Thursday, May 9, 2019

Uneeda Biscuit Trading Card

Description of Illustration: "At All Times, In All Seasons - Buy Uneeda Biscuit, the best soda cracker ever made, National Biscuit Company" Uneeda biscuit boy dressed in a yellow raincoat and cap, wears black overboots to keep dry, trading card plus greyscale advertisement

The Uneeda Boy is at his best in a storm, as he then emphasizes
the moisture-proof character of the package he carries.
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Saturday, February 2, 2019

"Songs Without Words" Victorian color illustration

Description of Illustration: Victorian illustration of a child playing the piano for her pet dog., dog howling, doll, Mason & Hamlin upright piano, text "Songs Without Words" piano music, cat perched the top of a piano, wicker chair, large white apron, white fur rug

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"To My Valentine" scrap postcard

Description of Illustration: Victorian Valentine postcard, cupid, angel, forget-me-not flowers, bow and arrow, big red heart, foil stars, wings, blue sky, text "Cupid shot straight when he used the dart that shot your image straight to my heart."

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Arm & Hammer Animal Trade Card

Description of Illustration: Victorian Trade Card for Arm & Hammer. Church & Co. New York, Rocky Mountain Sheep, big curly horns, hooves, running, brown fur

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Triple The Fun

Description of Illustration:Victorian scrap of three babies, siblings, triplets, sitting together on a Davenport, red velvet pattern, wooden arms, leather baby shoes, white cotton gowns, blond sisters

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

She wore a pink bonnet...

Description of Illustration:Victorian scrap of a child wears a pink bonnet, fully restored Victorian scrap, green print dress, white apron, ruffles and lace, gold ribbon, brown hair, brown eyes

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Postcard of Santa, a Robin and Stars in The Sky

Description of Illustration: Santa, Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, text "A Christmas Greeting", postcard for Christmas, holly, ornaments, beard, bells, stars in the sky, red breasted robin

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A tuff looking boxer...

Description of Illustration: red neck tie or bandana, bowler hat, big eyed boxer, dog breed
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Feline with a bell on her collar...

Description of Illustration: bell, pink ribbon, small cat,
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Monday, November 19, 2018

Victorian Scrap of A Book Cover

Description of Illustration: ladies by the lake, trees, view, Victorian book illustrated, blue binding
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A Mamma Mastiff and Her Pups

Description of Illustration: basket, puppies, straw, mother dog, die cut

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Raspberries on a branch

Description of Illustration: photo of raspberries, red raspberries, stem, branch of , leaves of

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

City Window Garden

       But there is another gay season for the city lover than that of the winter and its routs; it is when spring opens, and before people begin to leave town, and the flower-boxes in varied windows are called into bloom. To be sure, all winter long the florists' windows are bowers of loveliness, and so are many of the windows of the wealthy, under which the children of the poor often stop in admiring groups. But let the chill once forsake earth and air and even in the poorer quarters of the town the little boxes at the windows begin to show that nature will everywhere repay love and care, show to make these flower-boxes answer a purpose, and how to make the miserable little backyards beautiful and useful, Miss Louise Forester may tell us in a way that shall perhaps help another young gardener in her work.
In 1950, the regeneration of Victorian window-boxes 
to add color and interest in an otherwise dismal and
depressing environment, of course!

