Sunday, June 23, 2013

Turkey Trouble: 18th Century Style

Turkeys may be a nuisance in Brookline today, but it wasn't always that way.  The theft of 33 turkeys in the summer of 1742 prompted the following advertisement and promise of a reward in the August 2, 1742 edition of the Boston Evening-Post.

1742 ad offering reward for apprehension of thief who stole 33 turkeys in Brookline

Dr. Zabdiel Bolyston, who placed the ad, is famed as the man who introduced smallpox inoculation to America in 1721. His house still stands at 617 Boylston Street.  (The street is named after him.)

"Old Tenor," by the way, refers to paper money issued by Massachusetts prior to 1737. By 1742 these bills had lost considerable value.
The former home of Dr. Zabdiel Boylston on Boylston Street
The former home of Dr. Zabdiel Boylston on Boylston Street

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yoo Hoo! Red Cab!

Spend a lot of time looking at old Brookline newspapers, like I do, and your eye will inevitably wander from the articles you're reading to the advertisements for local businesses. These ads, available as far back as the 1870s, paint a picture of the evolving commercial life that has long been a central part of Brookline's identity.

I've been collecting dozens of these ads, taken from newspaper microfilm and from town directories, and plan to feature them from time to time. I'll focus on a theme: a particular time period; a retail location; a category of business; or whatever catches my fancy.

First up, Red Cab and a wonderful series of ads that appeared in the paper beginning in the late 1930/early 1940s.

Red Cab ads from the 1939-1941

The design motif in these Brookline Chronicle ads from 1939-1941 was carried through in a frame used for changing ad messages in subsequent years.

More 1940s Red Cab ads

Here's an earlier Red Cab ad, from 1937, with another below with a similar design.

Red Cab ad, 1937

Red Cab ad: "Be Safe"

Red Cab, of course, is still around—and has even retained the -5000 part of their phone number—as seen in this image from the newer advertising medium of the Web.
Red Cab website image