Old Diaries

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wanamaker 1

I came across a 1937 Wanamaker Diary while packing up some old books.  Wanamaker was the name of a legendary department store that started in Philadelphia in 1876. It had two New York City locations, and expanded to 15 stores in various cities before it was acquired by Woodward & Lothrop in 1986.

I assume the yearly diaries were given to Wanamaker’s best customers.  Plenty of room to pencil in shopping dates!

The layout of the two-day-per-page diary reminds me of the open space format of today’s Scholar, Hebdo and Plan & Note.

The diary has short instructional notes on the bottom of each page to give the user various style, gift, cookery, first aid, weight reduction, and household practical advice, plus random facts:

pg. 68 – “A company in New York maintains a Moth-room, where they breed moths, eggs and larvae.  Through this method they have been able to make tests as to the moth-proofness of their fabric.”

pg. 181 – “HOUSEHOLD SUGGESTIONS – Differently colored wooden napkin rings solve the napkin problem in the average home.  Napkins can be put away for the next meal.  Guests who remain for two consecutive meals may also be allotted a ring.”

pg 110 – “ANALYZING HANDWRITING – This is apparent in handwriting in the way the pen is lifted from the paper between letters leaving spaces.  A flowing smooth script reveals a mellow kindly nature – a harmonious, peaceful calm, serene disposition with well controlled nerves.”

The diary is a portal to city life in New York on the eve of WWII–a pleasant scene just before the storm.  wanamaker 3



One thought on “Old Diaries

  1. What did you do with the pen? It appears to be an old ParkerDuofold, and as such has some value. It appears to be shorter than more recent versions, which leads me to think it is older.


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