Tag Archives: 1890s

Tipis and Puppies

After  Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears pushed many Native Americans west in 1838-1839, the available land Indians were allowed to ‘own’ grew smaller and smaller, until it was practically non existent.  Small pockets of reservation land have been maintained even today; however, the land taken from them grew exponentially as the white man colonized the North American continent from the very beginning.

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Filed under 1890s, Photograph

Fairy Lights Burning Bright

The holidays are just around the corner, and everyone is putting up their festive decorations and Christmas trees.  I found this cute little ad for electric lights on Christmas trees, which some companies coined ‘fairy lights.’

GE+Brochure xmas

Image courtesy of George and Bill Nelson, from Bill’s Antique Christmas Light Site.

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Filed under 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, Advertisement

Under the Mistletoe

It’s the time of year to get out those ugly Christmas sweaters, be cozy by the roaring fire while roasting chestnuts, and drink some delicious mulled wine or eggnog at a holiday party.  But don’t get caught standing unaware under a branch of mistletoe!

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, c.1896.

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The Golden Age of the Bicycle


I’ve always loved bicycle ads from the late 19th, early 20th century, and while this one isn’t in color, nor is it extremely visual, it sure does pack the punch!  It’s so persuasive.  If cars were not a commonplace, I’d definitely consider buying a Victor bike just based off this ad!

When Victor bikes hit the market with their ‘safety bikes’ in the early late 1880s, Overman Wheel Company  began a trend, along with Columbia, that revolutionized biking to the individual.  Very different from the ‘ordinary’ bikes of the early 1880s, which had the large front wheel and tiny back wheel, the ‘safety’ made riding not only easier, but safer as the name suggests.  The large price tag in the beginning, $100 in 1895 and $50 in an 1899 catalog, did not bother most, and the 1890s was considered ‘the Golden Age of Bicycles’ because of the number of bikes sold throughout this decade.

In some ways, Overman had an edge over Columbia: they hired Will H. Bradley, Art Nouveau typographer, to compile their catalogs.  His decorative ads for Overman Wheel Company are extremely beautiful and above the top.

Victor Bike Ad by Will Bradley, 1896.  Photo courtesy of the Rockwell Center.

Victor Bike Ad by Will Bradley, 1896. Photo courtesy of the Rockwell Center.


Victor Bike Ad by Will Bradley, c. 1896.  Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Victor Bike Ad by Will Bradley, c. 1896. Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Unfortunately, Overman Wheel Company was declared insolvent in 1901, giving Columbia Manufacturing Company a monopoly on safety bikes.

Further Reading:

Bradley, Will.  ‘Victor Bicycles, Overman Wheel Company.’ New York Public Library. 1896. Web. 31 May 2014 http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1018609&imageID=1541568&word=victor%20bicycle&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=1&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=2&num=0&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=1

Hangen, Will and Tara Hangen.  ‘Bicycles.’ History Magazine October/November 2001. Web. 31 May 2014 http://www.history-magazine.com/bicycles.html

Hornung, Clarence P. Ed. Will Bradley, His Graphic Art: A Collection of his Posters, Illustrations, Typographic Designs & Decorations. New York: Dover Publications, 1974. Print.

Jendrysik, Stephen. ‘Overman Wheel Company made Victor Bicycles.’ The Republican 23 September 2009: CP4. Web. http://www.masslive.com/chicopeeplus/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1253606013299640.xml

Massachusetts Historical Society.  ‘The Victor Bicycle MDCCCXCIX.’ 31 May 2014. Web. 31 May 2014 http://www.masshist.org/database/viewer.php?item_id=728

Schiller, Joyce.  ‘Decorative Nature.’ Rockwell Center for American Studies, Norman Rockwell Museum. 30 May 2013. Web. 31 May 2014 http://www.rockwell-center.org/exploring-illustration/decorative-nature/





Filed under 1890s, Advertisement, Art Nouveau

One Thousand & One Gems of English Poetry

Today I’m highlighting one of my very first old book purchases.  I had bought a few here and there before this, but this I think this one fueled my desire to search out certain types of books.  Additionally, it stands out in my mind, mainly because of the enjoyable hours after I purchased it.


Like many of the books I’ve bought in the past, the spine caught my attention.  I was in a tiny bookshop in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, where books covered every inch of space-often double stacked on the shelves, stacks lining the floors, covering the countertop, etc; it’s amazing I even spotted this particular one!



Because I was working on my dissertation when I took this little day trip, I didn’t want anything too lengthy to read, and poetry has always calmed my mind.  I wandered the village, visited the white chalk cliffs at the Needles Battery, and glimpsed the Needles Lighthouse during an angry downpour, but eventually found a nice spot off a path by a pond, in a secluded forest where I could sit and enjoy some of the poetry before the ferry ride back to the mainland.



Cliffs at Needles Battery, just before a heavy downpour, 2008.


Needles Lighthouse, 2008.



The secluded park just past a lake in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, 2008.

Like the fancy Chaucer, this copy has the gilt top edge, but it isn’t as fancy as the beautiful William Wordsworth to warrant all three edges of gilding.



Published in 1896, this compilation of poetry really highlights the sentiments of the late Victorian era.  Poetry concerning love, heartbreak, death, gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman culture, and even Pre-Ralphealite topics cover the pages.  A number of the poets are unknown now, but were probably quite popular among halfpenny publications, or at least popular enough somehow to end up in One Thousand & One Gems of English Poetry.

There’s even several beautiful illustrations mixed in with the text:



Although many of the poets are unknown to me, I still love how fancily bound it is!

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Filed under 1890s, Books

Cat-tastic Tuesday


I’m loving how this little kitty stands out against the drab colors of the girls outfit and background.  If only my kitties would pose this pretty when being photographed!  Based on the leg-of-mutton sleeves, this photograph is from the 1890s.


March 4, 2014 · 7:30 am