The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping
Since 1872 when traveling salesman Aaron Montgomery Ward realized he could eliminate the middleman and sell goods directly to his customers, Americans have had an ongoing love affair with the mail-order catalog, which continues undiminished even in today's online-driven world. The practical can find deals on furniture and clothing in L.L.Bean and Sears, the extravagant can consider his and hers matching helicopters, windmills, hot-air balloons, and submarines in the Neiman Marcus Fantasy Catalog; those looking to get their pulses racing can browse Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch; while our inner swashbuckler can travel the world through the pages of the J. Peterman Owner's Manual where Moroccan caftans, Russian Navy t-shirts, and wooden water buckets from rural China entice the imagination.
In Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping, Robin Cherry traces the timeline of these snapshots from American history and discovers along the way how we dressed, decorated our houses, worked, played, and got around. Insightful historical commentary places these catalogs in their social context, making this book a visual pleasure and a historically important piece of Americana.