The Gay Season

       Yes, there probably will always be a gay season so long as society holds together by its present structure, and even those who have and desire to have nothing to do with it must witness more or less of it and be aware of it, however unwillingly. Artistically considered, it has a certain value, if only as  showing the possibilities of beauty attainable under the present conditions of favorable life. We need not go to the ancients in these times for the ideal of loveliness in the outward forms of social mingling. Some daylight sacrificial festival by the blue waters of the Egean, with torches turning pale in the sunshine, with the flower-decked and filleted victim, the dancing youths and maidens under the festoons of their floral ropes and wreaths, may have been more remotely poetical; a Roman supper may have been more voluptuous; a Pompeiian revel may have been more wild and wanton; but a mask of the gods could hardly be more beautiful than are some of the nightly entertainments of the gay season of the present. Winter changed to summer, night into softly glowing day, bare walls to bowers of bloom out of which gleam statues like the gods just alit, and pictures like dreams of a yet lovelier life all this constitutes an enchanted background for the throngs that troop across it, the dark shadows of one class of the participants in the pleasure throwing out all the brilliance of the other portion with its rosy flesh and glistening hair and starry eyes and curving outlines, the brilliance, moreover, of the material in which this beauty robes itself, to whose lustrous wealth neither the dreams of poets nor the facts of antiquity ever approached; for laces and silks and velvets, at any rate, are of the modern world, and the substance in which poets clothe their dreams of beauty is filmy and vaporous stuff as thin as moonshine. And meanwhile, if the gay season is an artistic success, wherever it kindles the wit in any degree and puts a sparkle into conversation, it is intellectual success as well. Those who admire and excuse this series of festive pageants declare that there is another view of it worthy of a pause, and that is a consideration of its beneficent nature in our social economy, in the part of the good Samaritan which it so undoubtedly plays. Does this seem an impossible or Quixotic view? Give, then, but a glance to the army of workers glad and thankful to be workers whom this gay season calls to the front; not merely housemaid and cook, coachman and groom, milliner and seamstress, but the multitude of those who produce and prepare the raw material which these ultimately handle, the multitude of underlings who assist them all, till the work ramifies through a thousand far-extended avenues, so that some single ball not only calls into requisition the forces of market-men, the finest fancies of florists and designers, the running of the steamships that import its novelties, but saves from starvation and beggary the denizen of many an attic.
       The gay season may in itself as those who roll to swell its triumph, with plume and jewel, with epaulet or train, forget the existence of any others less fortunate than themselves be called as heartless as any other great machine; but, like most great machines, it does unconsciously a tremendous work, and, with the industries it necessitates, tides over the dark and cruel winter months, when there is little hope and less joy to those who otherwise might have no season at all. May there always be a gay season, then, its upholders exclaim net too gay a season, not a mad revel, but a brief and brilliant  tournament of youth and beauty! May the early years enjoy it, and the advancing years look on well pleased with the pageant ! May it charm for the passing moment, but not captivate one instant beyond its proper power; and, while its light burns ever so brightly, may it not put out the sun! For, after all, there are those of good reason who totally disapprove of the extravagance and the waste of time. The philosophers and the political economists deny that there is any advantage in the expenditure of wealth after this fashion, assuring us that only injury is wrought thereby.
       Mr. Ruskin says that as long as there is cold and nakedness in the land, splendor of dress is a crime. "As long as there are any," he says, "who have no blankets for their beds, and no rags for their bodies, so long it is blanket-making and tailoring we must set people to work at not lace."
       Society is of course a charming thing: the reunion of kindred souls in scenes made as lovely as artifice can make them ; people always at their best, and conscious of it; with every enjoyment to pass the time pleasure, excitement, admiration, the dance, the opera, the theatre, the drive. But it is life in too concentrated a form, like the nourishment where nothing goes to waste, and which, while it enriches the blood, causes the atrophy of certain of the organs. The experiment having been tried of feeding guinea-pigs with sugar alone, it was found that the little creatures lived a short space of time, and then those that did not die became blind. Too long and too undiluted a diet of gay life would be no better for the soul than the undiluted saccharine matter was for the unfortunate animal; and it is a merciful arrangement that, after the faculties have received sufficient stimulus and the senses sufficient enjoyment, puts an end to it all with the total and arbitrary change of habit that the Lenten season brings. Then the swift rout is succeeded by the quiet life, the nightly revel by the morning walk, the call of charity, the household duty, the neglected book, and the performance of all those little acts postponed when the days only waited on the nights to bring the next one round. Then one has time to recall the fact that there are those less favored by fate than one's self; then one has time to put one's self in one's enemies' place and see what their justification may be ; time to look over one's own life, and learn what has been amiss, to make new resolutions, and indulge them a little while before beginning to break them ; then there is time to enter on the search for those less favored ones, if they are not at the door, and to do what may be done toward striking the balance in this life that death will strike at last when the earth is cast upon one. 

Victorian's had to observe etiquette before entering
 into society. The "Gay Season" refers in this case,
 to the season of being introduced to society for 
arranged marriages.


       Such rooms as those of which the old china and rich draperies and costly bric-a-brac make part are necessary in a place where what is known as Society takes on its most splendid guise, and where there is such a positive thing as the gay season. For it makes no difference how much want and suffering may be abroad in the town or in the land, there is always a gay season in town, and probably there always will be one. For as one generation tires, another is springing upon the scene, and all the fardels belonging to the glitter and frolic that these are dropping from their hold those are ready to catch as they dance on. The new belles and the new beaux will always have a mutual attraction; the old belles drop off, to be sure, but the old beaux linger to see these fresh young beauties who are just taking up the business of life with such a sparkle in their wondering eyes, such a vitality in their veins, and when any of these old beaux drops off, some one of the young belles usually drops off with him.

A Victorian era ballroom dance reenactment.

The Advantures of a Pound of Cotton

       Since steam, that great afrite, has put the hand to shame, these wonders  have probably been eclipsed, and the adventures of a single pound of cotton, borne on its wings, and for sale in the London market, are like a tale of  the Arabian Nights journeying from the Indies to London docks, thence to  Lancashire to be spun, thence to Paisley to be woven, to Ayrshire to be tamboured, to Dumbarton to be hand-sewed, back to Paisley, on to Glasgow for a finish, and once more in London, having traveled five thousand miles by sea and one thousand by land, supporting by the labor spent on it one hundred and fifty people, and increasing its own value some two thousand per cent.
       The spinning-wheel, certainly as much as anything, has been a badge of woman's servitude. For while all her time was needed to make the clothing for her family, there was none for her to spend in illuminating her mind. And so it is not unpleasant to-day to see this old badge made the sport of circumstance, and what was once a slavery now affording pastime in the drawing-room. Broken and disused, and in dishonor, and shorn of its locks, as it is, it was once a mighty tyrant; and we should think the lovely ladies, free to pursue pleasure, art, learning, to mount the ladder to the stars with men, and who have adorned their drawing-rooms with the mimicry and mockery of its old estate, might in some twilight be haunted by a strange dream of it, pulling down the temple of their freedom and happiness about them. And as they play with it now, in all their liberty and possibilities and comparative enlightenment, they may do well to be mindful of the bondage in which it held their "forebys, " and in which its rude forerunner, the distaff, still holds certain of their sisters. "The art of spinning," says an elegant writer, "in one of its simplest and most primitive forms, is yet pursued in Italy, where the country-women of Caia still turn the spindle unrestrained by that ancient rural law which forbade its use without doors. The distaff has outlived the consular fasces, and survived the conquests of the Goth and the Hun But rustic hands alone now sway the sceptre of Tanaquil, and all but the peasant disdain a practice which once beguiled the leisure of high-born dames."

