Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I've discovered a new hobby.

I've always liked antiques, but I've never been what one would call an enthusiast. Only every so often would I head to an antique store to check things out, but rarely would I buy something.

On the way home from my trip to Kansas City over the weekend, I decided to take a pit stop at the Jesse James Antique Mall in St. Joseph, Missouri. And look what I found! The particular curve of this lamp shade just screams 1940s to me, so I had to snatch it up.

I particularly like the blue top here. It just adds an extra layer of elegance. Already, this lamp is in my bedroom and is in perfect working order.Ah. But the next items made me plain giddy. The first - a 1943 copy of Life magazine. World War II was in full swing and there are pictures from the war as well as from the homefront in this particular issue. And can you believe it only cost 10 cents?

But what I love are all the ads that reflect the war itself. Here's a sampling of the text from a shaving cream ad:

"There's no hot water in a fox-hole - nor at base camp, either. That's why I bet on Lifebuoy Shaving Cream for quicker, easier shaves with cold water or even a used blade!"

Here's another:

"Chevrolet Trucks
Vehicles of Victory on the Fighting Fronts - Abroad
On the Workings Fronts - At Home
War Carriers for the Nation"

This next magazine is also from the World War II era - it's a January 1941 edition of Liberty magazine. What makes this one so intriguing is that it came out shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the editorials and articles focus on America's growing patriotism and dedication to the war.

The last one is Collier's and is from 1948 (don't you love the picture on the front?). All the war rhetoric is gone from the advertising and you can see America's new properity shining through on every page. Amazing.

Old magazines are such an invaluable tool to see into the past. The historian in me comes out to play when I get my hands on such treats as this!


  1. The magazines seem like great research tools for your writing, too. The bit about the war making its way into the advertisements is fascinating. We went to an antique mall a week ago, filled with booths from over a hundred vendors. Amazing memorabilia in those places, I could've lingered there for hours.

  2. MELISSA! That's one of my favorite antique stores! I have many things from JJ. Made a killing last time I went.

    St. Joe is an hour west of me, and I switch trips there up with trips to KC. How exciting!

    Hope you had a great weekend, and I'm looking forward to our meeting.

  3. Joanne - Oh yes, they are WONDERFUL research tools! You can learn so much about an era from them.

    Janna - I thought of you when I was there when I saw a bunch of old typewriters! ;-)

  4. I'm a sucker for old magazines! I have a stack of oldies from the 30s and 40s that I've bought off eBay. The advertisements are often the best parts! My fave old magazines are the romance pulps. The stories are like entire romance novels condensed into 8 pages. They're a scream.

  5. Oh, I just love those kind of finds! I think we history lovers and writers of historical fiction can't find anything else that makes us quite as giddy!

  6. Christine - There are some short stories in these magazines, too - and I can't believe how much they got paid! In addition to the normal fee, the best short short story in Liberty magazine could earn $1000. That's a LOT of money back then!

    Jody - I agree! Primary sources for history lovers is the best ever. :-)

  7. Ooh! What a pretty lamp! And what a great price on the Life magazine. I've tried to snag a couple, and they had a few more zeros in the amount.

    I love the ads in old magazines. I mostly collect movie mags, and they're just fascinating. I often read the ads first, then come back for the article I bought the magazine for.

    Neat finds!

  8. DK - Oh, I was hoping to find some movie mags, too! There were some copies of Yank magazine that I wanted to snag, but didn't have the funds for them all. ;)

  9. What fabulous finds, no wonder you're thrilled. I have one or two old mags, but nothing nearly as exciting as those.

  10. Time to hit the antique stores, Debs! ;-)

  11. These were especially made for you:)) I love looking at old magazines and seeing the way people looked at life back then. Love your lamp too! I used to always browse antique stores but go to the point where I didn't ant any more stuff!

  12. Those are all lovely, especially the lamp! Is that profile picture of stuff that you own? If so, way way cool. :D

  13. Terri - I'm on the hunt to make my home more "retro" in style - 1940s style!

    Lady Glamis - Actually, that is a picture I have on my business card, though I did see some cool old typewriters at the antique store, too!

  14. Adore the lamp! You can have a novel character reading actual articles or ads from those mags. Cool.

  15. How very cool. I'd love to look at those magazines. The lamp is a beauty too.

  16. Angie - I thought the same thing! Great minds think alike. ;-)

    Joy - I love, love, LOVE the lamp. There were so many there that I didn't know which one to pick, but the shape of the shade convinced me on this one. :-)

  17. Forget the lamp - those magazines are just fantastic. What a super find.

  18. What brilliant magazines. An amazing find. No wonder you're thrilled.

    I just love that lamp, too.

  19. Melissa - They have some? I may have to go! :)

  20. Diane - Oh, I know! They had some more magazines, but I had to refrain myself from buying them. They are SO MUCH FUN to look through!

    Shirley - I'm very pleased with all of my finds and am very worried that I may find more and deplete my checking account! ;-)

    Janna - Yes, they had some there - also some at that store right next door to it.


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