Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Object of the Day: A Bookmark from the Family Druggist

You must click on the image to see the larger picture since it's very attractive.  I insist.  

A chinoiserie-inspired scene on a celadon background, this antique bookmark mimics the look of the japanned objects and furnishings which were so popular in the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century while incorporating the “it” colors of the 1880s—minty green, rust, coral and umber.

It’s a dandy little thing. I love the color palette. If given this bookmark/trade card by my local druggist today, I’d surely save it and use it. I think its inherent loveliness is the very reason that it’s survived well over a century to end up in the collection of some guy in Texas in 2012.

EVERARD H. KELLEY, FAMILY DRUGGIST handed out these cards. I wonder if he liked his name. I’ve never heard the name “Everard” before, but you can rest assured it’ll pop up in “Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square” at some point now. Mr. Kelley’s apothecary shop was located on the Post Office Block of Lawrence, Massachusetts. That’s not too specific is it? Well, I suppose if you lived in Lawrence in the 1880s that was as specific an address as was necessary. I’m sure everyone knew Mr. Kelley. I’m sure Everard was the president of some local organization—the Elks or the Loyal Order of Anteaters or, perhaps, he was a member of some group like one which we had here in my hometown in the 1880s—the ‘Possum and ‘Tater Club. Everyone probably knew him, and everyone probably liked him. I’ll bet the men thought he was “aces” and the ladies admired his taste and gentle spirit. Or…maybe he was a real jerk and everyone cringed every time they went to buy a Scrofula tonic. “You know, Midge, he’s bitter about his name. That’s why he’s like that.”

Either way, for some reason, this card has been preserved, and I’m glad it has because it’s awfully pretty. And, that’s the sort of thing I think about here in my house full of old paper.

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