September 12, 2012

The Fountain Head Catalog

Every once in a while an ephemeral treasure crosses my path and this old jewelers catalog is right up there with the best of 'em. Riddled with character (and a bit of mold) the volume once served as a scrapbook for a lady named Alice at the end of the 19th century. Lucky for me, Ms. Kelsey Currie over at the Bargain Barrel stowed this fascinating volume away and show it to me when I stopped by one day. Of course, I could not resist once I saw its tattered contents!

The catalog was published in 1890 by The Fountain Head for Jewelers Supplies. It seems as though Alice was using this book as a housekeeping file system (kinda the way I use Evernote these days). The pages are filled with recipe clippings for everything from Banana Blanc Mange to Buckwheat cakes, pasted snippets with housekeeping tips and exclamations over the trials of a poor ironer. A couple of pages have clippings with first aid treatments and herbal remedies. There are several pages pasted with obituaries, wedding and graduation announcements, poems and even a few short stories.

The first time I perused the book I was absorbed by the haphazard elements of faded newsprint contrasting the crisp black and white etchings of clocks, fancy tea sets and other fine wares. I love the stains, the blotches and even the torn newsprint. This is the stuff that mesmerizes me! Now I'll stop rambling and let it mesmerize you (and don't forget you can click the images to view in their full size loveliness.)


  1. Green drool of envy here!... although I did pick up a very nice water stained and tattered 1871 fashion journal with similar graphics but without the scraps this summer in Maine. I get so fascinated with the snippets of history presenting itself in this form. They must have used old books like this frequently. I I have an old ledger book from around the same time that was then used as a child's scrapbook.

    1. Ooooh! That fashion journal sounds neat-o Kim. Did you blog it? I'm happy you enjoyed these scrapbook pages ;)