23 December 2015

Sears Catalog ... a bit of nostalgia

Google Search on Sears Catalog

I remember when we used to receive the Sears catalog.  It was a chance to look at so many things that we rarely saw during our weekly grocery shopping trips.  Otherwise, our shopping was pretty much limited to shopping for Christmas and before school started – I don’t remember our doing much celebrating for birthdays except that the birthday person could pick their favorite cake and meal (mine were an ice cream cake from Carvel and a pork roast dinner, respectively).

I remember that we received another catalog in the mail also and I just cannot remember which one – maybe Spiegels and/or Montgomery Ward? This Wikipedia article talks about the history of Mail Order and includes a list of Mail Order Catalogues and the year they were founded.

I was reminded of this when I came across a post (2014) about the Sears catalog being available on Ancestry.com, Remember the Sears Catalog? It’s on Ancestry.com.  You can search the catalog or I think it’s more fun to pick a year (I picked my birth year) and then select which season and then you will see the catalog.  I also looked at the year my mother was born.  What a fun way to see the world of our parents, grandparents, etc, through what one could purchase!

And, as we celebrate the winter holidays, wouldn’t it be fun to gather the family around a laptop (or maybe even projected on a tv) and look at the catalogs available for Christmases past?

As usual, this got me curious to see what other resources there might be, besides Ancestry.com and I came across Wishbookweb.com which has Christmas-specific catalogs from 1933-1988. This website is FREE to access.  I also found that if you search on retail + catalog + archive there are several archives including Radio Shack.  Internet Archive also has some catalogs which can be found under “Clothing and dress – Catalogs” (as well as I’m sure other subject headings such as “Clothing Catalogs,” etc.

I wonder what was the first year when color was used in retail catalogs?

Do you remember receiving these massive catalogs?  Did you family order from them?

Do you know of other archival catalog collections for other retail catalogs of years past?

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