Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Suitable Job for a Woman in 1863 - Seed Enveloper

Below is an eye opening reference in this excerpt from the 1863  The Employments of WomenA Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work to how a woman could not literally fit into some jobs because of their bulky clothing!!!
 And it mentions how it was a problem in a work environment when it rained as the women took half a day to get dry before they could start; could that be accurate?

The Landreth building to the left is typical of Philadelphia in the early 1800s.
While that building was demolished, a block from there at Market and 7th the buildings are still around.  Dreer's Seeds on the right is on Chestnut St. in Philadelphia.

When I went to college in Philly in the 70s Market Street was a gritty time warp place that only needed horse drawn  vehicles to look like it used to.  Things seem different now in Google Street View!  Some days the winds were so powerful in this area as I walked around I would try and see how far I could lean into them before tipping over.  I can't imagine walking to work in voluminous skirts!!!!

1863 - The Employments of WomenA Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tidying Up: Carrie and Sam - Art and Business

Focus.... I really need to focus more on why I first was drawn to seed catalogs, packets and other paper ephemera - the engravings!  But first...I should finish up for now the Carrie and Sam story.

 Here is an overview of her style.  Saccharine and usually not whimsical.

If you want to see tons of these charming Lippincott covers just view this Google image search for C. H. Lippincott!  Me, I have seen enough for awhile.  I DO like them...but it like when I finish off the Xmas fruitcake...I love it while it is here but sincerely relieved when it is gone!

Remember how Sam Haines was puffing his new color catalog for 1898 in Philadelphia?  I bumped into a repro of its cover being sold on eBay this morning.  It is the only image I have found anywhere - so far.

Another interesting thing is this ad which was in Carrie Lippincott's first catalog.  She cleverly sold some ad space to the railroad.

How much of the catalog text was her writing I wonder.  You can clearly see her self confidence growing along with the business in the early catalogs. The pride and enthusiasm is gone in 1914.

• Read or download the 1896 catalog.  Nice.
Read or download the 1899 catalog.  Nice and improved.
Read or download the 1914 catalog.   Awful.  More successful competition seems to have won.

The Internet Archive is a wonderful place.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Found It!

Ta-da!!  I found the old squished envelope of seeds gathered by my Gram in the chest where I keep old photos.

 It wasn't unmarked, her scrawl on the envelope says, Beans Kentucky Wonders.

 Gram was legally blind since she was in her mid 30s. By her 80s, when she squirreled this away, she hadn't seen her handwriting for decades.

Those old photos were in an album she made in her early 20s.  To think, she saw the effects of both the amazing Wright brothers and men on the moon!!! That is Gram below.  Read the little newspaper clipping...Josiah Dow is her father.

And I found that Miss. C. H. Lippincott was Carrie H. Lippincott.  It was in her 1900 catalog.

The mysterious Mr. Haines really was her brother-in-law.  Samuel Y. Haines, who visited Chicago with his wife, Miss Carrie's sister, had a Philadelphia seed business in 1887. He traveled around visiting seed suppliers and going to industry events. I wonder, was the train service from Philadelphia to Chicago  better then, or now? (Later: Found an answer! See this Quartz page. )
Minneapolis...the W-I-L-D west?!!

All of Sam's snippets from

Miss Lippincott's Rabbit Hole

Did you ever feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole?  All the fascinating facts and mysteries about the seed business popping up as I look around seed history have my eyes spinning in my head.

 Trying to go to sleep last night I kept thinking someone must have written a thesis on women owned seed businesses.  (And, no, I haven't looked yet.)

 But take a moment and fall into this illustration from C. H. Lippincott's 1898 catalog.
 A LARGE version is here.

What is C. H. short for anyway?  Rabbit holes abound!  And don't forget Mr. Haines - I haven't.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Miss C. H. Lippincott was a Crackerjack Entrepreneur!

When I read in this article that Miss Lippincott planned the 1897 year's mailing would be 250,000 catalogs I had to rethink the size of her business! 
I need to know more about her and the mystery man, Mr. Haines.  Was he a puppet master, and she the pretty face on a clever business plan?  Or was she truly the "Crackerjack Entrepreneur" we are intended to believe.   Enquiring minds want to know! Not to mention, snoopy minds!!  to be continued....

I find her covers the sappiest of those I have seen.  My Gram gave me some of her baby books and this sugary style was quite the thing at the end of the 19th century.  (The artwork below was also the image on her seed packets.  Landreth Seed Company's cool Newsletter mentions the Miss Lippincott was the first to produce this sort of decorative packet. The simple plain paper envelope with the name of the contents was the norm. I know which one my hand would reach for!)

Gram's Oatmeal Cookies - the start of this seed journey.

There is a tie-in here to seeds, really.

It is Christmas season and I got out Gram's old black and white spotted school book to find her recipes.  I made her fruitcake (which must have weighed 10 pounds and my husband and I ate it already!) and I plan to make her oatmeal cookies for New Years Day.

Anyway, while I was looking at her recipes I wondered where another pile of Grammy ephemera had gotten to. I haven't found it yet but in it is a folded and flattened envelope with her scrawl on it, filled with some mystery seeds she never identified.  That must have been in my mind somewhere because later in the day I was messing around on the web and found myself chasing after seed packets and seed catalogs from my grandmother's era.  Born in 1889, she passed on to me her interest in gardening, rug hooking, and saving "bit and pieces".  While I don't have Gram's attic to poke around in anymore the internet makes a great substitute.  I hope you have fun following me finding seed related bits and pieces as I explore Gram's world.

If you want her saved recipe, check it out here.  It won 1st Prize at the County Fair it says!