Scope and Contents
This material consists primarily of scattered correspondence on letterhead stationery, bills/receipts, printed advertisements, trade catalogs, handbills, pamphlets, advertising cards , photographs, cloth samples , leaflets, books, prospectus, order forms, chromolithographs, magazine advertisements, seals, postcards, business cards, children's books, greeting cards, almanacs, calendars, cardboard standups, fans, paper bag samples and import/export documents from businesses referred to loosely as department or variety stores. A number of these stores are still in business and tend to have a substantial amount of material . Such companies include I. Magnin, R. H. Macy, Woodward & Lothrop, F. H. Woolworth's, Sears, Roebuck & Company , Montgomery Wards, Wanamaker, etc. There are a few references to businesses who imported English, French, German, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian, Sudanese, Persian and Moorish articles.
Generally the stores included among these materials sold a variety of products consisting of clothing and clothing accessories, home furnishings, home construction kits, novelties, stationery , groceries and a number of other products sold in contemporary department and variety stores. There are also companies that specialized in a particular product or type of product. Researchers interested in these businesses should also consult the same subject category if it is included on the listing of vertical document boxes. It is also possible that if the company produced oversize catalogs these would be listed with the Warshaw Collection oversize materials. For example, there are a number of Montgomery Wards, Butler Brothers, Bellas Hess and Company and Sears, Roebuck and Company catalogs found among the oversize materials.
There are a number of images that appear on these materials. Most of these images tend to be illustrations of the exterior or interior departments of the stores . Product illustrations also appear throughout the catalogues, printed advertisements and price lists. Ethnic images particularly in French advertisements also appear regularly. Dry goods stores relied heavily on advertisements directed toward children especially during the Christmas/holiday season. Books for children illustrating characters from favorite stories or Christmas scenes are common among the larger stores namely Woodward & Lothrop.
Materials in boxes one through thirty-nine are organized by name of company. Publications that discuss the history of a particular company are included with the company related materials. Catalogues , calendars , almanacs and price lists are generally listed under the company name in the finding aid with dates . This is due to the fact that these materials are often requested by researchers in this manner. This does not imply that these are the only materials for that particular company in the folders .
Box thirty-nine is also partially arranged by type including patents, stocks , general images, associations and miscellaneous items. A few related publications such as a chain store bibliography and a book on the history of chain stores are also included.
Boxes forty and forty-one contain periodicals created by W. A. Spelman in New York. Published as a trade journal devoted to the interests of the retail merchants, it was primarily meant to aid the subscriber in meeting the increasing competition in the dry goods trade. It was also meant to guide merchants in the purchase of goods. Referred to as The Fancy Goods Graphic or Spelman's Fancy Goods Graphic, these publications date from 1881-1890 .
Import and export documents are found in boxes forty-one, through forty-three.
The processing of additional materials in 2017 integrated a significant volume of material, most notably the Jermain Business and Family papers and to a lesser extent, the Trimble Family Business records. Both offer insight to the operations of 19th Century family businesses. Also added was significant manuscript on the history of Montgomery Ward is also available.
Catalogues, especially thinner circular type editions have not been consolidated and may be found throughout the material in this collection. However there are several groupings listed in the Catalogue series, especially for regular issue bulky catalogues published by Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck and Company. See note regarding some items that have been microfilmed or transferred off-site.