Imagine it's the end of the nineteenth century, and, with one catalog, you can buy everything from beds and tools to clothing and opium. (Yes, opium.) Not to mention ear trumpets, horse buggies, and Bibles. The 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue
is both a wonderfully fascinating collector's item and a valuable piece of American history. For every recognizable item included, there are plenty of others guaranteed to confuse or interest 21st century readers—like Bust Cream or Food
and Sweet Spirits of Nitre
. What was once standard household fare is today a sometimes strange, often funny look at what life was once like for the average American family. It's amazing to see that a Princely Shirt for Princely Men cost $0.95 or three for $2.75 or that a Complete Violin Outfit (with bow and case) cost only $2.00.