Monday, July 23, 2012


For those of you who might be wondering where I've been, I have not dropped off the face of the earth; I have just been buried under a pile of work this past week! I mentioned earlier that I have been working on an extensive project for Victoria magazine's special holiday publication in addition to editing a couple large projects. One of them is Dawn Heese's new book, A 21st-Century Twist on 19th-Century Favorites, which will be coming out in September. More details on that later. I've also been busy preparing a program on the history of Victorian sewing advertising for a sewing group hosted by Adel Quilting and Drygoods, which met this past Saturday. These colorful ads were popular during the late 1800s. I've been collecting them for the past 10 years and thought it would be fun to share some of my collection.

It was a colorful trip down memory lane. In addition to the sewing advertising, I gave examples of other commonly advertised products, such as patent medicine. I must use the term "medicine" very loosely here for as we now know, many of these so-called-medications did nothing to cure maladies and could actually be dangerous! A classic example is these cocaine toothache drops for children that promised an instant cure. It's important to note that back in the 1880s, when these cards were distributed, cocaine was perfectly legal. It was sold over the counter in the U.S. until 1914.

Collecting these colorful ads was a popular Victorian pastime, and a trip to the general store usually brought back one or more of them, which women and children would paste into their scrapbooks—as you can see in this glue ad from the 1880s.

I also shared my antique Victorian scrapbook, which is filled with these wonderful advertising cards. 

And here's what the inside looks like...

It was a wonderful day of friendship, fun, and quilting history. I even received a couple nice surprises from some fellow group members. A nice lady named Mary Kay, who follows my blog and knows that I use vintage wooden spools for a multitude of projects, gave me two baggies of them that she found at a sale. Thank you so much, Mary Kay! I guess I'm getting a reputation for being a spool lover! I seem to use them up in no time, so the gift was very much appreciated.

The bag even included some unusual blue spools, which I had never seen before.

And my friend, Merry, brought more of her wonderful farm-fresh brown eggs in addition to a bag full of other goodies. Thank you, Merry!


  1. Oh Kimber, how I wish I lived closer to you! I think it would be so fun to check out these goodies in person. Sigh! Thanks for sharing them here today.

  2. Love your ads, can you imagine giving your children those pills today?? and glue thats cements everything down, I could use that on a few items around here! Will look forward to the Victoria Christmas issue...

  3. I just love the old ads. And your collection is are awesome!

  4. Kimber, I really enjoy your blog, so inspiring and informative. You have such a great collection and knowledgeable in so many areas. Thank you. Hugs, Mary A.

  5. Thank you for sharing your scrapbook - how wonderful! Also looking forward to the special holiday issue of Victoria magazine. In fact, I was inspired to subscribe, so I would not miss an issue!

  6. Wow! That is so interesting about the cocaine pills - I had no idea it was used as a "medicine" back in the "old days"!. Love your newly acquired spools!

  7. Great collection. I have some old postcards from my paternal grandfather from WWI. Not as interesting as yours, but still fun.


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