Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fun Fondy Artifact, Plus Something "Bazar"

We're in the thick of rummage sale season here in Fond du Lac, and this past weekend was no exception!  Brian's aunt and uncle, Gene and Dot, had a really great one - although, I couldn't really call it a "rummage" sale, since there were so many true antiques and collectibles available.

Take, for example, this AMAZING Harper's Bazar from 1898!  Isn't it incredible??  I love the ads.  There's something bizarre about this Bazaar, though - check the spelling of the title - there's only one "a"!  The magazine still exists, and there's a companion Web site that clearly spells it the correct (Turkish) way, so I checked out the history of this magazine on Wikipedia.

I knew it was a high-end magazine, but I had no idea how many of the 20th century's most celebrated photographers, artists and fashion icons got their start there!  Richard Avedon, Andy Warhol, Erte, Man Ray, Diane Arbus - they all shot or illustrated for Harper's.  Fascinating!

This $125 would cost a whopping $3231.74 today!
This magazine is also pre-1901, which means that at this point it was still a weekly, rather than a monthly publication, and it focused mainly on fine clothing from Germany and France.  What struck me most, besides the ads, is the actual copy.  Good lord!  These poor 43 year-old eyes could scarcely make out the print WITH my glasses!  Best of luck reading it at night by oil lamp - the incandescent light bulb was still fairly new then.  It seems like not too many folks would take the time to read a periodical like this anymore - we want our news in infographics and headlines, not 7-page novellas!  We can't be bothered to actually read anymore; we simply don't have the time (said the Pinterest addict to the Facebook junky).  :D

How's this for wonderful - this magazine was a GIFT.  Thank you, Dot!  :D

Here's the "Fondy" artifact I mentioned in the subject line - this 1931 cook book, which was put out by the "Ladies of the Tabea Mission Society and their friends".  (HOLY MOLY!  I was just searching online for  "Tabea Mission" and found that someone tried to sell this same cook book  for FORTY BUCKS!  Not surprisingly, no one bought it for that price!).  The Tabea Mission society seems to have some ties with the Mennonites, but I couldn't find out much.

There are so many great things about this cook book, but my favorite thing is the ads.  Most are just copy but some have great illustrations!  The 2, 3 and 4-digit phone numbers also slay me, yet some ads only have an address!  Can you imagine a local ad doing that now?  That would be the kiss of death.  Back then, though, you really just had to put your name - most people knew where you were and when you were open.  What else did you need to know?  :D

Let's take a sample page from this cookbook and examine all of the fun things on it.  I'm so sad that I'm of a generation who never got to experience a soda fountain at the drug store!  Maybe some of you my age did, but I'll bet 95% of Gen-Xers have not.  What a lovely way to while away an afternoon, sitting at Thiel Drug and sipping your chocolate malted or an egg cream.  JEALOUS!

Check out these recipes - do they look incomplete to you?  I'll bet they didn't to our great-grandmothers!  They baked so much, they didn't need any "trivial" information, like what temperature to set the oven to or how long to bake.  They just instinctively knew.  Imagine this being the last recipe book on Earth - we'd all starve.  :D

One thing that has changed for the better is our health care.  Eighty-one years ago, you could claim treatment of heart trouble, "ciatica" (sp) and falling arches in the same quack "parlor".  Thank goodness these places have been debunked!  Sure, you can still find all kinds of "cures" these days, but they have to come with disclaimers and you can find all kinds of pro and con information online.  Back then, you had to trust that this guy knew what he was doing.  Something tells me he didn't.  :D

Items like this make me want to seriously research our downtown and how it's changed through the years.  Happily, I discovered quite a few businesses were still around, although they're spread far and wide in the city now.  Still, it's heartening to know that some things haven't changed in 81 years.

Thanks for the great sale, Gene and Dot!  We had a blast!  Readers, I'll have more from this sale in future posts!  :D


  1. I'm just totally loving your blog Mel! Are you trying to make me an Ephemeraologist (is that even a word)? I love all of the interesting things you post and especially love the Fond du Lac stuff! I've always been interested in this kind of thing and would LOVE to try these recipes. I wish I had a CLUE about the oven temp/time because I am lost in that regard!

    1. Michelle, you are so sweet! Thanks so much! Now I am goint to initiate you: BOOM. You are now an Ephemeraologist - and it IS a word, because I totally made it up. :D

      I love the Fondy stuff too, because I don't see a lot of it. If you want to try the recipes, I would just use a 350 degree oven and check on the bread or muffins after 15 minutes or so. :D

  2. When we're at the FDL library maybe we need to look in the old city directories and see what the Sharkey Treatment Parlors actually did! (Remember that old home electro-shock therapy device you gave me?)

    I don't think we need any heaping tablespoons of lard now... :D

    1. Carolyn, I will take you up on that offer! :D Should be VERY interesting indeed. :) Oh, and have you used that electroshock device in any assemblages yet? :D

      What, no lard? I mean, I can't settle for plain old BUTTER, for heaven's sake! :D