My mother and I had a wonderful morning, starting with divine service at Redeemer. Our next stop was at the Calhoun Street Emporium, an antique mall close to downtown. Besides the fact that they have a fantastic selection of vintage hats, it's an Emporium, and with that title it has to be more interesting than a plain ol' store. The recessed front door squeals and creaks as you open it, and a sign warns customers not to let the cats out. Oh, yes. There are cats. Affectionate, soft and sleek, mouse-fed cats. When we got there a pair of them were fighting over a box of Christmas garland. They stopped as soon as they realized someone was paying attention, and the little calico spent the next 15 minutes trying to curl up on top of my feet. While I was walking.
I won't even talk about the hats I bought (except to say that they are fabulous). Or the 1940s wool cape I scored for $15 (to be accessorized with riding boots, a walking stick, and a pack of hounds). My surprise find today was a cheaply framed fashion plate from Peterson's Magazine. I hadn't ever heard of that magazine, but I guessed from the styles depicted that it was from the mid-late 1860s. With some quick research at home, I found that Peterson's Magazine was one of the top women's magazines of the 19th century, right up with Godey's Ladies Book. It had a readership of over 200,000 American women, which it not too shabby.
When I removed my plate from its frame, I discovered, first, that the matting had hidden the date (January, 1867) and, second, that it was an original and not a reprint. It isn't worth all that much as a collector's item--I won't be turning around and selling for a profit or anything-- but I am really excited by the fact that I had a 143 year old print hanging in my bedroom.
I guess this is the way I reconcile my fashion-conscious side with my nerdy historian side.