Archives for posts with tag: Vintage

 

 

F0141.1987front

Curd Knife, 1875, David G. Young, steel and wood, H: 6.5″ X 2 “, The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, NY, Gift of The Young Family, F0141.1987. 

Cheese is delicious. With the enticing and robust flavor that only fatty foods can provide, vitamin-rich and protein-filled cheese has long been an American favorite. The cheese industry in the United States was worth approximately 14.92 billion dollars in 2015, and the state of Wisconsin alone produced approximately 3,239,035 thousand pounds of cheese in the last year. [1] To see how the cheese industry reached such staggering heights, we must take a look at the tools that made cheese making possible in the first place.

From the earliest Massachusetts Bay colonists in the 1600s, Americans have been making cheese and gradually improving the manufacture process over the nation’s history.[2] This early era of cheese making saw the small-batch manufacture of cheese in individual farm kitchens and dairies, with households each producing their own varieties. English, Dutch, and German settlers throughout Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania all brought their own heritage recipes and dairy sources to bear on early American cheese making.  This stratified and specialized cheese production resulted in diverse flavors, hues, textures, and qualities across the marketplace. [3]

As the nation began to spread westward in the early 1800s, so too did the production of cheese. New York gradually supplanted Massachusetts as the US’ chief diary producer as more settlers moved into the plentiful arable land in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York, and the Erie Canal attracted more people to the state. By 1808, Herkimer County, NY established the beginnings of its reputation for cheese production, as “all who adopted [dairying and cheesemaking] flourished at it at once…” [4] By 1849, Herkimer County alone was producing 10 percent of all cheese in the US annually. [5]

An area cheesemaker from Rome, NY named Jesse Williams forever changed the industry upon opening the first cheese factory in 1851. Over the next 16 years, New York state saw the establishment of 499 cheese factories.[6] These plants utilized newer technologies, including the dairy steamer, a multi-source milk blending technique, and a distinctive way to press cheese known as the “Herkimer method.” [7]

One indispensable tool to the process of producing cheese, the steel curd knife, played an equally crucial role in both the Willaims-style manufacture of cheese and the independent mode of cheese production.[8] This curd knife, an example of which is pictured above, was first designed by Herkimer County native David G. Young. This curd knife represents Young’s entrepreneurship and innovation at a pivotal time in the shifting dairy and cheese industry.

 

The knives D.G. Young pioneered “nearly displaced all the former contrivances of use,” owing to its efficient and clean method of cutting curd (the solid dairy product that is pressed and made into cheese) and separating it from liquid whey. [9] As manufacture and sale of farm cheeses slowed to almost a standstill and dairying began to shift yet further west, the innovation of this Herkimer curd knife endured in Wisconsin and Ohio: the new frontiers of American ‘dairyland.’[10]

Kate Rowell

3.26.18

Footnotes

[1] “Top U.S. States’ Cheese Production 2016 | Statistics,” Statista,  https://www.statista.com/statistics/195764/top-10-us-states-for-cheese-production-2008/.

[2] “History of Cheese,” The National Historic Cheesemaking Center, http://www.nationalhistoriccheesemakingcenter.org/history-of-cheese/.

[3] Loyal Durand Jr., “The Migration of Cheese Manufacture in The United States.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 42:4, 264.

[4] Frederick A. Rahmer, Jesse Williams, Cheesemaker, (New York: Steffen Publishing Company, 1971), 6.

[5] Ibid, 8.

[6] Loyal Durand Jr., “The Migration of Cheese Manufacture in The United States.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 42:4, 272.

[7] The Oxford Companion to Cheese, Edited by Catherine Donnelly, (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016).

[8] Xerxes Addison Willard, Willard’s Practical Dairy Husbandry: A Complete Treatise on Dairy Farms and Farming,–Dairy Stock and Stock Feeding,–Milk, Its Management and Manufacture Into Butter and Cheese,–History and Mode of Organization of Butter and Cheese Factories,–Dairy Utensils, Etc,” (New York: Excelsior Publishing House, 1877), 214.

[9] Annual Report of the Secretary of the Maine Board of Agriculture, Volume 7, 1861, Maine Board of Agriculture, (Augusta: Stevens and Sayward, Printers of the State, 1862), 103.

[10] Annual Report of the Wisconsin Dairymen’s Association, Volume 9, Wisconsin Dairymen’s Association (Madison, WI: David Atwood Co, State Printer, 1880),76.

