker & Brown, Philadelphia, Trade Card

Trade Card, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Wanamaker & Brown. Circa

Price:  $10.00            Size:  3 and 1/4 x 1 and 1/2″

Taking a very short respite from all the black and white photos and cards, here’s a bit of color, nicely appropriate for autumn. The front shows some turning leaves with the following printed message:

“Buy your Winter Overcoat and Suit at Oak Hall. We sell the best goods for the least money, and refund the cash if you are displeased with your purchase. Wanamaker & Brown. S. E. cor. Sixth & Market Sts.” 

Founded in 1861, the Wanamaker & Brown clothing company became an institution in Philadelphia, lasting for over a century. Much has been written about them, and plenty of online photos and other trade cards can be found. See Wikipedia’s post, “Wanamaker’s” for more information. Below, an early ad from The Philadelphia Enquirer, dated January 25, 1862:

The title in the ad above is interesting, referring to pickling something in salt water, though in this case the salt would be used to melt snow and ice on the streets.

On the back of our trade card, the holder (for a time) of this card, has written her name:  Hattie B. Francis (or Hattie A. Frances).

Sources:  The Philadelphia Enquirer, January 25, 1862. Saturday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

Wanamaker’s. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanamaker%27s (accessed September 30, 2022).

Picking Flower, Near Mississippi Headwaters, Minnesota

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1950s.

Price:  $15.00

This Real Photo Postcard is one of (at least) four that we see that had been taken, circa 1950s, of an Indian woman named Picking Flower. The other three vintage cards are currently on ebay:  One shows a very similar view to the photo taken for this card, and the other two show Picking Flower standing at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, Minnesota, with captions. My guess is that she’s Chippewa, a.k.a. Ojibwe or Ojibwa, and it’s possible she might have been a member of the Mississippi River Band Chippewas, but of course, that is mere speculation. The artwork of flowers and leaves that she’s working on (or more likely it was some finished work that was used for the photo shoot) and that which adorns her dress, is very distinctive to Chippewa beadwork design (not to mention stunningly beautiful). Here’s a quick screen shot of a Google search for examples (note the similarity in the top right design to that in the postcard.)

And, if you enlarge the postcard image, you’ll notice the little pair of moccasins that’s attached to the dress (on her left) and the shells interspersed in the shoulder areas. Always the case, we get to wondering about the circumstances surrounding a photo session, about the person themselves, how they felt at the time, what the rest of their life was like. I think Picking Flower is maybe in her 50s, from the graying hair we note, and she looks like she was squinting a little from the sun, when the photo was taken.

Sources:  Mississippi River Band of Chippewa Indians. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River_Band_of_Chippewa_Indians (accessed May 21, 2017).

“Images of Chippewa beadwork”  Google.com search. (accessed May 21, 2017).

Kids In Leaf


Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1914 – 1917.

Price:  $5.00

A good one for a new category, which really should not be new (eee gads, will have to backtrack and see which ones I missed in the past) anyway…under the title Shaped Borders. This one looks like it could be a group of seven school kids, with a young school mistress in the back, or possibly just family members or a group of friends. The date is estimated from Playle’s for this particular style on the reverse, of unknown manufacturers with no stamp box. Check out the doorway:  That’s an odd-looking door, we don’t see a handle, just wooden slats running horizontally, but maybe it was boarded up.

Source:  Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs, Unknown Manufacturer’s. playle.com. (accessed October 23, 2016).

The Leaf – White Sewing Machine Trade Card

Leaf tc

Trade card in leaf shape for White Sewing Machines. Circa 1886.

Price:  $20.00        Size:  About 3 x 4″

Beautiful leaf trade card in shades of green, red and gold, for White Sewing Machines. This is the second trade card for White appearing on this website. The wonder of it though, is how this paper leaf survived this amazingly well through the years, only showing a small fold on the right-hand side. (The card is the leaf itself; the yellow background was just for scanning purposes.) The White was immensely popular, with it’s factory in Cleveland at 10 and 40 Canal St. and sales office at 57 and 59 Euclid Ave. The company shipped not only all over the United States and Canada, but also had a large overseas market. The statement here of 100,000 machines being sold yearly would be the best clue as to this card’s date. A couple of old publications help to somewhat define the time-period. An 1879 issue on Cleveland Industry states “from July 1876 to the eve of 1878, the demand for the White Sewing Machine has increased from ten or twelve per day to one hundred and fifty or two hundred per day…”  An 1886 publication on Cleveland manufacturers and merchants states that the factory on Canal St. was a “substantial building, nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide, and four to six stories high, with a capacity of manufacture of three hundred sewing-machines per day.”  So, perhaps this card was printed somewhere around year 1886.

Sources:  Industries of Cleveland:  Trade, Commerce and Manufactures for the Year 1878. Published by Richard Edwards, Cleveland, 1879. Pages 107-108. (Google eBooks)

Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Cleveland and Environs. A Half Century’s Progress. 1836-1886. International Publishing Co., 102 Chambers St., New York, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago. Page 76. (Google eBooks)