Mid Century Women and Their Aluminum Christmas Trees 

Ah, the aluminum Christmas tree. So pretty in all of it’s mid century modern minimalist splendor. When we think of them from back in the 1960s we picture them perhaps in a gorgeous California Eichler next to a Herman Miller lounge chair. The presents all neatly wrapped while the color wheel slowly changes the hue of this lovely scene.  

But then the reality of kitsch enters the scene as these vintage photos expose. Ladies posing next to these trees seemed to be the thing to do. Sometimes raunchy, sometimes elegant, sometimes sweet, always funny.  

What is she doing with that vacuum that she’s wearing?


Enjoy the photos. Merry Christmas!

Carol Fenn 12-2018

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Sarah Hale, Abraham Lincoln, and Thanksgiving

While America was in the midst of the Civil War, Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “It now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation.”

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. 

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard

George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving. This document was written by Secretary of State William Seward. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

************

So thank you Sarah Josepha Hale. Without your persistence we may not all be enjoying a thankful gathering this coming Thursday!


Carol Fenn, 11-2018

Shop at Midtown and Help Save The Dogs and Cats of Tucson

Did you know that by buying antiques and vintage items at Midtown Mercantile (4443 E Speedway, Tucson AZ) you can help support two local animal rescue organizations?  

Hope Animal Shelter maintains their booth on our main floor.  Since 2006, HOPE Animal Shelter has provided a no-kill, cage-free haven for abandoned dogs and cats while they await adoption. It offers a clean, loving environment that allows socialization and a smoother transition into a permanent home. HOPE ensures that their animals are well cared for both emotionally and physically during this trying time in their lives.

Some of the offerings in Hope Animal Shelter’s booth on the main floor


Dogs and cats at Hope

In the southeast corner of our north warehouse you’ll find TUCSON CARES booth filled with charming items from Kismet, the volunteer run vintage wares outlet for Tucson CARES. Tucson Cares (Companion Animal Rescue, Education and Support) is a grass-roots, 100% volunteer-driven animal welfare 501(c)3 that goes beyond rescue and adoption into other elements of the no-kill model, of which they are passionate advocates. They are whole-heartedly dedicated to ‘saving the savable’ and ‘treating the treatable’ animals of Pima County.

Cuteness resides in the Tucson Cares (Kismet) booth


We appreciate your help

So come on in. Buy some treasures for your home. And help save and bring comfort to Tucson’s needy cats and dogs.

Carol Fenn 10-2018

2018 Tucson Modernism Market at Midtown

Tucson Modernism Week is upon us! We are kicking it off here at Midtown with the opening-night Gala on Friday, October 5 from 5 to 8 PM. This will be the start of the ten-day modernism market being hosted by Midtown Mercantile merchants. Midtown is a designated affiliate of the Tucson historical preservation foundation. The market will feature Mid Century Modern vendors from around the country offering a curated selection of fine vintage MCM furniture and decor. 
Here’s the look you might be going for … thank you Mad Men.

When you come to the market keep an eye out for the five or six items which will give your house that awesome mid century look. The first thing you’ll need is a sofa. 

Then in front of that sofa a fantastic stylish coffee table.

Don’t forget the lounge chairs. Aren’t those Z chairs awesome!

Then come the lamps. A table lamp and a floor lamp. This is where you can either go sleek like the rest of the mid century style or you can have a little fun. As you can see from the photos some of these mid century lamps definitely have that sense of fun.

Finish it all off with a fantastic MCM clock. Now that you have the basics you can start accessorizing with studio pottery, art glass, wall art, etc. I’ll touch on that next time.


See you at the market!

Carol Fenn 10-2018

Happy Birthday Tucson!

Today is Tucson’s birthday!! Happy Birthday to The Old Pueblo!

The history of Tucson, Arizona, begins thousands of years ago but officially dates back to August 20, 1775 when Hugo O’Conor establishes the Tucson Presidio. This year marks the official birthdate of the City of Tucson. Tucson becomes part of Mexico when it fights for independence in 1821. After the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, Tucson falls under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Arizona becomes an official territory in 1863. Between 1867 and 1877, Tucson holds the title of territorial capitol. In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Tucson. The population reaches 8,000.

Arizona became the 48th state in the Union in 1912. By 1950 Tucson’s population has reached 120,000 and by 1960 it nearly doubled to 220,000. 

Tucson becomes the 33rd largest U.S. city in 1990 as its population tops 400,000.

So happy birthday to our home. Raise a glass. Bake a cake. Gaze at the sunset. Whatever you do, enjoy this day, Tucson’s birthday!

Carol Fenn 8-2018

Monterey Furniture “In Old Arizona”

Monterey Furniture refers to several distinctive furniture lines made from 1930 to the mid-1940s in California. It derived its character from Spanish revival style, the California missions and their furnishings, ranch furnishings, and cowboy accessories.  

