I found this ad for Camel cigarettes yesterday in a Christmas issue of Women's Home Companion from 1936. In case you can't read it, the copy says "Of course you'll give cigarettes for Christmas. They're such an acceptable gift- such an easy solution of your problem." (sic.That I think it should read "TO your problem" is pretty much the least of everyone's problems given the rest of their content.)
Actually, most of the ads in this magazine are fascinatingly from another universe entirely.
For example, on the next page is a full page ad featuring several large drawings of High Society Women gathered at someone's elegant home. We know they are from High Society because not only does Women's Home Companion dote on this distinction in nearly every article but in each of the three illustrations on this page one of the women has on a see thru mesh veil that connects to her hat. The rest of the group are also wearing jaunty stylish hats. Slung across the page in 72 point script is the sentence "They asked her for the recipe". Then just below the copy reads "What a compliment it is to be asked , after a particularly successful luncheon, for 'your recipe for that delicious soup!' And what a credit to your ability as a manager and hostess when you tell them that the soup so greatly enjoyed for its fine home flavor was Campbell's". Talk about a thought that doesn't trickle down through the ages. I don't have people over for dinner all that often but I kind of love imagining a scenario wherein I serve a shallow nicely appointed bowl of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup to a group of carefully chosen obviously fussy diners. (Well, at least the blame for the shortcomings of that particular course wouldn't fall on my shoulders. And maybe I could follow up with a nicely presented platter of Filet O Fish.)
But back to the magazine: Three pages later is a large black and white photo of an elegant couple in their formal wear . He is in a tuxedo. She is in a gown. The table is laden with silver accoutrements and floral decorations. The caption is "Toastmaster with New Hospitality Tray." And by Toastmaster they are referring to "the smartest gift of the season": a shiny new toaster. I don't know what the purchase of that fancy toaster set that couple back but I am thinking that if this ad reflects any kind of reality, the devastating fall for many, during that depression,involved a very different definition of "steep."
Causes Merrill Markoe Supports
1. The Jane Goodall Institute 2. Tailsofjoy.com 3. Best Friends Animal Rescue 4. The Humane Society 5. PETA
6. The Sam Simon Foundation