A 1930 Farm Family Christmas

| 12/10/2020 10:07:00 AM

Montgomery Ward prices for women’s coats ranged from $9.95 to $49.95

This fictitious story about Christmas in 1930 was inspired by a Montgomery-Ward catalog in my collection.

The typical farm family in October and November of 1930 would probably have been thinking of Christmas despite the hard times. Mother, Grandma, the kids for sure, and maybe even Dad and Grandpa, would have been looking through the Montgomery Ward's Fall and Winter 1930-31 Catalogue, with Ben Franklin on the cover. The adults would have chosen practical gifts, even though they had some secret desires, while the younger folks were more likely to give in to "the wants," and put too much on their wish lists.

On page three of the catalog, the "Brilliant and Charming New York Society Women Who Now Serve on Ward's Fashion Board" were introduced. These worthies included, Mrs. Morgan Belmont, "one of the best dressed women in New York society" and Mrs. John Harriman, "Noted for her beauty and chic." Also featured were Miss Anne Rittenhouse, "Internationally famous stylist," as well as Miss Ethel Boston, "Ward's stylist, famous for her chic and her knowledge of what the well-dressed woman in New York accepts in fashions."

Our farm wife could only wistfully dream of ordering a black, "All Wool Trico Broadcloth" coat with "thick soft pelts of black, Wolf-dyed Manchurian Dog fur in shawl collar and pointed cuffs.” For $19.95, “milady could follow the example of every chic French woman (who) counts on (the coat) as the 'piece de resistance' of many a charming costume."

Mrs. Farmwife then may have imagined herself looking glamorous in one of the many closefitting, cloche-type hats that were priced from 79 cents to $3.95. Under the heading, "Your Figure Is As Correct As Your Corset," eight pages of undergarments, many with cruel-looking straps, laces and stays, were pictured, as well as pure silk stockings costing from 85 cents to $1.79 per pair. "With a Bow to Paris," Ward's offered frocks ranging from pure silk versions costing $13.95 to a washable cotton housedress for only 98 cents.


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