I’m so excited two weekends ago I went vintage shopping with my vintage shopping BFF in crime and stumbled upon this amazing find in the bottom of a glass case (yay for having eagle eyes). A very good condition 1942-43 Montgomery Ward Catalogue.
Some of you might be asking “what is Montgomery Ward“?
Montgomery Ward was created by “Aaron Montgomery Ward” in 1872 as the first every dry goods mail-order catalog business in Chicago Illinois. After several years of working as a traveling salesman among rural customers. He observed that rural customers often wanted “city” goods but their only access to them was through rural retailers who had little competition and offered no guarantee of quality. Ward also believed that by eliminating intermediaries, he could cut costs and make a wide variety of goods available to rural customers, who could purchase goods by mail and pick them up at the nearest train station (Wikipedia-Montgomery Ward).
Montgomery Ward Firsts and Highlights
- The Slogan “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”, Ward began using in 1875 (he created it).
- In 1883, the company’s catalog, which became popularly known as the “Wish Book”, had grown to 240 pages and 10,000 items.
- By 1904, the company had grown such that three million catalogs, weighing 4 pounds each, were mailed to customers.
- 1926 the first Retail store is opened.
- 1929 saw Montgomery Ward Double its stores to 531 across the United States.
- In 1939, as part of a Christmas promotional campaign, staff copywriter Robert L. May created the character and illustrated poem of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Six million copies of the storybook were distributed in 1946. The song was popularized nationally by the actor and singer Gene Autry.
- 1950’s saw the store fall into its eventual downfall as the company was slow to respond to the general movement of the American middle class to suburbia. It’s competitors (like Sears) built stores where the customers where, Montgomery Ward chose to stay in City Centers and Main streets where the customers no longer shopped like they used too.
- 1985 the catalog portion of the business closes.
- December 28th, 2000 Montgomery Ward makes the announcement that it will shut its doors for good.
Wow that is some history, terribly sad that the business ended up closing its doors in the end though 🙁
All that sad part aside, lets take a look at some of the pictures from the Catalogue shall we? (Note: You will be seeing more of this book in future posts as I plan to use it as reference for blog posts to come)
Look at those Victory Suits…beautiful!
Yes please I will take all the Velvet dresses and hats and jackets..how perfect would these be for the holiday season??
Look how handsome these boys are?? I wish my nephews dressed like this.
Look at the ruffles and the pinks and the flowers? WOW! my husband would kill me if I brought any of that into my home (and to be honest, I think it’s a bit too much for me too lol)
So there you have a sneak peek into my recent vintage purchase. Hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Montgomery Wards and browsing the pages of the catalog just like so many people did back in 1942-43.
Until next time!