I was on the hunt for some information on Panama Canal bonds and saw the item featured in today’s Pic of the Week. The glorious cover caught my attention and I just had to know more. I brought it back to my desk and had Jan Herd, who speaks Spanish, look at it so we could figure out what this publication was all about.
Guia para el departamento de compras y comisiones de Wells, Fargo y ca. en donde y cómo comprar artículos de manufactura Americana or Guide for Purchasing and Commissions of Wells Fargo & Company: Where and How to Buy American Manufactured Articles was published in 1886 and is entirely in Spanish (including the advertisements). It was created by Wells Fargo and seems to have been intended for Mexican merchants looking to purchase goods in the United States and ship them back to Mexico.
Much of the information was general, such as shipping information for packages and rates for sending letters to Mexico, but the volume also included tariff information. There were ship departure times to England and the Continent, a table giving the distances from San Francisco to other locations, and information on the transfer of money by telegraph. There were listings for general offices, shipping offices, state offices, and regional officers of Wells Fargo in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as other international offices with their locations and agent names.
There were advertisements for everything. Many of the advertisers claimed to have been exhibitors at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition or the 1884 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans. Here are examples of just some of the products advertised: pumps, underwear, bells, scissors, desks, music boxes, religious decorations for churches, caskets, clocks and watches, various tools, cotton gins, shoe manufacturing machinery, printing equipment, butter and cheese, canned food (with price list insert), leather and fabric, furniture and carpets, pianos and organs, fireworks, pharmaceutical products, pool tables, hats and shoes, collars and cuffs, wood working tools, dental supplies, ink, uniform buttons, housewares, jewelry, lighting, trolley cars and carriages, stoves and retail refrigerators, safes and locks, paint, saddles and harnesses, farm equipment, photography equipment, hinges, etc.
If I could read Spanish, I would have enjoyed reading the long, illustrated article on the city of New York that was a reprint of part of the Spanish translation of Appleton & Co’s New York Illustrated.