A dream of spring?
Here’s an unusual trade card for a couple of reasons: the design – a spring scene of two ladies bundled up for the weather, one holding a tree branch that is budding with red flowers; she seems to be offering it to a seated gentleman, he even more bundled up in overcoat, hat and fur collar (really is this a woman or man?) On his lap he holds a basket with a goose (ready to be cooked for dinner). The tableau takes place inside a large shell, a crescent moon appears in the sky and a couple of rustic houses in the background. The shell is nestled atop a low-growing bush, not yet leafed out for spring, and there are a few birds lost in their own world, hunting for food, one in a branch and the other two at the base of the bush. The colors showing the iridescence of the shell are beautiful: pink, yellow, orange, a little blue and purple. Wow, all in all, is this an artist’s daydream of spring? The fowl certainly is appropriate for the business the card was advertising, though. Which leads us to the second unusual thing about this card: The W. L. S. A. grocery at 26 Market Square in Lynn, Mass was not located in online records. There are a couple of other trade cards for this business presently for sale online, but like ours, nothing shows on the back. And the lithographer name does not appear on any of the cards.
One hundred ninety-something grocers…
This card’s date is given a broad range of 1880s to 1890s, just a typical estimate for a trade card. In searching for the 26 Market Sq. address, nothing came up related to groceries. In the year 1895 (just a random year in the general time frame) there were almost 200 persons or businesses listed under the heading of Grocers. That seemed like a lot at first but maybe not, as the population five years later was over 68 thousand. In any case, one gets the impression that the grocery business for many, might have been short-lived. It would seem this was likely the case for the W. L. S. A., unless it was just the name that was short-term.
Trade card for the W. L. S. A. grocery, Lynn, Massachusetts. Publisher unknown. No. 2500. Circa 1880s – 1890s.
Sources: Sampson, Murdock & Co.’s The Lynn Directory, 1895, Vol. XXX. pp. 715 – 716. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.
Timeline of Lynn, Massachusetts. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Lynn,_Massachusetts. (accessed March 2, 2016).