Archives for posts with tag: Marketing

“It’s after six, what am I, a farmer?,” remarks Jack Donaghy to Liz Lemon when asked why he is wearing a tux in an episode of 30 Rock.[1] As a member of the wealthy, corporate elite, Donaghy knows the social importance of wearing the right clothes at the right time. As such, he would have fit right in in 1800s Cooperstown, New York. This powder blue hat box in the collection of the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown reflects the style and social class of the residents of this small town as well as the ingenuity of local entrepreneurs to succeed in a small market.

Hat Box Side

Side, H. Hollister Hat Box, c. 1837, pasteboard, paper, H: 9.5″ x L: 12″ x W: 10.75″ x D: 8.25″ Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Dr. Carolyn Olendorf, N0518.1942 (02), photograph by Mary Kate Kenney.

Hat Box Lid

Lid, H. Hollister Hat Box, c. 1837, pasteboard, paper, H: 9.5″ x L: 12″ x W: 10.75″ x D: 8.25″ Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Dr. Carolyn Olendorf, N0518.1942 (02), photograph by Mary Kate Kenney.

When H. Hollister set up his hat shop on Main Street in Cooperstown around 1839, he knew it was no ordinary small town. Incorporated in 1812, William Cooper and the other founders of the village sought to attract residents “already of a higher order than that of most villages its size,” with “more liberal tastes and a better style of living” than other settlements of its size.[2] The success of James Fenimore Cooper’s books set in the area solidified Cooperstown’s status as a resort community in the lush, forested mountains of upstate New York. Despite the small size of the village, Cooperstown was able to support multiple shops that sold fine clothing to a more upscale clientele.

Hollister’s shop could be found “At the Sign of the Golden Hat” according to the advertisement on a hat box that had once been owned by local resident, Alfred Olendorf.[3] Olendorf could have chosen to patronize at least one other store in Cooperstown (J.R. Worthington), but whether due to quality of products, loyalty to the business, competitive prices, or effective advertising, he chose to purchase a top hat from H. Hollister.[4]

The fact that this hat box survives at all indicates that Olendorf made use of it beyond its first trip home from the shop. Most likely, Olendorf would have stored the purchased beaver top hat in this box while not in use. H. Hollister knew this about his customers and used it as an opportunity to further promote his business. Not only would Olendorf be able to tell his friends where he purchased his beaver top hat, he would also be encouraged to return to H. Hollister’s shop to purchase one of the other types of hats listed on the label. Whether the customer required a fine hat of beaver or silk for evening activities, or a straw hat for boating on the lake, H. Hollister’s hats could complete any ensemble.

Despite the small population of the village of Cooperstown, NY, H. Hollister’s hattery stayed in business for at least 30 years. An 1870 census recorded Hollister “as the owner of $4,000 worth of real estate and $3,000 worth of personal estate,” translating to about $51,900 and $69,000 respectively in today’s dollars.[5] With an above average demand for fine hats in a small community and a shrewd sense of business and marketing, H. Hollister threw his hat into the entrepreneurial ring.

By Jen Vos


[1] 30 Rock. “Tracey Does Conan.” Season 1, Episode 7, Directed by Adam Bernstein, Written by Tina Fey. NBC, December, 2006.

[2] S.T. Livermore, A Condensed History of Cooperstown, with a Biographical Sketch of J. Fenimore Cooper. (Albany: J. Munsell, 1862) 68, 80.

[3] Hat Box, Fenimore Art Museum collection, Cooperstown, New York, N0518.1942 (02), “Documentation.”

[4] Mary Kate Kenney, “Hat’s Off! A Cooperstown Hatter and Local Entrepreneurship,” Cooperstown Graduate Program. Cooperstown, New York, 2018.

[5] 1870 U.S. Census, Otsego County, New York, population schedule, Cooperstown, p. 3, dwelling 22, family 25, Harvey Hollister; digital image,, accessed February 6, 2018,


Entrepreneurs are people who organize a business while taking on greater financial risks than normal. In the pharmaceutical business, everyone was taking a financial risk as they often had to take on other roles besides selling medicines to make ends meet. In Cooperstown N.Y., the pharmacy, Brazee and Boden which opened March 2, 1901, with  partners Edward Daniel (E. D.) Boden and Hubbard L. Brazee [1], had to be resourceful by selling paints, oils, dyes, and perfumes in tandem with their remedies [2].

A small container from Brazee and Boden, that was not used for medicine, made its way into the storage facility of the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown N.Y. This container was recycled from Palmer’s Perfumes, a prominent perfume company from New Hampshire [3]. The fact that the container was relabeled for Brazee and Boden shows that the pharmacy took advantage of the partnership they had with the larger company. Rather than letting items within the store go to waste, as the druggist bought their wares in bulk to save on expenses, they sold excess items and, evidently, reused containers from their stock.


Box (Bottom), 1945, Cardboard, (H: 7.75 in X D: 3.25 in X C: 10.21 in). The Farmer’s Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Withey’s Drug Store, The Farmer’s Museum Collection, F0114.1945, Photographed by Nathan Samoriski.