The Spinster

       The distinctive nature of the term spinster, as applicable to none above a viscount's daughter in rank, is a slight curiosity in history: it is probably due to the fact that the increase of wealth and the introduction cf printed literature enabled ladies of rank to find amusement and employment otherwheres than at the wheel, which was abandoned to the use of those unable to command the luxury of their own time women presumably below the rank of a viscount's daughter. Wonderful things used to be done with the wheel, though in those times before machinery made nothing of wonders. One girl was known to spin a pound of wool into eighty-four thousand yards of thread, almost equal to forty-eight miles; and another at a later period spun the same quantity into a thread something more than one hundred and fifteen miles in length but she was a famous spinner.
Karen Hainlen is a professional, contemporary spinster.

The Distaff

       The first day after the twelve winter holidays used to be known as St. Distaff's Day, for then the women renewed the work that play had so long interrupted. It was still, in real fact, only another holiday, for the men made a point of leaving their own work to set fire to the flax the women were bringing out, and the women, in turn, provided themselves with buckets of cold water to dash over the depredators, and all was good humor.

'If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow;
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men,'

sang Herrick ; by which we may judge the custom to have been tolerably prevalent.
       It is observable that the occupation of the distaff and the spinning-wheel has associated itself with women even to the point of contempt, our first pictured memorials of the race on Egyptian and Hindostanee monuments showing women with the useful toy in hand the toy despised by all men but Achilles and Hercules. "On the side of the spear" was an old legal phraseology to signify a descent in the male line, "on the side of the distaff" to indicate female descent. In the early times, when rapine and all violence were the distinguishing masculine traits or, we may say, employments, honor was held to come only from such work as bloodshed, conquest and plunder; there was none given for the quiet performance of the duties at home; and as women stayed at home pursuing their quiet duties, preparing food and clothes and nursing the wounded, the distaff became disdainfully associated with them. "The Crown of France never falls to the distaff," said the contemptuous French proverb; but it is more than a French proverb that woman's wit cannot overreach, and the distaff has in reality frequently and secretly been the sceptre there, the power behind the throne, making and unmaking the for-tunes of the nation.
       It was not till the fourteenth century that the distaff was superseded by vile spinning wheel, and not till about a hundred years later that the wheel appeared at which the spinner could sit instead of stand; and almost immediately afterward the term spinster in our language was modified so as to be descriptive only of an unmarried woman below the rank of a viscount's daughter, and not of all unmarried women though why unmarried at all is a question we leave for Rosa Dartle; for although the farm-wives of good condition were wont to hire their spinning done by any spinner in need of the work, there was never a farm-wife who did not know how to do it herself.

 What is St. Distaff's Day?

The Spinning-Wheel

       The spinning-wheel is certainly a pretty sight, whether we should see it in a drawing-room or in the moty sunbeam slanting through some old garret; and the little linen-wheel which our great grandmothers used to stand at their knees is a real object for an artist.
       Who can see its slant lines, its lovely curves, see its swift revolving circles, and the fine thread trembling to a mist as it draws out its length, and hear the pleasant hum it makes, without thoughts of sunny mornings, and bees in flowers, and all sweet rural sights and sounds? Few of us in looking at it think of the imprisonment of the spinner, still wetting her broadening thumb as the sunshine fell without, and she longed to be there, too the spinner like her of Mendelssohn's "Song Without Words," who sings her tune to the whirr of the wheel while the birds carol and the bees hum outside.'
       Rude as the spinning-wheel seems to us now, it was as wonderful an advance in its day from the hand-distaff as the jenny and mule and power-loom have been in their turn from the spinning-wheel. The distaff, indeed, made few improvements in itself in all its long career, the only notable changes being that from the time when very primitive people, who had little or no use of metal, loaded its spindle with a perforated stone, and others carried the load at the top instead of at the bottom of the spindle; but save for these simple changes, and the fact that the distaff which princes' daughters used was overlaid with gold, the distaff with which Clotho spun was the same as that which Burns' Jean took to her "rocking on Fasten's Eve" "rock" being the old term for the distaff and spindle. It was the simplest sort of pretty apparatus, not much more inelegant to carry than the modern tatting. No dame or damsel went abroad without it. The good spinner loaded her distaff with the tow at its upper end, and carried it protruding from under her left arm, and as she pulled the thread out between thumb and finger, the weight of the hanging and leaded spindle twisted it round and round still closer, and she wound it measure by measure about the body of the spindle as she twisted.

 How to spin yarn on a spinning wheel.

