(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘National Museum of American History

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch”*…


The online site for the National Museum of American History is chock full of cool historical stuff, from advertising to art to communications to just about anything having to do with the history of our great nation. When I stumbled on to a selection of lunch boxes, I was impressed with their wide-ranging collection, from the plain everyday workingman’s box (think construction worker, 1940s) to the fun and highly decorated tin boxes of mid-century America (think Gene Autry)…

Sample the collection at “A Visual History of Lunchboxes“; then dive in.

* Orson Welles


As we hope for Fritos, we might recall that it was on this date in 1916 that Clarence Saunders, a Tennessee grocer, opened the first modern supermarket, pioneering the retail sales model of self service– he had received U.S. Patent #1,242,872 for a “Self Serving Store”– and thus had a massive influence on the development of modern retailing.  His Memphis store grew into the Piggly Wiggly chain, which is still in operation.

The first Piggly Wiggly store



Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 1, 2017 at 1:01 am

Crèche or credit card?…

Readers may recall that L. Frank Baum was famous before he wrote The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz— he was a celebrity in the then-emerging world of consumer marketing, one of the first great window dressers.

Baum’s art flourished as retailing grew, finding its apotheosis on the Christmas displays that graced department stores around America.  Now, thanks to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, readers can take a stroll past the Holiday windows and Christmas store displays of yore…

Giant Christmas candle carousels, Marshall Field & Company, main aisle, Chicago, about 1956

Take the (online version of the) trip at “Holidays on Display” (and see William Bird’s book of the same title).

As we channel Ralphie’s Red Ryder lust, we might  raise a cup of testimony tea to Emily Dickinson, who was better known during her life as a gardener and botanist than as a poet; only 7 of her 1775 poems were published in her lifetime– which began on this date in 1830.

The Maid of Amherst