The bottom of the container reads, “PLEASE USE THIS PACKAGE FOR DISPLAY AFTER IT IS EMPTIED SOLON PALMER”, indicating that Palmer’s Perfumes wanted continued advertising of their product even after the item was sold by the smaller businesses. Brazee and Boden instead recycled the container for their own purpose, taking away this free advertising for the big perfume company.


Box, 1945, Cardboard, (H: 7.75 in X D: 3.25 in X C: 10.21 in). The Farmer’s Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Withey’s Drug Store, The Farmer’s Museum Collection, F0114.1945, Photographed by Nathan Samoriski.


Their new label reads, “BRAZEE AND BODEN PHARMACISTS. COOPERSTOWN, N. Y.” The label also includes spaces for “No.,” “Date,” and “Dispensed by:” however these spaces remain blank. Following “Dr.” “1.00” is written and hand-written on the label is “Zebra Re[d]” which could be a pigment or dye powder. The original contents of this container cannot be determined without damage to the Brazee and Borden label.  The Freeman’s Journal advertise that Brazee and Boden sold dyes as well as paints. Dyes were no longer limited to natural pigments. As of 1856, synthetic dyes made any color available and it is possible that the name “Zebra Red” is an invention of Brazee and Boden as advertising of this powder.

These entrepreneurs decided to save their money and reuse the abundance of perfume containers that their partners sent to them. Even though Palmer’s Perfumes wanted these containers to be used for their advertisement needs, Brazee and Boden claimed the containers as their own. As entrepreneurs, these men are taking a financial risk running a pharmacy in the early 1900s as they would not make enough money selling drugs alone. By utilizing what they already had in their possession, Brazee and Boden were able to save money on their powder containers and earn money by selling other items in their drug store.   

By: Aubrey Kirsch

March 26, 2018


[1] “Obituaries,” The Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown, New York), Friday, May 23, 1939.

[2] Brazee and Boden, “Announcement,” The Freeman’s Journal (Cooperstown, New York), March 7, 1901.

[3] James E. Davis, Annual Meeting of the Manufacturing Perfumer’s Association of the United States, (Detroit: Speaker Printing Company, 1903) 127.

The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York owns a small, wooden barrel marked by the name “Chandler Bros. Cooperstown, N.Y.” [1] Barrels were easily transportable containers for grains and liquids because they became sealed when they are made. They have fallen out of fashion for most things, other than alcohol, being replaced by crates, cardboard boxes, or plastic jugs. While it looks like any other barrel used to pack and transport dried foods or liquids, this barrel is actually a decoration or a piece of furniture. Its size, construction and history show a continuing trend of decorating with piece that remind the viewer of the rural past.

The barrel is only 18 inches tall and would not have been very useful for transporting any goods. Companies would have had to pay more to transport more goods, both in cost of the shipping container and the size of shipments. It simply was not affordable for a wholesale company or even a farmer to sell goods in such a small vessel. In thinking about the barrel as a way to ship goods, it is also important to look at how the barrel was made. Instead of being bound with wooden or metal hoops, it is joined by nails, which means there are cracks throughout the piece. Again, this points to the idea that this piece was not meant to ship goods.

If it was not functional as a barrel in the traditional sense, what could it have been used for? Another clue may come from the stamp on the bottom of the barrel. The Chandler Brothers were a publishing company in Cooperstown, NY during the early 1900s.[2] They may have had the barrel in their office for storage, but this is unlikely as publishers have no use for such an item normally. The name of the business and town, however, evoke the imagery of a rural community that produced such items. The name Cooperstown may not have been as well-known as it is now, in part due to the introduction of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but its uncertainty would only enhance the small-town aura of the object.

Instead of looking for the most modern designs, the owner of this object tried to invoke the rural past through this object. It probably was because of personal taste in the way people still enjoy antiques today, but because the owner is unknown this can never be confirmed. The mark may have been put on to falsely increase the value of the barrel for a tourist or in an antique store. The barrel itself is made to look older than it is, with the mark only enhancing this appearance. While viewers will never know its full story, we can guess this barrel was meant to complete a rustic design.



1:Barrel. Farmers’ Museum Collection. Cooperstown, New York. F0008.2009.

2:“A Bag of Sugar.” The Freeman’s Journal. November 10, 1892. Accessed March 1, 2018.


Barrel, circa 1850-1925, wood, metal, Height: 18 in, Dimension 11.5 in. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, NY, Museum Purchase, F0008.2009.

By Chandra Boudreau


Peddler’s Wagon, 1850-1880, wood, metal and paint, H: 73, x W: 68, x D: 126 in. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Museum Purchase from John Gray, F0132.1945.

  1. Going Green

How much gas does your car guzzle up to create how many Horsepower? Cut back and go green. All you really need to get by is one horse power. Literally, the power of one horse is enough. The Peddler’s Wagon from The Farmers’ Museum collection is geared for one trusty steed to carry you along your way. The best part? You’ll start helping the environment and saving on gas immediately!