Old China

       If the city parlor, in its best estate, of course, had nothing else but its old china on which to rely, it would have sufficient excuse for its being.
       The fabric itself is so exquisite, in the translucent material, in the enamel, in the tints, in the shapes, that one would search in vain outside the kingdom of jewels and flowers for anything so alluring to the eye as that bit of china in which, when held before the light, the spirit of lambent flame seems to float as it does in an opal, and whose designs, even when not intrinsically charming, are always interesting through history and through suggestion, and the love of which among our own people dates back more than two hundred years.
       There is more quaint and curious tradition clustering round the story of pottery and porcelain than of any other of the arts, from the tale of the man who, in despair, after ceaseless efforts to produce the quality at which he aimed, leaped into his furnace, and produced the desired flux in the consuming of his own body, and has been worshiped ever since among the less enlightened practicers of the ceramic art, to the touching story of Palissy the Potter, and the noble work of Wedgwood.
       As far back in Roman record as the time when Numa Pompilius reigned a king, we find a school or college of pottery founded, from which we can judge that the subject was held in high esteem even at that day. The Greeks already had potteries at Samos and at Corinth and elsewhere and we all know the absolute charm which the Etrurians had reached in such productions while the most exquisite enamel has been found in the tombs of the Egyptians. At perhaps still remoter periods, in the gloom of what we call the early twilight of civilization, the Orient had reached perfection in pottery, and rivaled the best the world has done in porcelain, the tower of Nankin, whose tiles are of the rarest faience, being the one concerning which the above legend of the sacrifice of a life is related.
       It is not merely for their beauty, though, that these things acquire their interest. The historian has made them subserve many a matter of profound research. When he finds the remnants of a race some bones scattered in a cave or under a bank of earth, weapons round about, and even traces of food he knows instantly at what point of civilization that race perished, not by its stone or copper knives and axes, but by its jars and pipkins or the absence of them; for their presence signifies that a race has reached, as we may say, the boiling-point; shows that man then was no longer in the condition of the mere animal, devouring raw meat with teeth and .talons. And the antiquarian, meanwhile, in his search among the ruins of the buried Asian cities, is enabled by the style of the pottery he finds to say what power ruled, and what people obeyed the rule.
       Of course the manufacture of china is something far beyond that of pottery in importance, but the one is the crude alphabet of which the other is the poem; and pottery itself has now and then risen to a height where even china falters, as in those instances of majolica that it has not been disdained to adorn with the work of Raphael and Julio Romano and Titian. If one could but own such marvelous specimens to delectate the eyes, one's cars could endure all the sarcasms of those in ignorance of such beauty with exceeding equanimity. Addison, to be sure, was among the ignorant in this respect, or pretended that he was. "There is no inclination in women that more surprises me than this passion for china," he somewhere takes occasion to say. 'When a woman is visited with it, it generally takes possession of her for life. China vessels are playthings for women of all ages. An old lady of forescore shall be as busy in cleaning an Indian mandarin as her great-grand-daughter is in dressing her baby." But when we remember that Horace Walpole was of precisely the opposite persuasion, that Kingsley was an amateur and Gladstone a collector, we can afford merely to pity one who did not know how to enjoy the bits of delicate color and light with which we are fond of adorning our cabinets.
       What is there, in sooth, that can be lovelier than a cup of that delicious sea-green called the Celadon, a concretion of sea-foam out of which the nereids themselves might sup, and one of which Robert Cecil gave Queen Elizabeth, as being a fit gift for royalty, unless it is that egg-shell cup through which the light falls rosy as through a baby's upheld fingers, while the odd designs upon them both tell strange tales cf life and worship and floral fancies among the curious people who make them. And yet one would pause a moment before giving them the palm over this claret-colored Chelsea cup, with its gold anchor mark ; over that delicious Dresden candelabrum where the hand of Summer seems to have scattered the flowers; or this vase in Capo di Monte china, where the high relief of the figures dancing round about it throws a shadow on the tints beyond; or these miracles of Sevres, exhibited every Christmas in the Louvre along with the latest work of the Gobelin looms, the cups and vases painted after Watteau, now in bleu du rci, now in rcse du Barry, now in vert pr'c, looking as if the wings of birds and the petals of blossoms had simply been cast under a spell beneath the gloss of enamel, and now made more precious yet with jewels.
       Where all are so lovely it is hard to choose; and a collector is tolerably sure that if she selects a vase of Henri Deux, with its yellow glory, she will long for a basket of Palissy's ware in violet relief; if she has Dresden, she will want Berlin, that she will never think her china closet complete without a bit of old Bow with its bee beneath the handle; and that, in fact, having once begun, she will never be happy again so long as the snow-white shapes encircle the blue of the Portland vase itself and are not hers.
       And meanwhile the lover of the quaint and the suggestive has united town and country in another article cf ornamentation only the good country housewife would never have it in her parlor, as the city wife is eager to do'. Perhaps its adoption yields a little too much to the rococo, but, it is interesting inasmuch as it makes the necessary article of earlier centuries the plaything of the later. It can, indeed, hardly be anything but a plaything, for what machinery already does so perfectly is unlikely to be rivaled by the amateur fine lady's fingers; and the thing is now only saved from absurdity by its history, which is something inquisitorial in the bondage it imposed, by its associations, which are sacred, and by its outlines, which are those of clear beauty.

 Rosemary Dorling discusses her Victorian pottery collection.

The City Parlor

       And he will tell you that in lesser matters the city, always in advance, has reached elegance and an inhabited appearance much earlier than the country at large, and drawing-rooms were darkened there the first and crowded with plenishing, and there were paintings and statuary in them before these objects traveled farther, and there were portieres and screens and placqucs and brass-work and bronze and old silver and china and beveled glass and needle painting, dark walls and multiplied mantels shelf over shelf, short curtains and long curtains, huge vases and little panels and the rest. And all this while the rural parlor was ornamented only with the framed sampler, and the family-tree, and the lady with the big handkerchief at the tomb under weeping willows, with at best four prints in gilt frames or possibly a couple of crude portraits or black silhouettes, always excepting, of course, those colonial mansions that rejoiced in "Smyberts" and ''Copleys." Surely the city parlor had the right of it. The moral forces are not necessarily strengthened by contact with bare and uninviting walls; the nature, instead of being developed to better things, will be constantly returned upon itself, in the absence of objects stimulating the fancy and leading the thought outward. And certainly the intellectual forces in almost every such instance are starved, and where one is of such build that he chances to be improved by the concentration of thought that such ascetic dwellings might foster, others are only dwarfed and withered.
       The age that has become famous for its unhealthy self-introspection could hardly do a better thing than make the surrounding material walls of its daily life diverting and interesting, while all that hangs upon them or lies between them leads the thought out to larger life and experience, to the past history of art, to its future hopes, and to its effect upon humanity; and if the harmony of all, the lovely and luxurious combination, excite the pleasure-loving senses, the controlling brain also is excited in memory, imagination, invention, and appreciation. One realizes the falsehood of that old, strict idea that one could not be good and be comfortable, understands that enjoyment of fine colors and fine contours does not belong exclusively to the Scarlet Lady, and that beauty and brimstone are really not inseparable.