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Historic medicines infamously used dangerous chemicals or ineffective ingredients, resulting in people accidentally poisoning themselves or never getting better. The popularity of questionable medicines, lack of pharmacists with proper training, and pharmacies selling grocery items led to pharmacies getting a bad reputation in the late nineteenth century [1]. Despite these negative ideas, pharmacists Jarvis and Bliss ran a pharmacy from 1870-1895 in Cooperstown, New York where they worked with local partners to provide helpful medicine to the community [2]. While the medicine itself may have been problematic, Jarvis and Bliss strived to make quality products.

We know about the Jarvis & Bliss pharmacy thanks to some artifacts, namely a three-and-a-half-inch tall clear glass medicine bottle with “Jarvis & Bliss / Druggists / Cooperstown, NY” embossed on its side.  The glass material and a lack of an accompanying prescription label suggests the bottle was constructed to last, and customers likely often reused the bottle for refills, a popular trend for pharmacists and customers [3]. In fact, this bottle appears used due to some whitish film inside and a chip near the bottle opening, but it is unknown what this bottle actually contained.

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Medicine Bottle, 1872-1895, glass, L: 3.5  x W: 1.25 in. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York, F0044.1970. Photography by Jen Vos.

While Jarvis and Bliss owned the pharmacy, they worked with others to provide quality products. A maker’s mark on the bottle, “S.B.W,” demonstrates the pharmacists cared about their bottles and their advertisement to the community as the bottle would need an expensive custom mold to include their label. The clear name “Jarvis & Bliss” on the bottle also guarantees that customers would not forget their local pharmacy every time they reached for their medicine. Even now, their name and the memory of the pharmacy remain because of the bottle’s construction and clear label.

Jarvis and Bliss not only cared about the reliability of their bottles, but also the medicine that went into the bottles. Much like they worked with S.B.W for a quality bottle, they worked with local doctors and physicians for more reliable medicine. As a result, they advertised having “Pure Drugs & Medicine,” although they still sold the popular nonprescription medicines [4]. By focusing on quality products and durable advertisements with the help of their partners, the pharmacists aimed to establish a good reputation with their community.

While the medicine in the bottles may be questionable, Jarvis and Bliss undoubtedly worked hard as entrepreneurs to serve their local town of Cooperstown by creating products with the help of partnerships from doctors and manufacturers. While pharmacies continue this work today, big name corporations replaced locally owned pharmacies and regulations better control medicine. Nevertheless, today’s medicine bottles feature brand names their customers develop opinions about. Today’s pharmacies continue aim to establish reliability and serve their customers, similar to Jarvis and Bliss’s work over a hundred years ago.

Thank you to Jen Vos for her research.

-Post by Brittany Boettcher

[1] John S. Haller Jr., American Medicine in Transition: 1840 – 1910 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 267.

[2] “Business Change,” The Freeman’s Journal (Cooperstown, NY), October 24, 1895, New York State Historic Newspapers, accessed February 28, 2018, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83031222/1895-10-24/ed-1/seq-3/.

[3] Jane Busch, “Second Time Around: A Look at Bottle Reuse,” Historical Archaeology, 21, no. 1 (1987): 69, accessed February 28, 2018, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25615613.

[4] Jarvis and Bliss, advertisement, The Freeman’s Journal (Cooperstown, NY), August 14, 1873, New York State Historic Newspapers, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83031222/1873-08-14/ed-1/seq-3/.

“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, Ancestry.com, accessed February 6, 2018, http://ancestry.comwww.in2013dollars.com

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.

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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

Sources:

[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.

Bassett Medical Bag

Doctor’s Bag, 1890-1910, leather, glass bottles, corks, metal, H: 5 x W: 8.75 x D: 2.125 in. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, N0008.2002.

Measuring 5 inches high, 8 ¾ inches wide, and 2 inches thick (only slightly bigger than a women’s wallet) this unassuming leather satchel saved lives. Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett owned this medical bag, currently housed in the Doctor’s Office at The Farmers’ Museum [1]. Working in central New York from the 1890s until her death in 1922, this medical bag gave Dr. Bassett the freedom of a career, the freedom of medical choice, and the freedom of movement.

Dr. Bassett’s medical bag illustrates her independence within the male-dominated medical field. In 1887, Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania [2]. Six years later, she partnered with her father to work at the family’s general practice in Cooperstown. When her father died in 1905, Dr. Bassett took the initiative and continued the practice alone – she saw a need in her rural surroundings and she filled it, despite the barriers she came across. Between 1890 and 1920, the national average percentage of Women Physicians only grew from 4.4% to 5.0% [3]. At a time when the few female doctors were limited to treating women patients, Dr. Bassett chose to work independently in a rural area where she could serve anyone.

Dr. Bassett’s medical bag could carry up to 36 different vials. With the majority of the bottles measuring around 2 inches tall, there was a limited amount of space. However, the numerous vials let Dr. Bassett to bring a variety of medicines to her patients, giving her the choices and resources needed to attend to a range of diseases.

