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Books And Periodicals
First editions and other rare printings are strictly for the collector of old books. Their scarcity and the consequently high prices put them out of the category of collectable antiques for the casual collector.
There were so many books printed, however, that most of them are inexpensive today. These books often have interesting subject matter which is told in quaint, obsolete styles. Some of the most fascinating of old books consist of the aged cook books with their funny old recipes. "Receipts" that are vague in directions and have impossible measurements. Etiquette of the bygone days was written about in all seriousness, and yet today, books on this subject are most often hilarious. It makes one wonder if our manners and the protocol we observe now will change as much, and if our descendants will find us as humorous as this "Common Breach of Table Etiquette" described so exactly:
It is ill-bred to take soup audibly. Indeed, yes, it is a breach of table etiquette that one should have been taught to avoid in nursery days. The lapse from proprieties is easily avoided if the upper lip touch the liquid and the breath be but slightly inhaled. Although soup should, of course, be taken from the side of the spoon, persons with mustaches have a "special dispensation" if they find that they must take its point into the mouth.
Interesting old maps and illustrations of all kinds are to be found in old books, many of which are suitable for framing. A word of caution here: do not cut up any book until you know for sure that it is not a valuable edition.
Old magazines and newspapers offer hours of interesting reading for the antique lover, as well as contain many items of general interest and amusement to anyone who leafs through them.
The daily lives and events of the past are always of interest, but the long forgotten advertisements prove of greatest fascination for two seemingly opposing reasons: the differences from today, and strangely enough, the similarities. Many of the same manufacturers who supply us with commodities at present have been in business for more than fifty years; their early ads seem as familiar as old friends in strange clothing.
How to reduce FAT. It is purely vegetable and enany can easily prepare it at home at little expense. No starving, No sickness. Send 4¢ for a Sample box and full particulars in a plain envelope.
Sound familiar? That advertisement appeared in an 1896 newspaper, along with "Thrilling Tales of Indian Massacres," cures for piles, a "sure cure" for excessive drinking, illustrated ads for corsets, pocket knives, crochet silk, self-threading needles, jewelry, pressed glass, kitchenware, razor blades, linen towels, Bibles, china, an original ad for Lydia E. Pinkham, and of course, the inevitable needlework patterns.
Advertisements can be found for removing superfluous hair, dyeing old dresses, keeping the desired amount of curl to your hair, making money at home, and enlarging your bust. These could have come from the same magazines you read under the dryer at the beauty shop, so similar are they.
The most enjoyable of all periodicals are the women's magazines. Despite the changing world affairs and the passage of three wars, a depression, inflation, recession, unemployment, and sputnicks, women still remain basically unchanged. It is comforting to know that long ago, as today, women had the same problems of hair curling, hose supporters, face powder, dieting, and devices to keep their "waists" and skirts together.
Periodicals accurately reflect the daily living and give a clear picture of life at the time of publishing. Therein lies their charm. Fashions and quoted prices along with such articles as "$1,500 a Year for Young Couple and Maid" which appeared early in the century in the Ladies' Home journal (and by the way, included not only the full-time maid but also a cleaning woman once a week) should prove amusing to Husband. As a housewife, you will appreciate the obsolete patterns, recipes, home made beauty preparations and grooming hints.
An old magazine or two left lying on the coffee table will prove entertaining to all who have access to your living room.