Vintage Vacuums

My house has been invaded by carpet beetles-how I’m not so sure, but as a museum collections specialist, this is my worst nightmare!

Full sized, adult varied carpet beetle. Yuck!

Full sized, adult varied carpet beetle. Yuck!

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Higbee Pressed Glass

My mom is a collector at heart, and she has an eye for beautiful objects from days past.  In the interest of learning more about some of the objects she has, she’s asked me to research them, and boy, am I finding some gems!

One of the objects she’s loaned to me is a water pitcher she acquired several years ago.

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Lipton’s Tea


Lipton’s Tea had a late start compared to many tea companies like Twinings, starting in 1889 in Glasgow, Scotland.  Many tea companies were well established by this point, thanks to the East India trading company and the demand for tea in the colonies during the late 1700s.  A business man at heart, Thomas Lipton felt tea prices too high, and searched for a better way to stock his own market with low priced, but high quality tea.  He purchased his own tea plantation in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in 1890, and successfully marketed his tea throughout England and the United States.  His tea gained popularity so quickly that Queen Victoria knighted him in 1898.

Perhaps it’s not steeped in rich history like Twinings, but it sure does have that underdog American value to it!

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Mourning Keepsakes

Mourning Keepsakes were a popular item during Victorian England and Civil War America. Check out how they became even more popular in the United States after Licoln’s death- over at the Emerging Civil War blog.

Emerging Civil War

A large mourning badge worn after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln A large mourning badge worn after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Mourning jewelry and other similar keepsakes became popular objects created and worn to honor a loved one or a person of importance. Queen Victoria unknowingly propagated the trend upon the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861. In the United States, the Civil War took this trend to new heights, as the death toll rose upwards of 620,000. Oftentimes, a family’s only keepsake of a loved one was a lock of hair, sent either as a token of love or deep appreciation, or clipped after death. These keepsakes were woven into jewelry or framed serving to honor or remember the deceased. Abraham Lincoln’s assassination caused an entire nation to openly grieve (or in some cases pretend to grieve), and a variety of mourning keepsakes  remembering the president still survive.

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A visit to the Hospital

July 20
Sat. morn.

Dearest Chuck:

Oh how I wish I was home last nite.  Now I’m not very sick, but sure do feel lousy.  I’d have given any thing to be home.  In my last letter didn’t I tell you that I had a cold and sure felt lousy?  Well, I got off duty yesterday morning and couldn’t hardly take it any longer.  Got in bed and tossed and turned till about 1-got up and called the Hosp and here I am!  It would have been nice to be on 4th and have a fellow come see me, but as it is, I’m on 2nd and will be out in time to really be feeling perky when he does come.

It was awfully nice of you to send me a wire  Really makes me feel swell.  I wonder tho!  You didn’t sign it love.  Guess you meant it tho or you wouldn’t have been so concerned.

You just make your plans and come on out here.  I’ll be ready.  Should be out in a couple of days.  Maybe tomorrow if my temps goes down and my coughing lets up.  I’m kinda glad your not here.  I’d hate to have you catch cold and I know you would.  I haven’t dreamed of those kisses for nothing!

I just had a trip down the hall and called Lee.  Would have called granny but the line was busy.  She’ll probably be mad when Lee calls her and tells her where I’m at.  Lee’s going to come see tonite and bring me some ice cream.  I haven’t had a very good couple of days and this Hosp. grub is nothing special.

I talked to Dr. Jewell this morning, and He doesn’t think those people will be selling the car.  How else have you planned to come?  What day do you think you’ll make it?  The 31st on the dot or before?  Bet we have a heavenly time.  If only I could have talked to you-we could have made better plans.

It is now eve. and Lee is up here.  She’s going to mail my letters.  I’ll dream of you tonite.  Say, Lee brought me some ice cream, do you want a disk?

I’ll wire you tonite.

All my Love-

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Reactions to Lincoln’s Death

Want to learn more about how Americans felt about John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Lincoln? Check out my post at the Emerging Civil War!

Emerging Civil War

The New York Herald's announcement on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The New York Herald’s announcement on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Six days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln while at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC.  Almost immediately, a word of mouth network began diffusing throughout the city. As news of the president’s death spread, disbelief, sorrow, and even joy crossed the minds of many Americans. Many exclaimed their opinions publicly, while others quietly expressed their grief or exultation in their letters and diaries.

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