While hunting for information related to liquor wholesalers in Boston from the late 19th and early 20th century, I was hoping that a trip to the stacks would be helpful. While I didn’t find exactly what I needed, I did find some items that were quite interesting and decided to share one for today’s post.
Mida’s Criterion is a semi-monthly journal “devoted to the Wholesale Liquor and Wine Interests” and was published by William Mida who also published Mida’s Compendium of Information for the Liquor Interests. It was a one-stop publication with advertisements from the distillers, individual wholesalers, and retailers, as well as listings of vacant positions and articles (Opposition to prohibition laws was a popular topic.). Another interesting section of this publication was “Mida’s Trade-Mark Bureau,” which featured newly applied-for trademarks and appeared at the end of each publication.
I randomly chose a volume and discovered a real gem – a rather lengthy Convention Section in the June 1, 1912, issue. The section contained a list of all of the new officers and executives including their pictures, as well as other association business, such as the Resolutions that were adopted, several of which revolved around prohibition laws. But beyond the stories about the business aspects of the convention, there were a few more entertaining items. There was a rundown of some of the convention souvenirs, noting that the Economic Machine Co. handed out oval pocket mirrors and an Appolinaries Co. representative “pleased old friends and made new ones” by handing out a nickel match safe and a bottle stopper.
I was fascinated with the written description of the banquet at the Continental Hotel Roof Garden on page XIV:
“…the walls were covered with the bark of various trees though which the ivy crept sensuously, and from the roof hung potted ferns and other plants of rare beauty and perfume. Strings of many colored incandescents lighted up the place and the general effect was delightfully artistic.”
Over 500 people attended and the menu included boiled spring chicken, asparagus, new potatoes, and peas. Attendees were treated to the music of the Continental Roof Orchestra conducted by Sidney Lowenstein, as well as a “rollicking performance” by Alcan Moss & Co., which performed its one act play “Kentucky Hospitality.” There is even a fold-out picture taken at this dinner!
The Library has a good run of this title if anyone is interested (1901-1916 and 1932-1941). But is it surprising that there is a break from 1917-1932 which roughly corresponds to Prohibition? After all there wasn’t much of a business, at least a legal one, revolving around the liquor trade.