The medical bag’s compact size also allowed Dr. Bassett to transport the necessary medicine to her patients in central New York. She could make house calls and bring the medical attention to her remote patients, despite the rural setting. Dr. Bassett’s medical bag characterizes her independence because she was free from the physical and institutional constraints of a hospital; it let her go where she was needed.

The legacy of Mary Imogene Bassett and her dedication endures today. Founded in 1922, The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital picked up where Dr. Bassett left off, and continues caring for patients across rural central New York to this day.

 

Post Written by Elizabeth Kapp

[1] Doctor’s Bag, Fenimore Art Museum Collections, S Museum, N0008.2002, Documentation.

[2] “History,” Bassett Healthcare Network, accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.bassett.org/information/about-us/history/

[3] Mary Roth Walsh, “Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply:” Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession, 1835–1975 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977) 185.

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.

 

Footnotes:

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. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

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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

When thinking about the fashion of the women’s suffrage movement, people’s minds often naturally conjure images of women trading their long skirts for bloomers and vehemently casting aside their restrictive corsets. By this logic, one might easily dismiss the owner of this 1896 wedding dress as ambivalent, or even opposed, to suffrage and the sweeping changes to fashion associated with it. After all, the dress shows no evidence of the women’s clothing reform that began in the 19th century. Conforming to mainstream high fashion of the time, it has a high, stiff collar and would have been worn with a corset. Furthermore, the bride who wore it, Sarah Peters Hickok, was a homemaker and socialite from Oneonta, NY.[1] Yet, despite these facts, this dress is not sufficient grounds upon which to determine Sarah’s political position because suffragist dress and thoughts on the subject varied widely during the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

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Bodice and skirt, ca. 1896, patterned silk, satin, lace, H: 18 (bodice), 45 (skirt) x W: 22 in. (bodice waist). Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Hannah Hampe, N0041.1955a-b. Photograph by the author.

It is true that women’s rights activists had already donned bloomers by the mid-19th century. However, they soon largely returned to more traditional dress after realizing that the radical and shocking bloomers were actually more of a distraction than an asset in their fight for equality.[2] While bloomers reemerged by the time this wedding dress was made in the late 19th century, they were primarily used as bicycling outfits.[3]

Appropriate dress was a strategic and hotly debated topic among suffragists, dividing even those at the forefront of the movement. Some activists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, equated the corsets and long skirts of contemporary female fashion with oppression, designed to keep women subservient. However, others followed the lead of Susan B. Anthony, who was stylish, aware of current fashion trends, and determined to maintain her femininity in dress.[4] Attempting to simultaneously challenge traditional ideas about both fashion and the right to vote was dangerous, with the former potentially jeopardizing the latter.

As in the U.S., suffragists in the U.K. also “married radical ideas with willfully conventional dress.”[5] Having observed the American bloomer debacle, British suffragist leader Lydia Becker took a conservative position on dress, advising women to “stick to your stays, ladies, and triumph over the other sex.”[6] Even Emmeline Pankhurst and the militant suffragists of the Women’s Political and Social Union, who were known for arson, window smashing, and picture slashing, exhibited elegance and refinement in their dress. Suffragists were advocating radical ideas and they had to choose their battles wisely: fashion or the ballot. Dressing in a conservative manner gave suffragists credibility and helped make the notion of women voting more palatable. It also prevented them from being seen as demanding too much change too quickly.[7]

So, was the owner of this wedding dress a suffragist? We may never know. However, what is certain is that the conservative and restrictive style of her dress does not preclude the possibility that she was. Indeed, suffragist Charlotte Hawkins Brown dressed very similar to Sarah Peters Hickok for her 1911 wedding. In short, one cannot judge a suffragist by her dress.

[1] “Delaware County News,” The Oneonta Star (Oneonta, NY), March 19, 1926, 7.

[2] Gayle V. Fischer, Pantaloons and Power: A Nineteenth-Century Dress Reform in the United States (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2001), 104-107

[3] Ibid., 171-172.

[4] Jenny Cobb, “The Fashion of Suffrage: Women “Vote” with Their Clothes,” Bullock Museum, https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/discover/artifacts/suffrage-dress-shoes.

[5] Cally Blackman, “How the Suffragettes Used Fashion to Further the Cause,” The Guardian, Oct. 8, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/oct/08/suffragette-style-movement-embraced-fashion-branding.

[6] Christine Bayles Kortsch, Dress Culture in Late Victorian Women’s Fiction: Literacy, Textiles, and Activism (New York: Routledge, 2016), 91-92.

[7] Ibid.

By Sarah Phillips