The Cheery Town

       With all these pleasures and distractions, even with their drawbacks, the city-dweller will tell you there is no place one-half so good, so bright, so cheery as the town. He will tell you that throughout sacred Scripture itself Heaven is described as a city, the celestial city, and the most splendid vision of the Apocalypse is of a city descending from the sky. He will tell you that all great movements have their origin in the lively thought and action of the town. 

What was city life like during the Victorian era?

In the Street Car

       But in all the delight of shopping there is still a drawback, and that is the street-car and its discomforts and the discussion of her conduct there. She knows that it is said of her that it is she who swings her parasol at the car-driver, from the greatest allowable distance, and walks with more or less deliberation toward the car while it waits, where a man would have run with good speed; that she holds the car, the door open, while she gives her friend the last message or the superfluous kiss and takes her parcels, and drops them, and has to pick them up on the steps; that it is she who refuses to budge an inch to make room for the new arrival; that it is she who slips into the vacated seat without a word of thanks.
       All these things, it cannot be denied, are offenses; yet, if we look into them, we may find some little excuse for their existence. "It must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." On our first glance, for instance, at the woman who swings her parasol a square off, and walks deliberately to the car, we see no apology ; but she sees one perfectly in the fact that every man in the car will make her a subject of merriment and of unpleasant remark if she runs, that her clothes make it very difficult for her to run, and that the laws of deportment, which have had to receive the stamp of masculine approbation in all ages before they could pass current, make it one of the high misdemeanors for a woman to be seen running. For another count in the indictment there is really nothing to be said. The woman who keeps the car waiting for her kisses and good-bys and mutinous parcels is a child who should be taken by the shoulders and pushed in. Nor can much defense be made for the woman who refuses to budge, since that is an unkindness, a churlishness, in which she is untrue to her sex; yet the truth is that, having- paid for her seat, she has a right to enjoy it without relinquishing a third of it on either side only to have her apparel ruined by the heavy weight crushed upon it, and frequently not merely a heavy weight, but a soiled and contaminating one. For the last accusation, and the one more dwelt upon than any, it is, without doubt, occasionally true that women take a proffered seat and neglect to express their obligation. Yet here again it may be said in their behalf, in the first place, that they would almost invariably rather stand than force another person to do so, and generally take the seat only to avoid a scene and the appearance of anything conspicuously ungracious. In the next place, the confusion and embarrassment incident probably divert the mind from the conventionality for a conventionality it is, when the giver in his own mind knows that, of course, the taker can not help but thank him, whether she says so or not. Again, it is not easy to thank a person who perhaps vacates his seat without a word or a nod, and whose back is too quickly turned for him to receive them if there are thanks to give; and one is in as unpleasant a position when sending thanks at a man's back as in not rendering them at all. And finally, to say nothing of the fact that a woman's fare is as good as a man's fare, and entitles her to a seat, or of the circumstance that it is an affair of noblesse oblige with the stronger party to care for the weaker, and the man thus does it as something due to himself, and not at all in order to please the individual woman, and therefore does not make her his debtor, yet so long as men refuse to women their obvious equality in human rights, she does not so much wrong, after all, as we implied in the beginning, in claiming privilege; and since all that she might be and do and rise to is taken from her in exchange for protection, a seat is her privilege, for which she owes no more thanks than a convict does for fetters. Nevertheless, we think no woman of any self-respect ever fails in giving thanks when the opportunity is allowed her.
       In the mean time the men who stare the women out of countenance; who put their arms unnecessarily about the women in helping them along their way; who soil the floor, according to their unclean custom, where the women must tread and drag their dresses, even if they do not exercise their skill in targetry on those dresses themselves such men (and there are, to say the least, as many of them as of the thankless women) should have very little to say about courtesy in the cars.

The Opera

       Beside the opera, to those that understand its spirit and love its exaltations, the spoken drama is something infinitely petty; the mask and the cothurn seem then to belong only to the region into which song lifts them. For the opera is, after all, little else than the old Greek play perfected in the matter of its representation, and with the eloquence of language translated more thoroughly into music. There is the chorus and there are the instruments, both of them far transcending the old simple idea; all the appliances of modern illumination and machinery take the place of the ancients' open roof of the blue in those theatres that were