Original Spanish revival, Barker Bros postcard

Monterey furniture

Mason Manufacturing Company, founded by Frank Mason, is credited with the original style. Other lines were made by Imperial Company, Angeles Furniture Company (the line called Coronado), Del Rey, Brown and Saltman, and even Sears (La Fiesta.). Original Mason Monterey stands out from these other lines with it’s superior quality and heavy hand wrought iron strapping.  

Monterey “prohibition” bar. The tile top slides forward revealing a hidden compartment.

Monterey by Mason came in just a few distinct finishes and in the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. The Mexican cartoonist Juan Intenoche headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain his whimsical designs. Donkeys, bucking horses and bulls, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other images are his trademark.

The whimsical art of Juan Intenoche.


 Mason branded most of their furniture with a horseshoe and the name, “Monterey,” though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding. 

Making and painting Monterey furniture c 1932


Hollywood, via Barker Brothers Furniture co., was influential in the original creation of Mason’s furniture line. Barker Brothers approached Frank Mason with the idea of creating a line of furniture based on furniture seen in an old (1929) cowboy movie, “In Old Arizona.” Spanish revival homes were being built all over Los Angeles and Barker Brothers, smartly, wanted a line of furniture that would complement the style of those homes. Hence the birth of Monterey furniture.

In The Midtown Mercantile Mall – main floor

Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall. 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ. You just might find some Monterey or Monterey style furniture!  


Carol Fenn 8-2018

The Beauty of Industrial Lighting

 
With a beauty that comes when form follows function, industrial lighting from the 19th and early to mid 20th century has come into its own.

Antique and vintage task lamps


Some prime examples

Vintage heat lamps can be converted

From factory floors, medical and dental offices, mines, etc., this form of lighting can add a very unique look to your home or office decor.  



Some very interesting industrial-looking lighting can also be gleaned from the DIY (do it yourself) world. Clever people are making lamps out of chicken feeders, old strainers, bird cages, etc. It can be a great look and it’s always fun to reduce, reuse, recycle.

When you see photos of where they were originally used, some of the old medical lighting might be the stuff that nightmares are made of … LOL … but they’re just old lamps and they have SUCH a great look!


Surgical and dental lamps

Some of the most interesting industrial lighting pieces are “explosion proof” fixtures. Rugged 20th century models, developed for use in hazardous industries like coal mining or petrochemicals, they typically feature housings of caged wire. 

Our August, 2018 mashup “The Industrial Age Goes To School” will showcase a lot of industrial pieces. Come on in to The Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall, 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ, and find that special piece to light your way!

Carol Fenn 7-2018

A Very Visual (and vintage) 4th of July!

The 4th of July! Barbecues. Fireworks! Colorful flags flying everywhere. And in the midst of all of this revelry it might be fun to go back in time and look at some of the ways this American holiday has been celebrated in the past. We love the past here at The Mercantile. After all, we are an antique mall! We love all this old stuff!


Postcards, black and white photos of movie stars, (is that Marilyn Monroe?), cast iron banks, etc. all very collectible and fun to revisit. And check out those 4th of July costumes! Fun and festive!




Happy 4th from The Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall!  Enjoy these photos and enjoy your holiday. And don’t forget the apple pie!


Carol Fenn 7-2018

Let’s Go Bohemian ~ The Art of Boho Bliss

Mid century modern? Minimalist? Memphis style? Nope, right now we’re going Boho! Hippie chic! Bohemian! Yes, it’s boho bliss!

Gypsy wagon


Think Rudolph Valentino.  Gypsy wagons.  Flowing rich fabrics of purple and orange.  Middle eastern hanging lamps, animal prints, candles. Comfy cushy chairs and sofas filled with comfy cushy pillows. And throw some of those pillows over there in the corner!  


“I hope I make it to The Mercantile on time.” – Rudolph Valentino

Rules? There aren’t any. Bohemian is for those of us who disdain rules. Do whatever fills your heart with fun.  

Slightly minimalist bohemian

Come on in to The Mercantile. Our current mashup, BEACH BLANKET BOHEMIAN BOARDS THE ORIENT EXPRESS, is filled with wonderful boho items that will assist you on your journey to bohemian bliss!


Carol Fenn 6-2018

Happy Father’s Day 2018!

Father’s Day is coming up. You have a few more days to find a special gift for your special dad! Come on in to The Midtown Mercantile Mall where we can fulfill Dad’s dreams!  

It’s Father’s Day from morning ’til night!

I thought this would be a fun time to share some mid twentieth century Father’s Day advertising and a few great old Father’s Day cards. It’s so much fun to go back and revisit these images.

Dogs love dad too!

Some might be quite questionable though. After all this was a time when folks were being told, through advertising, that smoking cigarettes was actually good for you! Yes, it’s true!


Yep, this is a real ad!

Anyway, enjoy these ads. Enjoy the cards. And we’ll see you at the mall. Heck, bring Dad in with you! It’s nice and cool in here … he’ll like it!


Carol Fenn 6-2018