Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Casual Racism of the Past

This advertising postcard likely was stacked on the counter of a Michigan hardware store in the past, just as ads and leaflets are stacked on the counter of your bank these days. It's quite unusual that this bit of historical ephemera was preserved.

The racist depiction of the black women speaks for itself, but it's interesting to note the details. You can see two wash basins in each kitchen, for washing and rinsing dishes. There are also what appear to be wood stoves in each kitchen.

Hard to date this item but I'd guess from the fonts used that it's around 1890 or so--but would be happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

The company name of "Acme White Lead and Color Works" suggests that there was lead in at least some of their paints--paints covering the wall of even the kids' room. People of a century ago lived amid an invisible throng of hazards and poisons--it boggles the mind at times.

1 comment :

jml said...

This auction site dates the card to the 1880's.