"clean scooped
Out of a hill-side, with the sky above,
And sea before our seats in marble row;"

and after all that, all passion and suffering and joy being crowded into the action now as then, tone and tune lift it on their mighty wings, and love and sorrow are heightened and deepened into the universal sympathy by the magic of modulated numbers, the ineffable power of music.
       But in old times all Greece attended the representations of the drama. The merits of the new play were discussed by the populace as freely as the price of provisions. Balaustion and her listeners were not the only ordinary Greeks who knew Euripides and Sophocles by heart ; their verses belonged to the people, and they had their roots in the common soil.
       But with us, on the contrary, the opera is as costly as all other exotics are; it is designed only for the rich the boys who sang the women's part to the Greeks did not dream of being able to melt pearls in their drink in the way our prime-donne can do if they will and by force of circumstances the poor have little part in it. Nevertheless, among those who do frequent it here there are several perfectly distinct classes of patrons: there are those who go because it is the fashion, as they would stay away if it were the fashion, who go because opera hats and cloaks are becoming, who go because they are invited, because all their friends are there, because they want to say they went, want to be seen, want to be excited; then there are those who go as a matter of curiosity, because it is a novelty to them, because they want to educate themselves in all those things that touch the finer senses; and lastly, there are those who go to intoxicate soul and sense in a luxury of sound, to revel in the beauty of motion and light and color, the eagerness of dramatic interpretation, the satisfaction of song who go because to them the opera is a real thing, a thing they love, and that repays them with an affluence of pleasure humming over sweets, and only retires from the work at last when not only she herself, but all her friends as well, have no money left.
       And what a throng it is of which these shoppers make a part the haughty urbans stepping from their satin-lined carriages; the satchel-bearing suburbans; the young country school-mistress who thinks the firm would possibly become embarrassed if she did not buy her new black silk there, and, the article once bought, feels a happy consciousness of benefits conferred, and a proud sense of having enlarged the trade of the place in all the markets of the world; then there is the penniless companion of the shopper, who has no purse to open, and before whose indifferent eyes all these things the people, the noise, the bustle, the confusion pass like disordered phantasms; there is the woman who never lets her purchase out of her sight after the money has passed, and laughs to scorn the parcel delivery, and the woman who wears a circular cloak and is afraid to go near the counters for fear she shall be accused of stealing, and the woman who wears a circular and takes precious good care to keep near the counters and watch her chance for stealing; there is the professional shopper who buys for others on commission, and who knows what there is in the place better than the clerks themselves know; the young bride who never thinks of blushing as she adds treasure after treasure to her trousseau; the young mother who is nothing but a blush as she chooses her nainsooks and long lawns and edgings and insertings; there is the wretched gentleman who accompanies some shoppers as purse-bearer, and in all the crowd of women never felt so exquisitely uncomfortable in his life; and there are the shoppers who have no idea of buying at all, but who have come only to see what it is that the rest of the world is buying.
       And what beautiful things they are that the world is buying! One would say ingenuity in design and beauty of fabric and prodigality of undreamed of colors never reached before the point they touch to-day; for although stuffs have been made more barbarously rich, we doubt if they have ever been more artistically beautiful. The shopper whose check-book is not unlimited needs to pause bewildered among all the brocades and damasks, to beg for patterns, and then to go home and ponder and balance and decide in peace, where her fancy will not be disturbed by rival claims, where the jostling of the crowd will not have made her nervous and cross and difficult to please, and where the elation of the recently given largess for her shopping will not have so turned her head that she is pleased too easily and buys too soon.
      And, after all, the whole business is much like a lottery. One starts out in the morning quite ignorant whether one is to draw prize or blank; whether the bargain will prove a bargain or otherwise; whether what looked precisely right in the shop will not look precisely wrong at home, away from its accesseries, and face to face with the necessities of its future companion pieces of dress; whether the silk will not wear shiny, the basket cloth wear satiny, the damasse rub up fluffy. One's ideas, too, are apt to build such charming pictures of unattainable shapes and colors that the result may be heart breaking. One marvels that out of all that wilderness of beauty and lustre in the shops, to which the four quarters of the globe have contributed muslins from Farther India, shawls from Cathay, gold-wrought wefts from Egypt, silks from France, furs from the North Pole one has contrived to reach only such a beggarly and unbecoming end. And then to the disappointed young shopper, who has not been broken in by a long series of disappointments, there seems to be little more to live for, until some rival shopper, when all is over, says how perfectly that plume falls along the brim! what a lovely contrast that color is with the skin! with what grace that stuff takes folds and falls! groans for such a knack of making herself picturesque, and begs for her company when next she rides abroad, and knows well that neither theatre, nor dance, nor drive, nor sail has any such swift and sweet excitement as shopping has for the skillful shopper.

 The Canadian Opera Company researches Victorian era
 costume for their production of Rigoletto.

Music Abroad

       Music, on a broader scale, moreover, has its best cultivation and its largest audiences in the town, where opera has asserted a sort of sovereignty and immense throngs never think of grudging immense sums of money, glad to get music at its best on any terms. For the opera is the idealization and apotheosis of the drama; it is the drama set to music, and where the subtile inflections and far-reaching influences of tune and harmony shall do more than words can do shall make the prosaic impassioned, and the impassioned divine. 

       "Lurline" (overture above)  is a grand romantic opera in three acts composed by William Vincent Wallace to an English libretto by Edward Fitzball, It was first performed on 23 February 1860 at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden by the Pyne and Harrison English Opera Company with Louisa Pyne in the title role. The libretto is based on the legend of the Lorelei. Read more...

