This past weekend, Dawne Dewey, Head of Special Collections & Archives, led a Friends of the Libraries workshop on “History through Newspapers,” in which participants learned to research and relive local history through old newspapers in the Archives’ collection. (You can see some photos from the History through Newspapers workshop on the Wright State Smugmug site.)
Among the many interesting and useful pieces of information you can find in historic newspapers are the advertisements, particularly ones for local stores. For historians, this data can be very useful in a variety of ways, but for the casual reader it may simply be downright fun.
We skimmed a couple of days of the Dayton Daily News from 100 years ago today (and tomorrow)—February 10 & 11, 1914—and found these large advertisements for local Dayton stores. We’ve noted a few of the interesting items we found in each image, mostly prices. But have a closer look yourself (click on the image to enlarge it)—not just at the prices, but at the illustrations, the language, and other small details. What interesting tidbits can you find?
As you look, keep in mind the inflation rate. According to the Westegg Inflation Calculator: “What cost $1.00 in 1914 would cost $22.59 in 2012. Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2012 and 1914, they would cost you $1.00 and $0.04 respectively.” (The calculator only goes up through 2012 dollars.)
Cappel’s Furniture store, 215-221 S. Main St., Dayton
What we found at Cappel’s: mattresses ranging from $5-12; couches $14.40 (regularly $19); 48″ oak dining tables $16.20; refrigerators (50 lb. ice capacity) for $12.15.
Rike-Kumler Company, northwest corner of Main & Second, Dayton
What we found at Rike’s: 50 cent turkey dinner on Wednesdays from 11-2.
Elder & Johnston Company, 113-121 S. Main St., Dayton
What we found at Elder & Johnston: diamond rings $1.50; “The Free” Sewing Machine- $2.00 down and then $1.00 a week.
Oelman’s Daylight Store, northwest corner 4th & Main, Dayton
What we found at Oelman’s: “good unbleached muslin” 5 cents per yard.
Another note on Oelman’s: The Oelman’s store was founded by William F. Oelman, grandfather of one of our Wright State founders Robert S. Oelman. Robert, later chief executive at NCR, would have been 4 years old when this advertisement ran in the newspaper!
Traxler’s, 31-33 S. Main St., Dayton
What we found at Traxler’s: women’s shoes $1.23; wallpaper 6 cents; coffee 30 cents/pound.
What did you find?
These and other issues of the Dayton Daily News are available for browsing on microfilm anytime the Dunbar Library is open. They are located on the second floor Media Room. You might also be interested in our Dayton Daily News Archive of original newspaper clippings and photographs.