How Early-20th-Century Americans Taught Their Kids to Be Thrifty
This government pamphlet, from 1918, is a relic from the thrift movement of the 1910s and 1920s. It's part of a series of 20 brochures, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Treasury, promoting the virtue to Americans of all ages. Other installments included "Saving Food by Proper Care," "Thrift on the Farm," "How to Remove Stains," and "Wise Spending Saves."
Should You Be A Wife or a Career Woman? Take This 1950s Magazine Quiz.
This quiz comes from The Girl Friend (And the Boy Friend), an early-1950s magazine for young women.Titled "What Are You Best Fitted For: Love or a Career?," the test asks readers to answer a string of questions about situations and preferences. A preponderance of "No" answers marked the reader as destined for marriage.
A Beautiful 1930s Sportsman’s Map of American Saltwater Fish
This 1936 pictorial map of saltwater fish of North America was originally sold as a collector's item; 1,000 were produced. The borders of the map incorporate 26 paintings of fish, along with individual maps designating their accustomed coastal ranges. Two anatomical drawings of fish flank the map's title. A list of then-current record-setting catches dominates the central map, and its coastlines. Most of these records were set in the 1920s and 1930s.
Jack London’s Candid 1903 Advice to Writers Trying to Get Into Print
The Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin recently released the results of a digitization initiative aimed at bringing the papers of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors online. (Other authors with newly augmented Ransom Center digital archives include Hart Crane, Joseph Conrad, and Robert Louis Stevenson.) I found this set of corrected page proofs in the Jack London collection: London's article "Getting Into Print," which appeared in The Editor in March 1903.
A Book of Biting Caricatures of the Turn-of-the-Century 1%
The Harvard University Library recently digitized this book of caricatures, American Millionaires, published in 1902 by journalist and artist Carlo de Fornaro. In de Fornaro's renderings, the captains of American industry appear less than dignified. John Jacob Astor sports an foppish yellow mustache; the diminutive Andrew Carnegie sits boosted up on a stack of large books; railroad scion George J. Gould slumps, polo mallet in hand, on a horse that eyes him skeptically.
Gorgeous Nouveau Metalwork Designs in a Late-19th-Century Catalog
The St. Louis-based Ludlow-Saylor Wire Company published this catalog in 1895, to showcase its designs for decorative gates, screens, transoms, and sconces. Some of the images depict the metalwork in context—in a bank's lobby, or set into the entrance to a house's driveway—while others gather several possible designs against a blank background, showing the range of possibilities.
The Hopeful, Heartbreaking Ads Placed by Formerly Enslaved People in Search of Lost Family
After emancipation, many freedpeople used newspaper advertisements to try to contact their family members. The Historic New Orleans Collection has made available a digital collection of more than 300 "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in the city's Methodist Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper between November 1879 and December 1880. The collection is searchable by name or location, but you can also browse advertisements at random.
George Washington’s 1761 Ad Seeking Four Fugitive Slaves
George Washington placed this ad, seeking four fugitives, in the Maryland Gazette, on August 20, 1761. At this point in time, Washington, who had been a slaveholder since he was eleven years of age, had just radically expanded the number of people he owned through his marriage to the widow Martha Dandridge Custis. When the two merged households in 1759, she brought 84 enslaved people with her to Mount Vernon.
Interactive Map Catalogs a History of Collective Violence Against Black Communities
The BBC’s Hilarious 1948 Style Guidelines “On Matters of Taste”
Filmmaker Samantha Horley recently posted an image of this set of "Guidelines," which she found among her father's effects, on her Facebook page. Horley told me that her aunt worked at the BBC as a secretary in the 1960s and 1970s; she thinks the page originally came from her aunt's papers.