Thursday, August 6, 2015

Victorian trade card: Rosenbloom's in Watertown, N.Y.

This Victorian trade card, which is slightly larger than a baseball card, is an advertisement for Rosenbloom, Clothing and Furnishing Goods, 23 Public Square, Watertown, New York. The reverse side is blank.

An advertisement for Rosenbloom's from the May 16, 1884, issue of the Watertown Daily Times states, in part:
"The Solemn Truth is that we have the NEWEST, the BEST, the Most Complete and, by far, the CHEAPEST STOCK of Clothing and Gent's furnishing goods for men, youth, boys and children."
The store is long gone, of course. I'm not even sure if it made it to the turn of the 20th century. Online citations are scarce.

To me, the most curious part of this advertising card is that the bench features a bearded man with goat horns on one of its legs. It is probably supposed to be Pan (the outdoors-friendly Greek god of nature, shepherds, animals, fertility and theater criticism) or Faunus or maybe just a run-of-the-mill satyr.

But, on the other hand, horned creatures and deities have been considered less-than-wholesome and sometimes downright demonic by certain groups throughout history.1 All possibilities need to be considered. I wonder what the general public thought of this card in 19th century Watertown.

I prefer the idea, though, of this horned guy being there to remind us of the need for mountain wilds, fresh air and wooded glens.

(That crop would make for a cool poster, by the way.)

1. For example, this page on ties everything from Pan's Labyrinth to The Beach Boys to Paul McCartney to Zeus to witchcraft and Satanic chicanery.

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