Friday, April 24, 2020

Victorian advertising trade card featuring a bird

This undated Victorian advertising trade card is for The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. and features a bird that might be some kind of warbler, or perhaps it's supposed to be a tyrant flycatcher, since the bird is, indeed, about to gobble down an unsuspecting fly.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., I was surprised to learn, is actually A&P, which was founded in 1859 and was the largest grocery retailer in the United States from 1915 through 1975, as iconic as McDonald's or Walmart in its day. Its day officially ended with bankruptcy and liquidation in 2015.

The back of this trade card lists all of the company's "branch houses" at the time it was published, likely in the late 19th century. Locations included Akron, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Harrisburgh, Kansas City, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, St. Louis, Syracuse, and Washington, D.C. There were 24 stores just in Manhattan, plus four others in Brooklyn. The "Principal Wareouse" was on a stretch of Vesey Street in New York City.

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