Saturday, September 22, 2018

Victorian trade card for Partridge & Richardson's Bee Hive

This Victorian advertising trade card, from the late 19th century, is 4½ inches wide. The back is blank. On the front, the business touted is:

Partridge & Richardson,
Bee hive,
Nos. 17 & 19 Nth 8th St.

Nth (or Nth) is an abbreviation for North, so that's "17 & 19 North 8th Street."

According to The Library Company of Philadelphia, Artemus Partridge and Thomas D. Richardson operated a "bee hive" dress trimmings store at 17, 19 & 21 North Eighth Street in Philadelphia.

Partridge & Richardson was founded by Partridge in 1852. Richardson joined the partnership in 1874. Partridge died in 1895. Business was conducted at Eighth Street until December 1899, when Richardson opened a general department store at Eighth and Chestnut, widening the footprint of the previous operation. In early September of 1904, Partridge & Richardson was closed permanently and its entire stock was purchased by Strawbridge & Clothier, which also retained many of the former P&R employees. All of this history is according to a September 1904 news item in the Carpet and Upholstery Journal.

The Library Company of Philadelphia states that other advertising trade cards for the "Bee Hive" included couples promenading; frogs and cherubs seated on or near mushrooms holding umbrellas in the rain; anthropomorphic rabbits jumping rope; one rabbit pulling another on a sleigh with a banner labeled "Rabbit Transit"; and an anthropomorphic moon smiling down at a boy sitting on the limb of a bare tree with two cats singing from sheet music labeled "Clair de lune."

The illustration on the front of this post's featured advertising card is labeled "UNE DOUCHE BRUTALE," which is French for a "a brutal shower." My problem with the image is that the physics of the bucket motion and the water don't work at all, unless there's some sort of magic happening here.

Semi-related note
There is a long history of restaurants under the name Partridge in Philadelphia, including some on Eighth Street, but I'm not sure if they're related in any way to this business. You can read about the restaurants, and their advertising, in a comprehensive September 2015 blog post on Restaurant-ing Through History.

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