The Piano-Forte

       A hundred years ago and to what a growth has that new instrument attained! Then it was comparatively of rude manufacture, a slender case, standing on slight supports, and with keys tinkling like a music-box, and scarcely so much like the modern piano-forte as the little tea-kettle engine with which the inventors first ran over the road is like the ponderous locomotive of the present day that bites the rail as it thunders on with a planetary tread.
       There had been one or two pianos, though, nearly seventy years before that era, but so very imperfect that it took a multitude of new ideas, improvements and patents to bring even the perfection cf the one of 1776. Still some of the great composers had written wonderful music for the instrument even in that crude state, whether satisfied with it or foreseeing its advance. And from what it had advanced! The timbrel, the dulcimer, the clavichord, the spinet, the harpsichord, the harp itself, each contributed its separate idea to the composition of the wonderful mechanism on which Mr. Dibdin played that day, and which has advanced so much farther now that it seems to be as perfect as an instrument that does not meet the pure euharmonic scale can hope to be, and that stands, when its lid is closed, as some one has described it, like the sarcophagus of unrisen music, and whose manufacture, moreover, has reached in London alone an average of more than a hundred thousand instruments a year, produced by some two hundred makers, and giving employment and livelihood, of course, to an immense train of workmen and their families.
       It is interesting to note how many various countries enter the lists in cataring for our daily music and in finishing the case and works. Take, for instance, a fine Erard. Switzerland has sent the fir, Norway the deal, England the pear and sycamore and holly wood and the iron, Riga the oak, the tropical forests of Honduras the mahogany, and of South America the cedar; from Ceylon comes the ebony, from Rio the rosewood, from India the satin-wood, from Africa the ivory, from Russia the leather, from America the pine, and copper and silver and cloth from almost every meridian. And all this is brought together; for this great minds have wrestled, great minds have written, and all to delight the heart of the little miss who longs to rattle off her notes as she sees her elders do it, and breaks her little back for hours every day in the effort.
       And why not? Why should not great minds write and wrestle for such results? Is there any better result than that of bringing the pleasure into the household that this instrument does? As you sit and hear it and look about on the group of pleased listeners, you think it equal to a hearth any day in its power to 'gather and to cheer; and it has seemed to me in certain family circles where the members clustered round the piano-forte as a center that it was a sort of household altar at whose shrine the family assembled, and where the father looks on his little daughter, who can evoke this magic, as on something too precious and perfect to be his, and that the moral health and refinement of the whole household are assisted by the music, no matter how imperfect it may be when measured by great standards; and I have thought that every child ought to feel repaid for all her toil in the happiness she affords the fond father and mother in these hours of their satisfaction. 

 The first pianos.

Music at Home

       We frequently hear derision cast upon the prevailing habit of instructing young ladies indiscriminately in the art of music, and especially of piano-playing, when they have shown no very peculiar talent for it. But we think this derision a great mistake. These young people would be doing nothing better if they were not practicing their finger exercises. They give themselves, undeniably, a great pleasure, and they make themselves able to produce a great deal for others throughout their little circle. The mistake is to be found in the supposition that it is necessary they should play like Aus der
Ohe, as if nobody might be allowed to read who could not roll his periods like Edmund Kean. It seems reasonable that children should be taught the alphabet of all arts, and go farther if nature prompts the desire. As for the piano-forte, perhaps both maker and inventor would feel repaid for their centuries of thought and work if they could see, as we have done, those tired fathers that, hearing their young daughters thrum their tunes on the instruments they have toiled so hard to buy, close their eyes and listen delightedly to the poor little music and feel as if they enjoyed indeed a foretaste of heaven.
       It is nearly a hundred and twenty-five years ago since an announcement of a concert was made in a London newspaper, and it was promised that a certain singer would sing, accompanied by Mr. Dibdin "on a new instrument called the piano-forte."

 Women mostly studied those topics relating 
to the fine arts during the Victorian era.

City Children

       The children of the city, too, have, in the mass, the advantages of schools that are the most enlightening, and of teachers in art whose talent and rank make it impossible to have them outside of the wealthy city. Take music alone; the best professors of that art must needs find their support in cities, and the child who has their instruction from the start has the best chance of success.

 Classroom expectations during the Victorian era.

Advantages of Town Life

       The opportunities for growth and improvement are innumerable. Is there a painter whose canvases bring the beauty of the world into the compass of a few feet the sight and the inspiration are at cur command; is there a speaker of world-wide repute, a singer to whom kings and emperors are glad to listen, a preacher that moves men's souls, it is ours to listen, too; is there a play that thrills, a spectacle that delights, a song that charms, it is all within our reach in the city. We gather the news of the world there on a larger scale than that on which it is given to rustic communities, and we have absorbed and assimilated the last new thing before it has reached what is sometimes called the Provinces, and have gone on to something newer yet. 

The pleasures of Victorian city life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Digital Papers: Antique Sheet Music

Description of Illustration: sheet music aged, musical notes, old-looking sheet music, used as printable craft papers

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Monday, December 11, 2017

"Gieb acht auf dein Propellerchen!" sheet music cover

Description of Illustration: cover of sheet music, lady and a flying trapeze act, smoking, 1908, Carl Marx Chanson, Verlag Otto Dietrich Leipzig, Hermann Mestrum Repertoir

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"Eine Ballonfahrt" sheet music cover

Description of Illustration: cover of sheet music,1896, hot-air balloon, couple traveling, basket, Music by Reinhold Ehrke, Hugo Theimer Hamburg

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"Angelina" sheet music cover

Description of Illustration: cover of sheet music, 1857, Valse, Chas D'albert, woman in ball gown, pink roses, restored illustration

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"Enterprise" Sheet Music

Description of Illustration: cover of sheet music, professor and pupil, hot-air balloon, pantomime of "Sinbad" at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, "Thing Not Generally Known, 1882

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Ladies Fashions From 1880

Description of Illustration: color fashion plate restored, fashions for women 1880, evening wear, bridal gown, walking dresses, day dresses, months of: April, February, March and May, little girls fashions too

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Send for the doctor...

