Monday, December 16, 2013

More vintage holiday catalogs

This is our second post about the box of ephemera that Tom got at an auction last month.  Previously, we focused on a couple of World War II-era Christmas catalogs from the lot.  There was also a Marshall-Fields Christmas catalog in there, but it's a little unclear whether this one is from the war era or slightly later.  Check out the rather unappetizing turkey on the cover!

This catalog looks more like it might be from the late 1940s or the early 1950s, since there isn't any text indicating possible shortages of goods, and there seem to be a lot more "luxury" items here, things that I imagine might not have been available during the war, like the elaborate poker set advertised on the back cover:

You might have noticed a theme here:  there's a black cat wandering through the pages of Marshall-Fields' catalog.  Sometimes it's your typical housecat, as on the covers.  But other times, it takes on some weirdly human characteristics to complement the goods advertised:

Smoking cat on a page advertising pipes, tobacco containers, et al.

Business cat on a page featuring card-cases, wallets, briefcases, et al.

--or to reflect the general holiday spirit:

Don't you wish you could get your cat to wrap your gifts and take them to the post office?

Mistletoe cat

But I especially like "Musketeer/Art Cat," below.  This page also suggests that we're still in the near postwar era, given the framed photos of servicemen advertised:

On a more local note, the box also included a catalog (also undated) from the Maramor Candy Company, a Columbus, Ohio institution.  The candy shop was attached to the Maramor Restaurant, which operated on East Broad Street in downtown Columbus from the late 1920s until the late 1960s.

(Check out this blog for an interesting account of the restaurant, which was owned and operated by an all-woman staff, and for a description of it by Alice B. Toklas, who apparently dined there with Gertrude Stein in 1934!)

And check this out: if your order were small enough, you could pay for it in postage stamps:

I was really surprised to discover that the Maramor is still in the chocolate-making business--though only commercially.  Actually, it's kind of difficult to tell from their website exactly what they do…but rest assured, "with [their] chocolate depositing equipment [they] are able to mould solid chocolates as well as one shot center filled pieces.  [They] also have state of the art enrobing technology that gives [them] nearly limitless enrobing capabilities."

So, in case there's anything you need enrobed in chocolate before Christmas, now you know who to call.

But somehow, the website is totally missing the charm of the old catalog, you know?

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