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From the Dry Goods Economist, 1909

drawing of a field with woman under a tree wearing a wide brimmed hat aAnd long skirted hunting outfit carrying a rifle lifting her skirt enough to see her boots

Cover for the Shoe Section. Dry Goods Economist. November 13, 1909 (p. 1).

I have recently been obsessing over the Dry Goods Economist, a trade publication for Dry Goods dealers, and wanted to write a post to spread the word about this publication. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make up my mind what one thing to write about so I decided to do several short posts looking at a few magazine issues from late 1909 that would allow me to tell you a bit more than I would want to jam in a single long post.

The title of this publication shows that it was a magazine primarily aimed at those running dry goods stores. Given that these businesses sold many different things, there were articles and advertisements for “everything.” This would have been an important publication for those in the business.

A lot of the content revolved around women’s fashion and beauty products, but there were also articles and ads for fabric, patterns, notions, some men’s clothing items, shoes, household goods, and store equipment. They even developed an editorial calendar for particular lines that allowed them to really focus: the first Saturday of each month was for fabric and fancy goods and notions, the second Saturday was all about shoes, the third Saturday was reserved for women’s garments and toilet goods, while the last Saturday was for home goods like rugs, upholsteries, and lace curtains.

Each issue had an index to advertisers and a “Department and News Index” to assist readers find particular articles. Beyond the articles about what was selling and fashionable, there were also articles focused on the best and newest practices for running the modern store. For example, the November 6, 1909 edition had an article with floor plans titled “Store Arrangement” while the October 30 edition featured photographs of the interiors of Marott & Co in Indianapolis and the Emporium in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This illustration from “Store Equipment and window dressing section” of the October 30, 1909 issue caught my eye because of the research I did creating History of the Office and Office Equipment: A Resource Guide and features equipment a dry goods office might want. The accompanying article “Store Equipment” illustrated how stores like Marott could use this equipment to make operations more efficient and modern. There were a few great photos of store interiors, well as advertisements for products like portable elevators, display cases, cable cash carriers, etc. One article was all about steel filing cabinets.

three drawing one small with a man at a book-keeper window and one small of a woman at Pneumatic tube the full image featuring office equipment like typewriters, telephone, adding machine, pencil sharpener, stapler time clocks, date stamp, mimeograph machine, etc

“Efficiency promoting and time and labor saving devices used by progressive department stores.” Dry Goods Economist. October 30, 1909 (p. 8-9).

This was just a peek into this publication; upcoming posts will provide a bit more detail and I hope you enjoy them.

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