  1. Ride in Style

Wagon’s used by peddlers in the 19th century often sported a sleek and traditional red, black, and yellow trim, and this Peddler’s Wagon is no exception.[1] It is also complete with custom painted markings, such as “ENAMELED WARES,” and “NO CREDIT,” so you can let everybody know what you’re all about as you clomp on by.


  1. Make Money!

Forget driving for Uber, become a peddler today! Peddling is the best way for an entrepreneurial individual to make a profit while traveling about. You’ll sell a variety of goods and commodities, depending on what’s in demand. As an added benefit you’ll also be able to spread news and gossip between remote townships.


  1. More Storage Space

Now that you’re a peddler in the 19th century, you might consider tin-ware as a popular and profitable commodity for you to sell from your Peddler’s Wagon. Since the 1780’s, tin smiths have been able to make enameled kettles, lanterns, plates and pots in large amounts.[2] This particular wagon is outfitted with ample room to store all of your tin merchandise (The entire wagon is 73 inches tall, 68 wide, with a depth of 126 inches). It will also do all the marketing work for you, since “ENAMELED WARES” is already painted on the side.


  1. Support Local Business

The peddler is an individual who trades in crafts and merchandise on a local and/or regional level. In order to be successful peddlers, the people engaged in this form of entrepreneurship must make use of bartering and their knowledge of local economies. Peddlers, as a result of their work, stimulate these same local economies by encouraging trade within and among them. By joining the ranks of the peddler, you can become a part of the movement to support local businesses!


By James Matson


[1] Simsburg Historical Society,  “Peddler’s Wagon, Ca. 1869,”

Kelly McKenna, “Adirondack Museum Offers New Audio Tour” July 9, 2012,

Jenn Lee, “Pioneer Village,” May 25, 2011,

Scott Garren, “The Turnbridge World’s Fair,” September 15, 2014,


[2] Slavin, Richard. A Study of Some Specialty Vehicles. Master’s Thesis, The Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, 1972, pg. 43.

Toys can often tell more about a culture and its values than they initially let on. We control what we market, and more specifically who we market to. In stores, it is not difficult to separate the toys meant for boys from those meant for girls. There distinct and subtle indicators that alert the customer to items that are gender specific. The Easy-Bake Oven is a popular toy that has appeared in different forms throughout the years.[1] Due to imagery associated with its advertising, as well as a gender specific color scheme, this item is obviously intended for girls rather than boys. Closer examination of the Easy-Bake Oven gives insight into modern gender equality issues that the Women’s Rights Movement have been combating for years. Although women gained the right to vote in New York in 1917, they continue to battle misguided beliefs and traditional gender stereotypes in their pursuit of true equality. The belief that an oven, and by extension domestic life, is best suited for women is a sign that we have not made as many strides in our search for equality as we might think.

Easy-Bake Oven 2009

(Fig.1) Easy-Bake Oven, 2009, plastic, 14″ x 7″ x 8″. (Cooperstown Graduate Program), Cooperstown, New York, T2013.078.1a.

This 2009 example of an Easy-Bake Oven (Fig.1) features many similar design choices to a previous model from 1963 (Fig.2). While the shape of the oven has changed, there are certain visual traits that have remained in both the object itself and its packaging. One of the most notable features are the colors used in both models of the Easy-Bake Oven. Viewers can immediately note that the colors are lighter in shade. Turquoise blues appear on the body of both ovens, and pink features on the box of the 2009 model. These colors, especially pink, would indicate that these items are intended for girls only. Pink is considered a feminine color, and would therefore classify the Easy-Bake Oven as a “girl toy”.[2]  In addition, the visual materials of the 2009 Easy-Bake Oven, such as the box (Fig.3), exclusively depict girls playing with the toy. If it was not clear before, this would undoubtedly confirm who was playing with an Easy-Bake Oven.

Easy-Bake Oven 1963

(Fig.2) Easy-Bake Oven, circa 1963, plastic, 21″ x 16″ x 8.25″. (Cooperstown Graduate Program), Cooperstown, New York, T2013.079.1.


Easy-Bake Oven Box 2009.jpg

(Fig.3) Easy-Bake Oven, 2009, cardboard, 16″ x 8″ x 9″. (Cooperstown Graduate Program), Cooperstown, New York, T2013.078.3.

While we like to think that we have made advances in our search for universal equality between 1963 and 2009, we continue to tell girls they belong at home by tailoring toys that perpetuate and condition them to this stereotype. The prominence of toys geared towards young girls that promote domestic life indicate that we still believe those should be the spheres they inhabit. We continue to force our children into outdated gender roles, and enforce these beliefs with the toys we market and purchase for them. They lack of change in our mentality towards the Easy-Bake Oven and what it represents illustrates the work still required regarding gender equality.

By: Michael Barone

[1] “Easy-Bake Oven,” The Strong National Museum of Play: National Toy Hall of Fame,

[2] Erica S. Weisgram, Megan Fulcher, Lisa M. Dinella, “Pink gives girls permission: Exploring the roles of explicit gender labels and gender-typed colors on preschool children’s toy preferences,” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 35(2014): 402.