Tuesday, January 28, 2014


A Shopping List From the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog

1. New school blouses for Walter and Alfred. $2.85 x 2

2. Internal cure for my Catarrh, which is worsening. 1 doz. bottles, $5.00

3. False beard. If I am to continue illicit relations with Mr. Fitzheathearington, a disguise will be necessary. $1.75

4. Imitation rosewood Zither. Spilled laudanum on the old one and now it can't hit the high notes in "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away". $3.70

5. Complete Works of George Eliot. Cannot keep pretending I've read Middlemarch at dinner parties. $3.25

6. Uterine Supporter. Best not to speak of this. $2.75


Previously: It Was Hard Out There in the '80s, Too

Kira Garcia enjoys puns, feminism, textiles, and history. She lives in beautiful Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with her girlfriend and two handsome cats.

15 Comments / Post A Comment


So.... what's up with the little cup-thingie at the bottom of the uterine supporter? Where.. is it... supposed to go...

Stupid Flanders

@myeviltwin I think we all know where it's supposed to go. I can't tell if it's an old timey diva cup or if there's some other female condition I'm unaware of that made women want to plug up their nether regions back in the day.

The Lady of Shalott

@myeviltwin It's a pessary. It's an old-fashioned way of supporting the interior vaginal area following uterine prolapse or other issues.



@myeviltwin Yeah, the product description includes the word passary, which I assume is a misspelling of pessary, which, uh, well, yeah.

I haven't any idea what they thought they needed this for, mind.


@The Lady of Shalott haha jinx!


@stonefruit Its kind of tempting to be like 'haha, people used to be so weird about ladybits, what would they need this for!' but uterine prolapse is a real, sucky and common thing that is still not always entirely correctable. :-( I had an elderly relative recently go through unsuccessful surgery for it. I'm not trying to be shamey, mind...I mostly think the fact that the largely educated women of this site still don't know this shit happens commonly is evidence of how "womens' troubles" still are considered impolite to talk about, to our detriment.


@myeviltwin especially is the Wikipedia article is right and 50% of women suffer some kind of pelvic prolapse in their lives! What??


@myeviltwin yeah, that's the first thing i thought of too when i saw that device. i have a friend who works for an ob/gyn, and now i'm all too familiar with prolapses of every variety, but before her i'd never heard about them. ridiculous considering how common they are. everyone, do your kegels daily.


@myeviltwin i KNOW :(! kegels all the time, for everyone. also work on core strength.

Stupid Flanders

By the way, I think the boys would look smashing in those shirts. And I had no idea your catarrh had gotten so bad. :/




That the Sears catalogue doesn't have any of these things in it any more explains a lot about why Sears is going under.


Other folks in the Bay Area, who has visited The World's Most Depressing Sears by the 19th Street BART station? I keep expecting to hear about like a zombie attack there, or perhaps just a murder. (Not a mass murder. There aren't enough shoppers or workers there for "mass.")


@stonefruit Haha so true. I don't live in the Bay Area any longer, I am very surprised to learn that place hasn't been shuttered yet.


@stonefruit I know that Sears well! I always do a double take when it's open

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