Description of Illustration: puppy in a doll bed, toy china pitcher, bottle and cup, lace blanket, miniature doll table, spoon for pretend medicine, black and white

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A difficult instrument to play upon

Description of Illustration: little girl, typewriter, guitar, paper, duster, curtain, sash, curiosity, type

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Queen Victoria and her great-grandchild

Description of Illustration: etching taken from a photograph, Queen Victoria, for whom the era is named after, little girl, grandmother, great-grandchild, seated

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Beautiful eyes...

Description of Illustration: pearls, flower, medalion, child portrait, greyscale, photograph

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Last coast of the season!

Description of Illustration: children on a homemade sled, winter fun, sport, winter clothes, snow, hedgerow

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A young family

Description of Illustration: dressing up dolls and pets, dog, cat, little girl greyscale, parlor or living room

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hysterical Battle for Suffrage Will Be Won By British Women

       London, June 28., 1906 -- Woman's suffrage in England is becoming one of the great questions of the day. Not only men like Keir Hardie, the leader of the labor party in parliament, but a majority of the members of the present house of commons have already committed themselves to the principle; and it is predicted that before the present government in England goes out of office women will have the right to vote.
       Within the last year demonstration after demonstration by some hundreds of enthusiastic, not to say fanatical, women has served to keep the question before the public. They have made disturbances in the very house of commons. A tradition of the house is that women may not attend. This is avoided by the seating of women visitors behind the famous grill in the gallery, where they may see but not be seen. This grill proved no bar to a coterie of "suffragettes," as they are now termed, and the violent interruption they made caused them to be ejected forcibly and gave the movement considerable of a setback.
       The more aggressive the suffragists have besieged the Premier Bannerman at his home and at his offices until many of them have been arrested. Only the other day a lot of them at a public  meeting which Chancellor Asquith was addressing were ejected by the police, fighting all the while. Waiting outside they tried to assault the minister. They hate Asquith particularly because he is outspoken against the propaganda.
       In spite of all the turmoil attending the campaign, the demand to allow women to vote has become such a problem as to call for definite action. A great deal of logic being in its favor notwithstanding the hysteria, it is practically certain to be granted. (The Spokane Press)
       The following article was written for this paper by Mr. Hardie:

Mrs. Roe, secretary of the Votes-for-Women Association,
a red hot captain of femininity militant.
LET THEM VOTE - KEIR HARDIE. Leader of the British Labor Party.
       To those who are opposed on the principle to women having the votes at all, I have little to say. These I find it easier to pity than to reason with. In the English colonies women are voters, but they have not, because of that, ceased to be wives  or mothers. Their outlook on life has been broadened by the possession of the vote which forces them to interest themselves in political and social questions. They are thus in a fair way to become better companions of their husbands and --I say this with deep conviction--better mothers. A woman whose circle if interests is circumscribed by her pots, pans and scrubbing brushes, varied by an occasional gossip with a neighbor or a quarrel with her husband, can never, however affectionate, be other than a curb upon the opening, eagerly questioning intelligence of her children. Broaden the outlook of the motor, and you open a new world for childhood to grow in, and bind many a wild, wayward youth to his home love who is now driven out into the hard world for lack of that sympathetic, intelligent companionship which an educated and enlightened mother can alone supply.
       The "half angel half idiot" period is over in the woman's world. She is fighting her way into every sphere of human activity. Her labor is coming into competition with that of a man in nearly every department of industry. Women should insist upon political equality, whatever the conditions of that equality may be.

actual footage of Women's Protests.

"Guess Who?" for Christmas Fun

Description of Illustration: Santa, Father Christmas, Belsnickle, text "?Guess Who?", hood, furs, pointing to nose, beard, black and white sketch

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Belsnickle with toys for little girls and boys

Description of Illustration: Santa, Father Christmas, Belsnickle, feather tree, wrapped orange, toys in a basket, family celebration, cold outside, tan coat with brown fur trim

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The Sleigh Chase

Description of Illustration: little girl and her guardian ride an old-fashioned sleigh, horses, dog chase, whip, winter, trees, snow packed road, fully restored Victorian scrap, die cut

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Inside a lady's purse...

Description of Illustration: snake or crocodile skin purse, Victorian lady, ruffled bonnet, handle, powder puff, perfume, tissue, pill box, brush, die cut, scrap

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Passing along the new year...

Description of Illustration: father time, baby new year, old grandfather clock, sands of time, staff, hand shake

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Advertising in the 1800s

Tiffany's "Blue Book" was the
 first mail-order catalogue in the
 United States.
       Thomas J. Barratt from London has been called "the father of modern advertising". Working for the Pears Soap company, Barratt created an effective advertising campaign for the company products, which involved the use of targeted slogans, images and phrases. One of his slogans, "Good morning. Have you used Pears' soap?" was famous in its day and into the 20th century.
       Barratt introduced many of the crucial ideas that lie behind successful advertising and these were widely circulated in his day. He constantly stressed the importance of a strong and exclusive brand image for Pears and of emphasizing the product's availability through saturation campaigns. He also understood the importance of constantly reevaluating the market for changing tastes and mores, stating in 1907 that "tastes change, fashions change, and the advertiser has to change with them. An idea that was effective a generation ago would fall flat, stale, and unprofitable if presented to the public today. Not that the idea of today is always better than the older idea, but it is different – it hits the present taste."
       As the economy expanded across the world during the 19th century, advertising grew alongside. In the United States, the success of this advertising format eventually led to the growth of mail-order advertising.